How to fertilize a garden with epsom salts

Garden folklore says using Epsom Salt makes roses bushier, pepper plants larger and lawns greener. This inexpensive household product is magnesium sulphate which may increase chlorophyll production and help plants use phosphorus and nitrogen better. Critics say it does not work. Decide for yourself. Here are easy ways to use Epsom Salt on your garden.

Feed potted plants or houseplants. Substitute an Epsom Salt solution for regular watering once a month. Dissolve 2 tablespoons Epsom Salt per gallon of water. Most plants can be misted with the same solution as a foliar feeding.

Prime the spring soil before planting. Lightly sprinkle up to 1 cup Epsom Salt per 100 square feet. Work into the soil before seeding or planting. Many gardeners believe seeds germinate better. If the soil is magnesium deficient, this will help transplants.

Soak new rose bushes in a bath. The Epsom Salt Industry Council recommends soaking unplanted bushes in 1/2 cup of Epsom Salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Add a tablespoon of granules to the planting hole.

Fertilise rose bushes by applying up to 1/2 cup of granules around each plant early in spring and again in fall. Dissolve 1 tablespoon per gallon of water for a foliar spray after leaves appear and again when the roses bloom. Rosarians often recommend more frequent use depending on the soil.

Apply Epsom Salt to tomato and pepper plants. The National Gardening Association asked six regional gardeners to assess this home remedy. According to the NGA, "Four out of the six testers reported that the Epsom salts-treated pepper plants and fruits were larger than the controls. For the treated roses, testers reported greener foliage, bushier plants, and more roses than on the control plants."

Use granules when transplanting tomato and pepper plants. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon around each transplant. This gives the young plant a small boost of magnesium and sulphur.

Spray growing plants. Some growers believe tomatoes and peppers absorb the magnesium better through leaves and recommend spraying 1 tablespoon Epsom Salt per gallon of water at first planting, again when blossoms appear, and finally at fruit set. This may help prevent leaf yellowing later in the season.

Things You'll Need

  • Epsom Salt
  • Measuring Tablespoon
  • Tank Sprayer
  • Water
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Phyllis Benson is a professional writer and creative artist. Her 25-year background includes work as an editor, syndicated reporter and feature writer for publications including "Journal Plus," "McClatchy Newspapers" and "Sacramento Union." Benson earned her Bachelor of Science degree at California Polytechnic University.