Along the Garden Path: Benefits of Epsom salt in the garden


Before the busy gardening season begins, check on your fertilizers to see what you need to pick up for the growing season. Epsom salt is actually a magnesium sulfate, a pure, time-tested mineral compound with dozens of uses. It is an affordable, gentle and green treatment for indoor and outdoor plants. It has been used in gardens for hundreds of years as a natural fertilizer.

It is considered a gardener’s secret for houseplants and almost anything outdoors.

Composed almost exclusively of magnesium sulfate, Epsom salt is intensely rich in these two minerals, which are both crucial to healthy plant life. These same minerals, which are so beneficial for bathing and household tasks, are also great for your garden, helping it reach its fullest potential and creating a lush and vibrant outdoor space. Unlike common fertilizers, Epsom salt does not build up in the soil over time, which makes it safer than using chemical soil supplements.

Magnesium is beneficial to plants from very early on. Magnesium assists with the process of seed germination, helping to strengthen the plant cell walls so the plant can receive essential nutrients. Magnesium also plays a crucial role in photosynthesis by assisting with the creation of chlorophyll, used by plants to convert sunlight into food. In addition, it allows the plant to soak up phosphorus and nitrogen, which serve as vital fertilizer components for the soil. Believed to bring more flowers and fruit to your garden, magnesium can increase the bounty, as well as the beauty of your space.

Sulfate, a mineral form of sulfur found in nature, is an equally important nutrient for plant life. Sulfate is essential to the health and longevity of plants and aids in the production of chlorophyll. It joins with the soil to make key nutrients more effective for plants, including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Sulfate works in conjunction with magnesium to create a blend of minerals, nourishment and health for your garden.

Perhaps the most natural and easiest place to start with Epsom salt is with containers and potted plants that are dispersed around your house and porch. Adding Epsom salt is a simple way to increase the health of their blooms and is something that you can include easily as a part of a normal routine. For potted plants, simply dissolve two tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water, and substitute this solution for normal watering once a month.

Epsom salt works wonders on ferns as a liquid fertilizer helping the leaves have a rich, deep dark green color.

It can be especially beneficial to vegetable gardens with tomatoes and peppers. Tomatoes are prone to magnesium deficiency later in the growing season, which can show with yellowing leaves and diminished production. Epsom salt treatments at the beginning of their planting and throughout their seasonal life can help to prevent and remedy magnesium deficiency.

Like tomatoes, peppers are also prone to magnesium deficiency. Add one or two tablespoons to the area before planting your plants and you will have stronger, healthy, tastier, vibrant peppers and tomatoes.

Rose enthusiasts love the results that Epsom salt delivers to their roses. By adding one tablespoon when planting makes darker green foliage, healthier, and more vibrant blooms. Once a month sprinkle 1 tablespoon per foot of plant height directly around the base of the plant and water it in.

If applied in liquid form as a fertilizer, this helps to improve the overall health of the plant. If the plants need a boost, dissolve one to two tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Pour at the base of the plant and allow the water-salt solution to soak into the ground.

Spring is coming – soon all things will be “greening up!”

By Charlene Thornhill

Along the Garden Path

Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at [email protected]. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.

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