Buying a bag of fertilizer is a convenient way to give plants extra nutrients, but it can cost a pretty penny. It also often contains toxins that may irritate skin and possibly cause a health scare if a pet or kid gets into it. Luckily, you can avoid those issues by using Epsom salt as a natural fertilizer instead!
It might sound a little weird to use this bath time staple for our plants, but Epsom salt is made of a chemical compound known as magnesium sulfate that works wonders in a soothing foot soak after a long day and also happens to promote healthy soil and plant growth.
Master gardener Tom Ingram explained to Tulsa World that a magnesium deficiency in soil is most common after periods of heavy rainfall, which can wash away the soil’s nutrients. This can cause the leaves to lose their vibrant green color and strength. In this case, he recommends using Epsom salt to boost the magnesium levels back up. So if your plants are looking a little lackluster, this may be just what your leafy friends need.
Nikki Tilley, author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden (Buy on Amazon, $29.95), also shared how the minerals in Epsom salt can be beneficial to your garden. “Magnesium allows plants to better take in valuable nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus,” she explained on Gardening Know How. “It also helps in the creation of chlorophyll, which is vital for photosynthesis.”
Tilley adds that Epsom salt can drastically improve the plant’s ability to thrive and produce flowers or fruit. Also, since it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like other commercials fertilizers, there’s very little harm that can happen if you use too much of it in your garden.
Essentially, Epsom salt is a natural fertilizer option that will make sure your plants and garden are always well-nourished. You’re also getting more bang for your buck with a brand like Dr. Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt (Buy at Walmart, $4.97), which is super inexpensive for a six pound bag.
How to Use Epsom Salt For Plants and Gardening
For gardening, it’s best to stick to a non-scented version of Epsom salt so the aroma add-ins (which might be lovely for a bath) don’t interfere with the plant’s natural scent. Growing roses that smell like orange or eucalyptus might throw us for a loop!
The experts at the Epsom Salt Council have compiled several easy-to-follow ratios and tips, so there’s no need to guess or eyeball how much Epsom salt to add to your garden or house plants.
- Houseplants: Feed the plants once a month with a mixture of two tablespoons of Epsom salt for every gallon of water.
- Roses: Add 1/2 cup into the base of the soil which will encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth. To help promote healthy and strong roots, soak unplanted bushes in one cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water. Add a tablespoon of salt to each hole when planting new bushes.
- Shrubs (evergreens, azaleas, and rhododendron): Use one tablespoon of the salt per one square feet and apply over root zone every two to four weeks.
- Lawns: Apply three pounds per 1,250 square feet with a spreader (Buy at Walmart, $36.48). You can also dilute the salt in equal parts water and apply with a sprayer.
- Trees: Apply two tablespoons per nine square feet and sprinkle over the root area three times a year.
- If you’re just starting your garden: Sprinkle one cup per 100 square feet of the garden area. Mix it into the soil before planting.
Tending to a beautiful lawn and garden doesn’t have to mean shelling out for expensive fertilizers or landscaping services. With Epsom salt, you have the answer to gardening woes in one safe and easy to use ingredient!
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