Epsom salt on plants

angel123(San Antonio, Tx)April 26, 2004

I heard that Epsom salts are good for plants and vegatables. How much do yall use on plants and veggies? On my veggies and plants do i sprinkle epsom salts around the roots, Do i put on as a foiler spray on the leaves or just the roots. Please explain!!

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I use it on my garden plants. There are directions on the pkg, but generally I use 2 Tbsp in a gallon of water and let it dissolve. Then saturate the roots of the plants. You can use this on your lawn,, tomatoes, roses, trees and houseplants. It is not harmful to get it on the leaves either.

It says you can apply the salts at the base of plants and then water, but I prefer the dissolved method.

Brugs especially love this! They will get very green after a treatment.

Then after a hard day in the garden, soak your feet in a nice hot tub with epsom salts....wonderful!
(or even take a bath in it yourself)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 5:00PM
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angel123(San Antonio, Tx)

Can i use this on shrubs. I have some boxwoods that are turning yellow.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 7:18PM
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beachcat(8 Fl Panhandle)

Anyone have advice on the application of epsom salt on palms and cycads? I remember hearing that one cup of salt dissolved in one gallon of water applied twice per year was beneficial for palms, but too scared to try it. Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 7:18PM
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Beachcat, 1 cup sounds like a very strong concentration. I would stick with the smaller amt & feed every few weeks.

The shrubs would most likely benefit from the "Magnesium Sulfate". Sometimes yellowing can be caused by using chlorinated water to feed. Or it can be caused by either a calcium or iron deficiency in the soil.

To add calcium, I would save my eggshells and crumble them and add them to the top of the soil beneath the shrubs. The iron can be added by placing a few rusty nails near the shrubs. And simply let water stand overnite in the watering can to permit the chlorine to evaporate before using it. Either that or use rain water or well water.

I do not know of any plants that would not benefit from the use of epsom salts in a small amount.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 11:11PM
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I recently went to a plant swap and one of the gardeners brought several Brugs he had started from cuttings. He grows them and tropicals. I asked him about the ones I had where the leaves were yellowing or not a dark green. He said to mix 5 tbs Epson salts with 5 gallons of water. Once a month water the base of the plant with about 1 1/2 gal of the mixture. Sorry, don't know about other plants.
Lynn in Prattville, Al

    Bookmark   April 28, 2004 at 8:30PM
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I agree a cup of magnesium to a gallon of water seems a bit much. I am not sure I agree with the rusty nails adding iron to the soil. Ask your County Extension Agent about that and let us all know if they agree. I wonder how much calcium (lime) eggshells provide?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 2:36PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I find if you feed the brugs enough, they don't get yellow leaves. I feed mine a handful of alfafa pellets once every two weeks, when I feed the roses.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2004 at 2:59PM
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beachcat(8 Fl Panhandle)

Whoa! So glad I asked about the solution strength. Many thanks.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 8:00PM
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live_oak_lady(Zone 9)

I have been scratching in ONE CUP of Epsom Salts around each rose bush and camellia bush for years. Water in really well and it makes strong stems and healthy bushes.
It's never hurt any of my plants and the ones who didn't receive it didn't do half as well.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2004 at 12:11AM
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To put epsom salts on palms, you use 1 cup per inch diameter of the trunk, and sprinkle it from the trunk out to the drip line. We do it twice a year here in Florida, and also use Manganese on our Queen Palms to prevent frizzle top.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2004 at 12:25AM
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Dieter2NC(z7b NC)

I use 1 tablespoon per foot of height on my gardenias, keeps the leaves from yellowing. I 3 tblsp on each of my roses to promote branching.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2004 at 8:46AM
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mcldml(z4 MN/Z9 season)

Do all houseplants take well to epsom salt?
I have alot of houseplants and sure would like to give it a try.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2005 at 6:52PM
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Old nails,metal shaveings,steelwool works on anything that needs iron fruit,nut trees, roses any bush.I use a gal.jug steel wool fill with water let stand for 4 to 5 days or until water is red rusty looking use gal.on trees about 1/2 cup on bush and roses.I use 2tbs Epson salt per gt.water around bush and roses.hope this helps JIM

    Bookmark   January 17, 2005 at 12:02PM
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I have just read this thread. I think I am the one to whom Lynn in Prattville, AL referred. One tablespoon to a gallon of water is a good formula for potted plants. For larger trees and plants, there is a different formula. Apply I tablespoon per square foot of soil within the drip line. The drip line is the outside edge of you plant. If you stood under it after a rain and shake the tree or bush, where is the outside edge where the drops fall off the leaves. That can be calculated by the formula for Area=Pi x (Radius x Radius). If you have an azalea that is rounded in form and is 6 feet wide then you would calculate as follows. A=3.14 (Pi which is a geometric constant) x 3 x 3. in this case A=3.14 x 9 = 28.26. Mix 28 gallons of water with 28 tablespoons of water and water the roots under the plant. Or, sprinkle that amount of Epsom salts under the plant and water well. So ... I often feed my potted plants with a tablespoon of Epsom salts and water well. The tablespoon per gallon is a general rule of thumb for those folks who are a little hesitant about using Epsom salts. Epsom salts are very good to stimulate okra, tomatoes and beans to flower again in the late summer. It will green-up your yellowing plants and stimulate blooms. I use it in combination with a tablespoon per pot of super phosphate. Super phosphate and Epsom salts are good to use on annual bloomers like azaleas, saucer magnolias, ornamental trees (crabapples, dogwoods, etc.) after they bloom in the spring and again about June 1. It helps grow and set flower buds for next year's blooms.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2005 at 11:42PM
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lynne_melb(z9b Melb FL)

I don't know the protocol of this board yet, can I refer you to web page epsomsaltcouncil.org?

Up north, the garden writers would advise giving roses a small amount in the spring. They cautioned that it is a salt, & that too much was worse than too little.

I had clay soil, bad back & limited time, so could not scratch in. So my highly scientific method was to fling 1 handful of epsom salt over mulch over root system of each rose once in spring. Seemed to help. However, I did not conduct any controlled experiments by witholding from some plants.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 3:55AM
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ashley_nc(7b NC)

I'm still a little confused as to which plants you use Empson salts. I've seen roses, trees, shrubs, house plants, the lawn listed but would you use it on annuals like impatients, marigolds, petunias, ect? And if so, could you add a tblsp or 2 to the hole when planting?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2005 at 9:19AM
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Shufly(8 Coastal N.Car)

Most epsom salt containers have the plant dosage printed on them it is one tbs. per gal. of water.
I apply it to (all) my plants twice a year including my palms .

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 1:11PM
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Maryl zone 7a

I hate to be negative about Epsom salts, but as a rose grower I've heard about using it for years. I have never seen one whit of difference in my roses over 20 years of rose growing when I use it or when I don't. I learned that it's not the same kind of salt as what's in table salt, so build up isn't a biggie (if you use minimum amounts), but still as one who pampers her roses, no difference here. Zip, nada. May be that my amended clay soil doesn't require it. For roses 1/4 cup scattered around the bush and watered in twice a year is what is usually recommended.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 8:15PM
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rivers1202(Z8a South Carolina)

Thanks for posting this topic. Now I can't wait to use the stuff!! I've never been a big fan of commercial fertilizers, which often seem to do more harm than good, but from what I've read here regarding Epsom Salts giving them a try won't hurt and may possibly help my struggling Camellias and Fringe Tree.

Thanks for the info.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 11:40PM
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Fertilizer_Spreader(8 Conroe)

This is straight from epsomsaltcouncil.org : "Studies show that magnesium and sulfur, two components of Epsom Salt may:
Help seeds germinate
Make plants grow bushier
Produce more flowers
Increase chlorophyll production
Improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake
Deter pests, including slugs and voles"

I never used it before, but I plan to give it a try to green up a few shrubs.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 1:31PM
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kbeard2323(Z9b Tampa, FL)

Does epsom salt change the pH of the soil?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2005 at 4:45PM
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rosieo(7 NC)

The great thing about epsom salts is that after a long day of working in the garden you can add a cup or two to a hot bath and soak all your aches and pains away. I'm always amazed at how great I feel the day after an epsom salts bath. Most of us in the US have a diet that's deficient in magnesium and soaking in epsom salts allows you to absorb it very efficiently. We need it much more than our plants do!

Here's a link in case you're interested in more opinions about it:

Here is a link that might be useful: epsom salts bath testimonial

    Bookmark   March 7, 2005 at 1:00PM
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kumquat12(z8b FL)

One time I got the Springtime coughing and it wouldn't go away. Went to doctor for antibiotics, etc. My neighbor said in the old days they put as much epsom salts as you could hold on a dime in a glass of water and drink it every day for a few to "clean" out the system. I tried it and did not upset my stomach. However, I have found that tupelo honey is the best tonic in the Spring when the pollen is out. A tablespoon cures you, and if that doesn't do it, another tablespoon the next day surely with heal any sinus, or lung problem.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 4:07PM
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Hello Everyone-

I realize I'm a bit late to be chiming in on the subject, but I wanted to put my vote in for epsom salts for plants. I use it on everything from plumeria to geraniums, bananas & bird of paradise to azaleas & impatiens, agapanthus to miniature limes & tangerines to palms- king, queen, majestic & phoenix, japanese boxwood & gardenias to fuchsias & cannas, staghorn fern & boston fern to ficus, schefflera, gerbera daisy & petunias to name a few. I forgot jasmine & mandevilla. I use 2 generous tblspns per 2.5 gallon watering can (dissolved). I also use it inside on draceana- including the "corn plant" type. And pothos and Christmas & Easter Cactus, Same mixture indoors & out. Thanks for the opportunity to share-

...and my lawn

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 5:54AM
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Sorry- I forgot to add that my plants are all doing very well, with some thanks to my epsom salts regimen, which I feed my plants every 2-3 weeks. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2005 at 6:01AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Another BIG hint - if you like to save money and are cheap like me - don't buy your epsom salts in the garden center, buy them in the bath and beauty section. In WalMart, KMart, Target, etc., the epsom salts in the garden center run $1-2 more per bag than the same exact size bag in with the deoderant, razor blades and shampoo!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 10:04PM
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woodtracy(z7 AL)

I am glad I found this string. Does anyone know if about putting epsom salts around caladiums? I am battling snails and slugs with beer. But I have been wondering about sprinkling epsom salts around or diluting it and watering with it. Would this help? Any advice is appreciated.

Tracy, Pelham, AL

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 5:18PM
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pinkclogs(9 Central Fl)

Question for anyone: can you add epsom salts in addition to regular fertilizer (I currently use Osmocote and, on some plants, when blooming, super bloom). Newbie question. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 11:35AM
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renarhod(z8 WA)

I can attest that the epsom salt may be a slug deterent. I sprinkled some around my lilies and they came up whole and are big strong plants. Normally they get eaten down by slugs as they come up. I don't think I used slug bait and it's a very sluggy area. I am sprinkling the epsom salt around my new seedlings in the vegie garden and it seems to be keeping the slugs away too. In fact, better than the slug bait is doing. But I have to reapply after a heavy rain.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2005 at 12:20PM
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frdnicholas(Albuquerque NM)

Can I put the water with Epsom salt that I have soaked my feet in around the vegetables in the garden? How about the roses and other flowers?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 6:58PM
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raccoon(cntrl AL)

I was wondering if I could use it on a potted lemon tree? I do use it in my vegtable garden and it has always helped there.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 10:43AM
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sultry_jasmine_nights (Florida 9a)

I also use epsom salt on my plants. I put it on all plants lol. Just mix 1 tbsp per gallon with warm water and mix well to dissolve it all. Then you can add your other water fertilizer solution as well. Works like a charm to green up leaves and the plants really seem to like it. I do it about once a month. Too much of any one element can cause an imbalance in other nutrients.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2005 at 12:23PM
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danjkinzer(6 Tenn.)

I have several roses that are here from previous owner they are looking pretty worn lately. Will epson salt help even at this part of the year or do I need to cut them back and plan the salt next spring?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2005 at 1:05PM
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serenoa(z8b, FL)

Epsom salts is a great, cheap source of magnesium. Use it with care, though. As with any fertilizer, the best way to determine magnesium needs is to have your soil tested. A safe, lower tech approach is to use a good fertilizer with micronutrients (or minor elements) that includes magnesium. Alternatively, apply epsom salts in moderation with your N-P-K applications. I have seen reports that too much magnesium can inhibit a plant's ability to absorb potassium from the soil resulting in a postassium deficiency. Like any fertilizer salt, an excess of epsom salts can damage roots.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 9:29AM
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persiancat_gardener(z8 O’burg, scarolina)

I have been told that epsom salt helps the plant take up
and use other nutritients in the soil. More useful uptake
of fertilizer, iron, etc.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2006 at 10:03PM
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I just learned about Epsom salts recently and put about 1/2 a cup in a gallon of water and soaked the pot holding a dying Madagascar palm which had some kind of black rot in the growing crown preventing all new growth and slowly killing the plant. I had given up hope but three days after giving it Epsom salts it is starting to put out new healthy green growth from the crown! I had re-potted the plant into new potting mix twice after washing the roots and sterilizing the pot. But nothing worked until I used the Epsom salts.

I also gave some to my healthy Madagascar palm in a pot as well as my fishtail palms in the garden. The fishtails had been getting yellow steaks and the ends of the older leaves were dying too fast. Hopefully the Epsom salts will fix those problems.

I'm going to try soaking steel wool in water to make rust to feed the palms with too.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 3:31AM
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mgmb(z5 Madison WI)

I'm not a southerner, but I just got some advice about epsom salts on a different thread, and I thought I would reply to this thread to "resurrect" it to the top of the list since it seems to have a lot of good info, and even a note about tupelo honey, which any Van Morrison fan will appreciate!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 9:43AM
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how much epsom salt to use on boston fern if using it in dry form as a top dressing?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:09PM
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Here's a pic of my grugs on epsom salt.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2008 at 9:35AM
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chickadee_42us(8a Tx)

'On Epsom Salts' - sounds like a 12 step program.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2008 at 4:00PM
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tomatoman(9B E Cen Fl)

An interesting & informative thread. Bought a bag of epsom salt today in Wally World, near the drug section. Then I find this thread tonight. What about using epsom salt on orchids?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 10:06PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

MY Bathtub is outside in my yard and drains into the ground. I was worried about using epson salt and having it drain into the ground. I use the water in my garden. Now I find out it is a definite plus YEAAAAA!!! One note, I was rooting a double pink brug cutting and I dropped a few grains in to the cutting water and the brug cutting wilted and the stem turned to mush very quickly. the same day I put some grains in the brugs growing out side and they are fine. Interesting about the tomatoes. I am having some problems with blossom drop. I will apply some ES.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2009 at 5:56PM
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Hi. This may seem a strange question, but has anyone with reptiles tried this? I have large tortoises roaming my yard and I am very careful what I use. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2009 at 6:07PM
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I have been putting it on all of my plants -- about a tablespoon sprinkled at the base every other week, then watered in. With our extreme heat, the more the merrier to give the plants a boost.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 4:04PM
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I also have used epson salt on plants greens up ferns quickly.But i am thrilled to hear that it may deter those pesky voles.If anyone know of any thin else to get rid of those awful critters I will be right on it. I so far have vibrating rods in the ground. Came home one day and beautiful fatsia was cut off at the ground.
Hope this was not too long.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 6:19PM
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On a recent episode of the Volunteer Gardener program that is on NPT (Nashville Public Television), they had a "recipe" to amend the hole when planting Tomatoes:
1 cup Bone Meal, 1 cup Greensand, 1 tablespoon Epsom Salts, and 1 tablespoon Blood Meal. Mix the 4 ingredients, and then mix with the garden soil in the hole when planting. (use the entire recipe for ONE tomato plant)

The next time I plant Tomatoes, I am going to test that on a few plants, to see if I observe a noticeable difference.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 3:44PM
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The chemical composition of salt is NaCl and MgSO4 is magnesium sulphate or Epsom Salts, 2 very different compounds. I understand some NaCl salts are used to prevent growth of vegetation, so I would be very sure you know what type of salt is used in your pool before you start sprinkling it on your garden.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 2:28PM
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Wow..got to know soo much about Epsom Salt but please can any one tell me where do we get this? like in which stores?
I want to use them on my rose, tomato, pepper and other flowering plants.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 12:53AM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

MSVK, you can buy epsom salt in one to four pound containers at drug stores or the drug section of grocery stores where it is sold as a bath salt. A good soak in epsom salts is thought to be good for sore muscles.

Or for agricultural use you can get a feed store to order it in 50 lb. bags for less than $20.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 5:35PM
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At this point my pepper plants are seedlings in very small pots.

Would someone please suggest at what point epsom salt should be added to promote growth.

Thanx guys.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 9:46PM
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It is easy: if your soil is magnesium-deficient, Epsom salts help greatly, since without magnesium chlorophyll can't form - its synthesis requires an atom of magnesium to every chlorophyll geme ring. That said, required amounts of magnesium are still very low compared say to N-P-K. A soil has to be fairly depleted to come to a magnesium deficit. Iron and sulfur are also a must to complete the photosynthetic electron transfer chain, but their required levels are even lower and hardly ever absent from average fertile soil. With sulfur, unlike most other "micronutrients", a risk of overdosage also exists.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2011 at 1:53PM
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I work in a kitchen and I save my egg shells. I go through about 6 cases a week (13doz per case). When I have a stinky stockpile of shell, I roast them off 500F until you cant take the smell anymore. Believe me you are making manerur. Then I smash them down. It helps break them up because the roasting makes them brittle. I also save my wood chips from the smoker and charcoal from the bbq's. I read somewhere that this is really good for nitrogen. Believe me. This stuff works. My garden, the greenhouse at work, and everyone that I gave "the goods" too have been shocked at how well they are doing... Add in some bat guana and worm casing... some nightcrawlers from my local bait and tackle store...and we are in buisness. I have been struggling with one gardenia plant in particular. A lot of unopened buds, and a ton of yellow leaves. I am about to try the Epsom salt treatmeant in the morning. I have been adding my coffee grounds and old coffee for the past few days and now I have more flowers open at one time than ever before and more than just one or two. There is still some yellow but not as bad. Hopefully the 1gal to 1 T ratio will work. Thanks for the heads up.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:20AM
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My saga palms love it!!! I use 2 tablespoons dissolved in 1 gallon of warm water.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2011 at 5:27PM
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I use 1 tablespoon of Epson Salts mixed with a high nitrogen fertilizer every time I feed my palms.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 1:53PM
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I have used epsom salt in Sc around my roses for 30 years. I just dig about 1 inch down and around the rose buses and put alot of epsom salt in, and cover with dirt, then wood chips. never lost a rose, do this about twice a year.as far as slugs and cut worms, i had them bad around my dihlias, started putting dried out crumbled egg shells, no more problems. this apparently cuts the worms and slugs as they crawl over, and they die. also have found that non stop begonias love used coffee grounds, and egg shells applied to the soil. they have bloomed more beautiful and fuller this year than ever.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 3:55AM
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also, epsom salt is cheap. you can buy a box of it at any dollar store for a buck, goes a long way, and its awesome to take a bath in too. to take out soreness of muscles. mportant thing most ppl dont realize is, this is not like regular salt !!!!!!!!! I put it on everything !!!!!! and i have huge flower beds, and vegetable gardens. Ive had better results with this than miracle grow (which i loved !!!!!).

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 4:04AM
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Bumping this.

And if you guys remember while shopping at Walmart, go to the health and beauty section for Epsom salt. There is a 2lb carton for sale in that section for 88 cents. It is blue and green. Fantastic deal! :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 12:57AM
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Castor Oil will make the voles (and moles) leave your garden. Gardens Alive has a dry product that you scatter around, I think they advertize it for moles, but the voles left when I used it. I pour a little liquid castor oil in any hole I found, and sprinkled it on any plant they had attacked. (I will do that from now on)

I currently have no apparent voles. You can spray with castor oil adding a bit of dish detergent to the bottle to make it stick.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 2:06PM
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I would like to know is Epsom salt good to remove pests from the red currant Plant and fruit or does anyone know what else works

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 12:50PM
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does it work on succulents and agave attenuata?

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 1:14PM
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No more than 1.5 tablespoons per gallon of water is using as a foliar feed. Dissolve well and apply early morning on entire plant, including stems, top & bottom of leaves, and roots.

I find adding 3 tablespoons of molasses and liquid fish fertilizer to the solution works best.

Use two tablespoons straight in a planting hole at transplant time for tomatoes and follow instructions for application around the roots. Since you're fairly new to using epsom salts, spend the extra $2 and buy it from any garden center. The application instructions are worth the investment.

As with all good gardening habits, building & sustaining the soil food web with organic matter is the best way to nourish your plants. Premium compost, leaves, grass clippings, straw, manures, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, green manure, cover cropping, compost teas....all on an a consistent basis....this will create the ideal plant environment.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2014 at 4:17PM
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not all soil is created equal.
its very possible YOUR soil is either magnesium or sulfur saturated.
some clay soils are, especially in central USA with Mag

if you need iron, use humic acid, or better, fulvic acid.
its very beneficial to the plants at the same time as giving it the iron.
its a 2 fer.

if your soil has a lot of calcium, and is low on magnesium, epsom salt can make a big difference.
1 tablespoon per gallon of water has been the general recommendation.

if you soil is low in calcium, and high in Mag, then, you will be further locking out the calcium, creating a bigger problem.

soil test...

    Bookmark   February 5, 2015 at 12:54PM
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