There are two sides to the story of epsom salts, and it is difficult to determine which is better or worse. This article will provide you with information about epsom salts and help you decide if your plants need them.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt, named after Epsom, England, where it originated, is a mineral rich in magnesium sulfate（MgSO4）. It is widely known for its wonderful health benefits, such as soothing nerves, relieving fatigue, cleansing the skin, and detoxifying the body. But few people are aware of the role of epsom salts in gardening work.
The Benefits Of Epsom Salts In Gardening
Some people claim that epsom salts are a panacea for gardening. Here are some common beliefs about the benefits of epsom.
Magnesium is the main component of chlorophyll, and plants deficient in magnesium will experience leaf curling or yellowing. This can be avoided by spraying the foliage with a mixture of epsom salts or adding it directly to the soil.
Promote Plant Growth
Plants easily lose sulfur during the germination process. Epsom salts are rich in magnesium and sulfur and can be used as a soil conditioner to strengthen cell walls, increase the plant's ability to absorb nutrients, and promote plant seed germination.
Epsom salt is similar to table salt in form and is a white sharp crystal. It stimulates the body to repels pests such as slugs and voles.
Produce Better-tasting Fruits And Vegetables
Using epsom salts on shrubs, vines, or fruit trees before the plant's bloom will increase the chlorophyll levels of the plants and help them produce more sugar. Examples include tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, and eggplants, to name a few.
Prevent Transplant Shock
When plants are transplanted or repotted, the root system is easily damaged during transport, causing the plant to go into shock which may result in wilting or death of the plant. Epsom salts can help plants overcome the shock.
Mixing epsom salt with water and spraying it on weeds and stumps that you want to remove can effectively kill them.
Is Epsom Salt Really That Amazing?
Epsom salts are not only common but also cheap and can be easily purchased in pharmacies or supermarkets. Compared to other fertilizers, epsom salts are indeed cheaper, and it is easy to be tempted by the magic talk on the internet to use epsom salts in the garden. So does it work for the garden?
First of all, we need to know when we can use epsom salts.
When your soil is deficient in magnesium or sulfur, that is the time to try epsom salts. But, keep in mind is that these ingredients are present in most soils in sufficient amounts During plant care, its common to add various fertilizers, which are also more than enough to replenish magnesium and sulfur, so it is rare for your soil to be deficient in magnesium.
Secondly, are you clear about which element your plants are deficient in?
It is difficult to correctly determine by appearance whether a plant is deficient in magnesium or sulfur.
Most plants need more nitrogen, potassium, or phosphorus. Still, excess phosphorus can interfere with magnesium uptake, which can easily create the misconception that there is a magnesium deficiency in the soil. The correct approach is to reduce phosphorus levels and use a hose end timer or watering controller to give plants adequate water Blindly adding epsom salts maycomplicate the problem more. It's safest to test your soil in order to give a proper diagnosis.
Finally, are the rumors about epsom salts completely wrong?
Unfortunately, here is no authoritative scientific statement to back up the claim of epsom salts being used to expel pests. Epsom salts can indeed be used as a fertilizer, but only for acidic and sandy soils used for cash crops. Magnesium helps plants photosynthesize and promotes chlorophyll production, but we have enough of it.
The Dangers Of Epsom Salts For Gardens
What are the consequences of using epsom salts in the garden, when the widely spread rhetoric overstates the benefits of epsom salts and ignores their possible effects?
Causes Soil Nutrient Imbalance
Excess magnesium and sulfur can prevent the uptake of minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, or potassium, leading to deficiencies in commonly used nutrients. At the same time, excess magnesium releases aluminum in the soil, a toxic metal that is harmful to plant growth systems and even to the human body.
Damage To Plants
Most anecdotal claims mention that spraying epsom salts on the surface of plants will make them grow better, yet be a weed killer. There is a conflict between these two statements. Of course, it also has to do with the dosage. Epsom salts can easily cause plant burns or damage plant roots, resulting in irreversible damage.
Damage To The Ecosystem
Epsom salt is a soluble substance that does not remain in the soil when fully diluted, but it can end up in groundwater sources such as ponds or streams, causing mineral contamination of the water.
There is no shortage of people who use epsom salts to help their plants grow, but if you don't have extensive gardening experience, I wouldn't recommend it. The benefits of epsom salts in the garden are minimal, and it can beharmful to plants. Take advice only from reputable sources to protect your garden and defend our planet.