Experts recommend Epsom salt in the garden for a variety of uses, starting with your garden startup and including peppers, tomatoes, fruit and roses. They say Epsom salt can also help with house plants, as well as lawns, trees and shrubs.
Why Epsom Salt Works in the Garden
Studies show that magnesium and sulfur, two naturally occurring minerals that are major components of Epsom salt, may help plants grow greener with higher yields and more blooms. Magnesium creates an environment conducive to growth by helping seeds to germinate, increasing chlorophyll production and improving phosphorus and nitrogen uptake. Sulfur is also a key element in plant growth, helping produce vitamins.
Tests by the National Gardening Association show that Epsom salt helps produce more flowers and makes pepper plants grow larger. And experts say Epsom salt reduces the total amounts of fertilizers needed and makes the fertilizers used more effective.
Here are some suggestions for natural, DIY recipes made with Epsom salt to help provide nutrients for your garden. To tailor the advice, we recommend working with county extension agents to test your soil by sending a sample before planting. This should be done every one to three years, depending on the cost. If there are problems with plants, county extension agents can also ask smart questions to help with a diagnosis. Here’s how to find your nearest extension agent.
- Feed house plants monthly by adding 2 tablespoons Epsom salt per gallon of water.
- Spray your peppers at bloom time.
- Combine 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt with a gallon of water.
- Ten days later, repeat the foliar spray again.
- Tomatoes can benefit from Epsom salt every 2 weeks.
- Apply 1 tablespoon diluted in water per foot of plant height per plant.
- Soak unplanted bushes in 1/2 cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Then add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to each hole at planting time.
- To encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth, scratch 1/2 cup of Epsom salt into soil at the plant base. Add 1 tablespoon diluted in a gallon of water per foot of plant height every two weeks.
- Spray roses with Epsom salt solution weekly (1 tablespoon per gallon of water) to help discourage pests.
Lawns, Trees & Shrubs
- For lawns, use 3 pounds of Epsom salt for every 1,250 square feet. Apply with a spreader or dilute the Epsom salt in water and use a sprayer.
- Trees absorb Epsom Salt best over the root zone. Use 2 tablespoons per 9 square feet by diluting in water. Apply 3 times each year.
- For shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, rhododendron), apply 1 tablespoon per 9 square feet over the root zone by diluting in water. Apply every 2 to 4 weeks.
- Prep your garden by sprinkling 1 cup of Epsom salt over 100 square feet. Mix into the soil before planting.
- Take Note! Do not prepare soil where you grow sage. This herb is one of the few plants that doesn’t like Epsom salt.
- Mix Epsom salt with water at a ratio of about a quarter-cup of Epsom salt per 500 square feet when you irrigate your plants.
- Fertilizer can cause salt buildup in soil, and the Epsom salt helps separate fertilizer bound to the soil, making the nutrients more available to the plants.
- Commercial growers say it reduces the total amounts of fertilizers you need, and makes the fertilizers you use more effective.
- Some growers swear that the use of Epsom salt as a secondary nutrient makes their fruit sweeter.