Besides the famous baking soda, Epsom salt is another miraculous product.
What is Epsom salt?
Epsom salt is a mineral compound of magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) and it’s found in transparent crystals that looks very similar with salt.
The name “Epsom salt” has its origins from the place from where it is extracted – Epsom, England.
Even though it’s called “Epsom salt” and looks very much like salt, it’s not actually salt at all, but a distinctive natural mineral compound. Just like table salt, the Epsom salt is water-soluble.
Because of its high concentration of magnesium and sulfate, Epsom salt has numerous uses as a natural remedy, but it’s also very popular in gardening.
The Epsom salt is sold by several different brands. Usually, you can find it in most pharmacies and groceries, or can easily order it from Amazon or any other online stores.
Some packages might contain additional substances and are recommended for agriculture or other activities. Only the products that are labeled “USP” are recommended for human use (make sure you always read the label).
Uses and Benefits of Epsom For Plants & Garden
Even though this mineral is known to have various anti-inflammatory and exfoliant benefits, I’m only going to resume at listing the benefits of Epsom salt in gardening related activities.
1. Improve soil quality
Magnesium is a mineral which is naturally present in the soil and is essential for the healthy growth of any plant.
One of the magnesium’s key roles is in Chlorophyll (the pigment that gives plants the green color to leaves and stems). Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis since it enables plants to absorb energy from light and turn the carbon dioxide into oxygen.
A soil magnesium deficiency usually results in the yellowing of plants’ leaves or partial yellowing of these.
Because Magnesium has such an essential role in plants growth, magnesium is an element added to the mix of many fertilizers.
A water solution of Epsom salt is slightly acidic, but not enough to change soil’s pH level significantly. Hence, it can be safely used for almost any type of plants.
2. Tastier Vegetables
Certain vegetables like a magnesium-rich soil.
Some gardeners claim that watering these vegetables with a solution of Epsom salt will make these vegetables more colorful, healthier, and tastier due to the magnesium supplement. A proper level of magnesium in the soil will also keep several vegetable diseases away.
The garden plants that can enjoy the benefits of magnesium sulfate the most are tomatoes, peppers, green beans, garlic, and onion.
3. Thriving, More Beautiful Roses
Besides growing tastier vegetables, it’s also known that Epsom salt can make roses more flourishing.
Just like peppers and tomatoes, roses require a higher level of magnesium.
Epsom salt will increase the magnesium level in the soil and give roses the proper environment to grow. The magnesium addition will enable your roses to grow bigger and have more vivid colors.
4. Greener and Healthier Lawn
We all have neighbors with thriving and magnificent lawns. However, the color of your lawn seems to be more yellowish instead of that wonderful green.
A lawn usually turns yellow because of a magnesium deficiency.
Because magnesium plays an important role in plants’ Chlorophyll, watering your lawn with a composition of Epsom salt should make your lawn greener and healthier.
5. Pest Control
Many gardeners state that Epsom Salt can be used as a natural pesticide for your garden, while others say that this is only a gardening myth.
It thought that Epsom salt can protect your plants from snails, cockroaches, and other garden pests.
Dr. Robert Stauffer, Area Extension Specialist at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension recommends the use of Epsom salt as a bait for house cockroaches (Cockroaches, The Environmentally Friendly Pest Control Series—No. 1).
He claims that the magnesium in the Epsom salt “will upset the biological system of a roach and prevent feeding; therefore, the roach will die”.
If Epsom salt can kill the kitchen roaches, why wouldn’t this also work for your garden, right?
A few sources recommend the sprinkle of Epsom salt around the plants to keep away the snails.
If you want to deter bugs, some gardeners recommend using a thin line of Epsom salt when you plant the vegetable seeds.
I don’t know how effective is Epsom salt as a pesticide but you can try it yourself if you want to.
6. Weed Killer
Besides acting like a natural pesticide, some gardeners also use the Epsom salt as a natural herbicide.
Here’s the recipe for preparing an organically weed killer with Epsom salt:
- 1 Gallon vinegar
- 2 Cups Epson salt
- 1/4 Cup of organic dish soap
Mix all the ingredients together and spray the solution on the weeds you want to eliminate.
Spraying the solution during the hottest time of the day should facilitate the absorption of our natural herbicide by the weeds.