Epsom salt is a magnesium sulfate mineral known by its scientific name, mgso4. This mineral treats various diseases and illnesses and can help plants with magnesium deficiencies. In general, Epsom salts work very well for tomato plants, but there are things to know.
So, what plants can you use Epsom salt on, and how much salt should you use? When should you use Epsom Salt, and what are the effects of using too much on a plant? Finally, what nutrients help plants, and where does Epsom salt fit in this equation?
Here is the complete guide to using Epsom salt on plants and if it is a good idea.
Which Plants like Epsom Salt / Is Epsom Salt Good for Tomato Plants?
Some plants that enjoy Epsom salt include tomato plants, pepper plants, and rose bushes. Each of these plants will gain a boost in magnesium and sulfate, specifically from the Epsom salt, which is key to their growth. Epsom salt’s effects also help prevent yellowing leaves, which occur when there is a magnesium deficiency. Other issues create yellowing leaves, like nitrogen and potassium deficiency, but we will stick with magnesium deficiency for this article.
How Much Epsom Salt should Plants Get?
Epsom salt can help plants in various ways when used in moderation, but too much can cause damage. To help balance the amount of Epsom salt you use, you can use it as a foliar spray. When using it as a foliar spray, you use two tablespoons of Epsom salt with a gallon of water. You can then mist your plants’ soil without giving them too much Epsom salt.
Another way to use the correct amount of Epsom salt for plants and vegetables is to sprinkle some at the bottom of a pot or garden pit. For instance, if you are planting tomatoes in your backyard garden, you can sprinkle some Epsom salt in the bottom of the hole that you dug for the plant. By putting the salt at the bottom of the plant, you reduce the risk of burns to the plant’s leaves if they were left on them.
When Should you Give Plants Epsom Salt?
If a tomato plant (or another type of vegetable) has yellowing leaves, brown splotches, or brittle leaves falling off, then Epsom salt can come to the rescue. These signs signal a magnesium deficiency, so the boost in nutrients from Epsom salt can bring the plant back to its original healthy state.
Another good time to give plants Epsom salt is during their growing season. Using Epsom salt is the same thought process as using fertilizer for plants to boost their nutrient consumption. Plants during the growing season will be able to handle the influx of nutrients better than during the offseason, so try and hold off on using this during the winter months.
Finally, you can use Epsom salt to help with the seed germination process. Mix a tablespoon of Epsom salts into the water and pour it onto the seeded soil.
What Happens When You Use Too Much Epsom Salt?
Although Epsom salt is beneficial, like water or sunlight, you want to use it sparingly, or it could cause issues for your plant. Wilting is a common problem when using too much salt on plants. This can happen because salt can drain any excess water the plant has, which will then cause it to lose leaves.
Another issue that comes from using too much Epsom salt is an imbalance of nutrients in the soil. Using too much Epsom salt can cause the magnesium levels to become too high and can cause the plant to become unhealthy. You should use a soil testing kit before and after using Epsom salt to ensure you only add a little salt to the mix.
Finally, Epsom salts can burn your plants if you are not careful. Even a tiny sprinkle of Epsom salts left on the leaves can burn them, especially if the plant sits in front of a sunny window. If you plan to sprinkle Epsom salt on a plant, consider using a spoon, placing it directly on the soil, and giving that soil water to help the nutrients get into the ground.
What Nutrients Does Epsom Salt Have and Why Does it Help Plants?
Epsom Salt contains magnesium and sulfate, two substances that can be helpful to a plant’s growth. If you notice that your outdoor tomato garden has yellow leaves, it can signify that it lacks magnesium. To help counter that imbalance, you can use Epsom salts for tomato plants experiencing that nutrient deficiency.
Magnesium is also a vital mineral due to its role in photosynthesis. Magnesium helps activate enzymes in respiration, photosynthesis, and nucleic acid synthesis. Additionally, magnesium enhances the production of a plant’s oils and fats.
Finally, magnesium, along with sulfate, helps with chlorophyll production. A plant’s green and healthy color comes directly from chlorophyll production, so a proper balance of magnesium and sulfate will help a plant give that green look.
Conclusion: Is Epsom Salts Good for Plants?
Epsom Salt is a beneficial mineral that can help your plant get enough magnesium and sulfate, which helps photosynthesis. It is beneficial for use with tomatoes, rose bushes, and pepper plants, which crave the extra magnesium necessary for healthy growth. If possible, using Epsom salts during the growing season of plants and vegetables tends to yield the best results than doing so in the offseason.
However, while there are benefits of using Epsom salts, there are some things to be aware of for plant owners. Using too much can drain a plant’s water, resulting in it wilting. Another problem with using Epsom salts on a plant is that any leftovers on the leaves can burn the plant, leading to structural damage.
The recommendation for using Epsom salts on plants is to use a soil testing kit to get a before and after reading. Especially if you are a beginner, you want to add less salt to a plant’s diet, so be mindful of how much you add. The best approach is to start with less than you intend to use and see how that works before increasing the amount of salt you give to plants.