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.


Previous articleTips for Cutting Cement Backer Board
Next articleHomeowner’s Guide to Glue
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.


  1. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the info. This exactly what I’m looking for. Right now my plants have that yellow hue that you mentioned and I was wondering what nutrient they were missing. Very, Very interesting and good advice

  2. I bought 3 blueberry bushes, actually they are 1 stem each. They started growing more extentions, thw soil I used is organic soil from a store, some of the leaves are reddish brown, I used some epsom salts and that seemed to stop, I live in Pensacola , Fl, so why are they not growing more, I was Lso told not to fertilize till they are a year old, is that right?

    Thank you

  3. Will Epsom salt work cucumber plants,mine seem to start to brown around
    The edge of the leaf,after about two months of growth,know matter how much you water the plants.

  4. if your foliage is yellow in the fall most likely iron deficient if in the summer or warm weather its a nitrogen deficiency cool iron warm nitrogen

  5. tried using epsom salt on our roses and it nearly killed them. Used 1 tbsp per gallon of water. my wife got furious and it took the rest of summer to get them looking healthy again. what went wrong.

  6. You don’t put it on Them but under and around them. I wash off my leaves so none gets or stays on the leaves. Works for me anyway. I use a soft water wand stream to wash it off. Hope this helps it did make mine look healthier in a few days.

  7. I live in the desert and am very limited on space but do have a lovely raised flower garden, which is made up of mostly Amaryllis. Last Jan I had 48 large red blooms. Would Epsom salts benifit my garden and if so how would I apply it???? Thank you so much for any advice you may send.

  8. I planted good size lisianthus, but they are all wilting badly. I used epsom salt(1T to 1Gal) about 1 cup full recently; could this be the cause of wilt? Have transplanted in fresh soil to see what happens. Love these, always plant. Would like to know what I did wrong for future plants. Thanks

  9. Will this work on potted plants? I tried it and it didn’t seem to work. If it is supposed to work, then how do I do it right?

  10. Hi, I was wondering if epsom salt accomplishes the same task as bone meal, or if epsom salt is recommended for some specific reason? Indeed, I wonder if I should add both to soil for more robust peppers & tomatoes? thanks!

  11. Wow! wish I had known about this sooner. I already planted my flowers. Could the Epson salt be mixed with sugar and water and poured around each plant?

  12. Hi,
    I have a Hoya Plant and even though the plant is healthy, it has not bloomed in years. I repotted it and I was wondering if it would benefit from the Epsom Salt? Also, if the Madagascar Plant would also benefit?

  13. I periodically give my Hoya and my ferns a dose of Epsom salts and they appear to fare very well for it. Just a teaspoon in the pot and then water. Yesterday I put a teaspoon in garden sprayer but was a bit cautious having read other comments about spraying on all plants overall. Have applied all round including 3 palms in pots, bromeliarss and all my propagation plantlings and vegies. I feed my stag horns with an odd banana skin too-all good. all my plants are what you call container gardening, i.e. in pots.

  14. Epsom Salts are miraculous for palm trees! A 2-3 cups around the trunk in spring and fall and they don’t get yellow and dry looking.

  15. Is epson salt applicable to use among mushroom? I appreciate if you can give suggestions on how to use it with mushroom. Thanks alot

  16. My tomatoe plants are starting to get flowers and I applied epson salt now they are starting to wither and died could it be to much e.salt. There is also marking on the leaves…look like something has crawl across the leaves…can you help….

  17. Will Epsom salts hurt succulent plants? Also I have Ivy, Red Aglaonema and other plants on this same order. If I can use it, how do I apply it to all plants mentioned?

  18. I used Epsom salt with my tomatoes, bell peppers and banana peppers, and I must say they did very well. Even though it’s late October, I still have veggies growing. I pray that I can get all I can before mid or late November.

  19. I will definitely try this next spring when I plant my tomatoes. I’m thinking of also trying banana peppers. Can’t wait but mother nature tells me to be patient.

  20. I grow all my veggies in pots now due to nematodes in north Florida. I would always mix this in water and pour around root base to be safe. I have been growing veggies for 50+ years in various latitudes from New York to Cuba and always had success. Just be careful when you use any new product.

  21. Thank you for the gardening advice. How does one test the grass or other types of foliage/fruits and vegetables for magnesium or sulfur and also what is the required level of these chemicals?

  22. I use Epsom salt on all plants and they thrive
    I even use it on my house plants and it’s amazing how beautiful and how fast they grow.

  23. Last summer I put Epsom salt on all my roses, they have bloomed all alone, today January 11- 2016, I still have blooms even after the frost days that we had. They love it.

  24. Thank you the amazing tip regarding adding Epsom Salt to my flowers and plants. I do my own germination and cant wait to try this tip. I always get tips from my mom and now i can give her one. I am ecstatic i too love Hydrangus and spend alot of money buying them again thanks i am so excited about this tip. Thanks again

  25. If you get bottom rot on your tomatoes, mix 3 Tbsp Epsom Salt (available at COSTCO for very little) with 1 gal water. Spray it generously on plants, after you remove affected fruit, and you’re good to go. This also works like a dream on azaleas, rhododendrons and similar plants….they’ll perk up, green up, and be beautiful.

  26. I have a cherry tomato plant in a 5 gal. bucket of miracle grow brand potting soil and I gave it a tsp. of epsom salt diluted in water and the flower buds all fall off when the blossom is done. What can I do????

  27. As I live in Australia with a different climate ( sub tropical ) and have just sprayed all my chilly plants with a lot of fruit and flowers on the plants Sprayed all over the plant leaves fruit and new flowers.. Hope fully and fingers crossed will let all people know the result soon enough

  28. Used about a tbsp each at the time of planting sweet peppers. Scatter the salt approximately 2-3″ around the outside of the root /stem. Then allow the rainfall or wTering to gradually melt the ES into the soil around the outside edges. I do not recommend dropping ES directly into the prepared hole before planting and watering with diluted ES should be done sparingly (as noted above) and again water around the outside of the plant and not directly on the plant. Haven’t tried it on tomatoes or other acid loving plants but I will try this year

  29. the cucumber plant leaves are turning yellow and then crusty
    will Epsom salts help the plant and the growth on the cucumbers

  30. Is it possible I put too much Epsom salts on my pickling dukes. They hav e come in yellow. The are beautifully formed, toast fine, and the foliage is lush green.

  31. Home gardens never need magnesium. There is NO published research showing adding ES is beneficial. Quit poisoning your soil and groundwater with added salts. ES is an old wive’s tale – it works because you think it does. Science shows it doesn’t!

  32. Hi I put Epsom salts in the Peruvian yellow pepper plant in the pot soil, the leaves are falling like withered, I had to water lots to flush off the Epsom salts, I hope they get better soon.
    Please can You tell me what can I do, Thank you.

  33. My fruit was damaged by a hale storm. Someone said thet i can spray epson salt on the fruit, on the trees and it will “heal” the skin op the fruit. Does what sound possible?

  34. The best way of using ES, soak the ES day before, depends how much you need
    For one cup ES use four cups cold water soak over night, pour around you plant
    I’m using this method with my plant.

  35. Hello- I live in Brisbane Australia and was thinking of adding ES to the hole when I plant my avocardos in september (spring time) Also to the soil when I plant eggplants and veggies. Is this practical? Please advise- Thank you -Ronald June 6th 2018

  36. Hello Julianne from Devonport Tasmania is it ok to throw handfuls of Epson Salts onto Gardens ( Large) and then Water in??? Lemen Trees Roses , Camelia Trees , Mollos Trees Rhododendrons Trees And many more Thank You looking forward to your Response ?

    • Hi, Carol,
      We haven’t used Epsom salt on a basil plant before, so it’s best to check with your local master gardener.
      Master gardeners train on a range of topics so they can provide advice, at no charge, for people in their area.
      Thanks for your question, and good luck!

  37. So Epsom salt should not be used to kill weeds with vinegar? Other sites say Epsom salt to kill weeds and others say no and to use regular table salt. What do you say?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here