How to Fertilize Plants with Epsom Salts

I’ve heard of people adding Epsom salts to their garden, especially for growing peppers. Is this good for plants? And how do you apply it? -Gabby

Epsom salts are made up of a chemical salt called magnesium sulfate. As the name suggests, this compound contains both magnesium and sulfur, which are two important elements in plant growth.

Most often, Epsom salts are used in the garden as a natural source of magnesium, particularly for roses, tomatoes, and peppers, because these plants seem to benefit from an additional helping of this nutrient. The extra magnesium is believed to make the plants bushier and greener, with more blooms and abundant veggie yields.

Unless your soil is deficient in magnesium or sulfur, Epsom salts are generally used as an extra boost applied to specific plants, rather than broadcast generally throughout the landscape.

Here are some ways to use Epsom salts in the garden:

  • When you plant your vegetables or roses, sprinkle about one tablespoon of Epsom salts into the planting hole.
  • Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, and apply to the root zone after planting.
  • Reapply the liquid solution when your veggies are in bloom, and do it again when you see small vegetables starting to grow.

Enthusiasts give Epsom salt credit for boosting everything from seed germination and chlorophyll production to nutrient uptake, but it’s important to pay attention to your plant’s needs without subscribing to “miracle cures,” particularly if you’re thinking of widespread applications.

Do a soil test before apply Epsom salt to lawns or large areas, to make sure it’s needed. Summer veggies, such as tomatoes and peppers, indicate a magnesium deficiency with yellowing or curling leaves, or by producing less (or smaller) fruit.

Julie

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Backed by his 40-year remodeling career, Danny served as the home improvement expert for CBS’s The Early Show and The Weather Channel for more than a decade. His extensive hands-on experience and understanding of the industry make him the go-to source for all things having to do with the home – from advice on simple repairs, to complete remodels, to helping homeowners prepare their homes for extreme weather and seasons.