When you think of garden care, Epsom salt probably doesn’t come to mind. Epsom salt is usually used around the house or added to a nice warm bath to relax the muscles. However, its uses do extend outside of the house and right into your garden.
Uses for Epsom
Below you will find a list of nine different ways that Epsom salt can be used in your garden.
1. Improves Seed Germination
Because Epsom salt is high in magnesium, it can strengthen the cell walls of your seeds and help aid seed germination. For best results, mix in 1 cup of Epsom salt into the soil for every 100 square feet tilled, or mix 1-2 tablespoons into the soil at the bottom of the hole before placing and covering the seeds.
2. Increase Nutrient Absorption
Many store-bought fertilizers contain magnesium to aid the plant roots in their absorption of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur. As mentioned, Epsom salt already has magnesium naturally, therefore it helps your plant roots absorb those vital nutrients.
3. Counter Transplant Shock
While many say plants can or should be transferred, the reality is that this is not always easy on the plant and is not always successful. If you add some Epsom salt to your plants’ new environment, this should help the roots absorb the nutrients of the new soil and better adapt to the new environment. Since these roots are fragile from the move, once you place the salt in the new home, be sure to add some fresh soil over the salt before planting.
4. Green up Foliage
When plants don’t get enough magnesium, their leaves begin to yellow and wither. You can counteract this by sprinkling some Epsom salt around your plant(s). The rule of thumb is about one tablespoon for every foot of growth. This can be used once a month to ensure the magnesium levels in your plants are healthy, therefore producing chlorophyll and that green color associated with healthy plants.
5. Prevent Leaf Curling
Another sign of magnesium deficiency is leaf-curling. Follow the same instructions above for greening up your foliage. Or, you can mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt into a gallon of water and water the leaves directly.
6. Deter Garden Pests
Epsom salt does not work like table salt to dry up slugs, but because the crystals are so sharp, many critters will stay away from what they perceive as a hazard. In order for this to be effective, sprinkle the Epsom salt in your problem areas in between rain and watering (if the crystals get wet they will soften and be ineffective). Read more on how to naturally control garden pests, in this article.
7. Grow Sweeter Fruit
Sprinkle Epsom salt around any fruit trees to increase chlorophyll production in these plants. Not only does the chlorophyll make the plants regain their lush greenness as mentioned, but chlorophyll production also releases energy and creates more sugar. Thus, this can result in healthier, sweeter fruit.
8. Tastier Tomatoes
Because many tomato fertilizers contain calcium, tomato plants needs extra magnesium (calcium absorbs much of the magnesium that your plants need). Counteract this by delivering magnesium to your tomato plants every two weeks. Combine two teaspoons of Epsom salt with a gallon of water and spray directly on tomato vines.
9. Beautiful Roses
Again, due to the magnesium and its assistance in chlorophyll production, Epsom salt is a great tool to have for healthy, robust roses. Roses should be fed with Epsom salt at time of planting and again at the first sign of growth, and then once more when the flowers are in full bloom. Use the same method used when preventing leaf curling; combine 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt with 1 gallon of water and spray onto the bush.
It is virtually impossible to overuse Epsom salt in your garden. Unlike table salt, it does not have the potentially damaging effects on your plant friends. Epsom salt is cheap, easy to use, safe, and fast-acting. For those with green and black thumbs alike, Epsom salt should be an essential in your gardening toolkit.