How to Fertilize Plants with Epsom Salts

I’ve heard of people adding Epsom salts to their garden, especially for growing peppers. Is this good for plants? And how do you apply it? -Gabby

Epsom salts are made up of a chemical salt called magnesium sulfate. As the name suggests, this compound contains both magnesium and sulfur, which are two important elements in plant growth.

Most often, Epsom salts are used in the garden as a natural source of magnesium, particularly for roses, tomatoes, and peppers, because these plants seem to benefit from an additional helping of this nutrient. The extra magnesium is believed to make the plants bushier and greener, with more blooms and abundant veggie yields.

Unless your soil is deficient in magnesium or sulfur, Epsom salts are generally used as an extra boost applied to specific plants, rather than broadcast generally throughout the landscape.

Here are some ways to use Epsom salts in the garden:

  • When you plant your vegetables or roses, sprinkle about one tablespoon of Epsom salts into the planting hole.
  • Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, and apply to the root zone after planting.
  • Reapply the liquid solution when your veggies are in bloom, and do it again when you see small vegetables starting to grow.

Enthusiasts give Epsom salt credit for boosting everything from seed germination and chlorophyll production to nutrient uptake, but it’s important to pay attention to your plant’s needs without subscribing to “miracle cures,” particularly if you’re thinking of widespread applications.

Do a soil test before apply Epsom salt to lawns or large areas, to make sure it’s needed. Summer veggies, such as tomatoes and peppers, indicate a magnesium deficiency with yellowing or curling leaves, or by producing less (or smaller) fruit.



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56 Comments on “How to Fertilize Plants with Epsom Salts”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    January 31st, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Hi, Julianne,
    Thanks for your interest! We recommend checking out this resource for more information on using Epsom salts in gardens:
    Gardening results can vary by region; that’s why we always suggest our U.S. fans to seek tailored advice from Master Gardeners (volunteers who help residents here in the States).
    I don’t know about similar programs in Tasmania, but we would recommend taking advantage of them if available. Just to ensure your garden exceeds its potential. 🙂
    Thanks for your question!

  • Julianne Says:
    January 30th, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    Hello Julianne from Devonport Tasmania is it ok to throw handfuls of Epson Salts onto Gardens ( Large) and then Water in??? Lemen Trees Roses , Camelia Trees , Mollos Trees Rhododendrons Trees And many more Thank You looking forward to your Response 🤗

  • bob gilmore Says:
    September 4th, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    how to use Epsom salt on potted plants

  • Ronald Ellis Says:
    June 6th, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Hello- I live in Brisbane Australia and was thinking of adding ES to the hole when I plant my avocardos in september (spring time) Also to the soil when I plant eggplants and veggies. Is this practical? Please advise- Thank you -Ronald June 6th 2018

  • Marsha See Says:
    May 12th, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    How do you use on magnolias? How much & how often please. They are new.

  • Sarita Nand Says:
    April 12th, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    The best way of using ES, soak the ES day before, depends how much you need
    For one cup ES use four cups cold water soak over night, pour around you plant
    I’m using this method with my plant.

  • Walter Luczejko Says:
    February 12th, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Read this at the end of 2017 growing season.
    Looking forward to giving it a try!
    Happy Gardening!

  • Antoinette Says:
    November 21st, 2017 at 11:10 am

    My fruit was damaged by a hale storm. Someone said thet i can spray epson salt on the fruit, on the trees and it will “heal” the skin op the fruit. Does what sound possible?

  • Ruby Says:
    October 30th, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Hi I put Epsom salts in the Peruvian yellow pepper plant in the pot soil, the leaves are falling like withered, I had to water lots to flush off the Epsom salts, I hope they get better soon.
    Please can You tell me what can I do, Thank you.

  • Mary Says:
    September 7th, 2017 at 12:52 am

    Mary Snyder change your potting soil to organic. Monsanto created Miracle Grow

  • Julie Jorgenson Says:
    August 11th, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    Home gardens never need magnesium. There is NO published research showing adding ES is beneficial. Quit poisoning your soil and groundwater with added salts. ES is an old wive’s tale – it works because you think it does. Science shows it doesn’t!

  • Carol bemis Says:
    July 15th, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    Is it possible I put too much Epsom salts on my pickling dukes. They hav e come in yellow. The are beautifully formed, toast fine, and the foliage is lush green.

  • Elaine Sullivan Says:
    May 17th, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    My rose bushes leaves are curl sort of turning white. What’s the problem? Thanks

  • joyce appleby Says:
    May 15th, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    the cucumber plant leaves are turning yellow and then crusty
    will Epsom salts help the plant and the growth on the cucumbers

  • John b Says:
    April 12th, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Used about a tbsp each at the time of planting sweet peppers. Scatter the salt approximately 2-3″ around the outside of the root /stem. Then allow the rainfall or wTering to gradually melt the ES into the soil around the outside edges. I do not recommend dropping ES directly into the prepared hole before planting and watering with diluted ES should be done sparingly (as noted above) and again water around the outside of the plant and not directly on the plant. Haven’t tried it on tomatoes or other acid loving plants but I will try this year

  • Roy Deoke Says:
    March 10th, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    As I live in Australia with a different climate ( sub tropical ) and have just sprayed all my chilly plants with a lot of fruit and flowers on the plants Sprayed all over the plant leaves fruit and new flowers.. Hope fully and fingers crossed will let all people know the result soon enough

  • Mary Snyder Says:
    February 29th, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    I have a cherry tomato plant in a 5 gal. bucket of miracle grow brand potting soil and I gave it a tsp. of epsom salt diluted in water and the flower buds all fall off when the blossom is done. What can I do????

  • Martha Says:
    February 16th, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Sounds like a good idea- I’ll try it on one tomato plant and see how it works.

  • Stoaker Says:
    February 3rd, 2016 at 11:24 am

    If you get bottom rot on your tomatoes, mix 3 Tbsp Epsom Salt (available at COSTCO for very little) with 1 gal water. Spray it generously on plants, after you remove affected fruit, and you’re good to go. This also works like a dream on azaleas, rhododendrons and similar plants….they’ll perk up, green up, and be beautiful.

  • Jacqueline Dickerson Says:
    January 26th, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Thank you the amazing tip regarding adding Epsom Salt to my flowers and plants. I do my own germination and cant wait to try this tip. I always get tips from my mom and now i can give her one. I am ecstatic i too love Hydrangus and spend alot of money buying them again thanks i am so excited about this tip. Thanks again

  • ALAN Says:
    January 13th, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Last summer I put Epsom salt on all my roses, they have bloomed all alone, today January 11- 2016, I still have blooms even after the frost days that we had. They love it.

  • TinaGross Says:
    January 12th, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    I use Epsom salt on all plants and they thrive
    I even use it on my house plants and it’s amazing how beautiful and how fast they grow.

  • Hazel Says:
    December 31st, 2015 at 4:58 am

    Thank you for the gardening advice. How does one test the grass or other types of foliage/fruits and vegetables for magnesium or sulfur and also what is the required level of these chemicals?

  • Carmelo Says:
    December 26th, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    Is Epson salt good for all houseplants too?

  • Geo Says:
    December 1st, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    I grow all my veggies in pots now due to nematodes in north Florida. I would always mix this in water and pour around root base to be safe. I have been growing veggies for 50+ years in various latitudes from New York to Cuba and always had success. Just be careful when you use any new product.

  • Jesse Says:
    November 29th, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Excellent, thank you for the idea, I will try this method.

  • Terry hicks Says:
    November 3rd, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Works well in all soils

  • Sonia Says:
    November 3rd, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I will definitely try this next spring when I plant my tomatoes. I’m thinking of also trying banana peppers. Can’t wait but mother nature tells me to be patient.

  • Kimberly Says:
    October 27th, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I used Epsom salt with my tomatoes, bell peppers and banana peppers, and I must say they did very well. Even though it’s late October, I still have veggies growing. I pray that I can get all I can before mid or late November.

  • Sharon Texada Says:
    October 18th, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Will Epsom salts hurt succulent plants? Also I have Ivy, Red Aglaonema and other plants on this same order. If I can use it, how do I apply it to all plants mentioned?

  • Lynn Geldard Says:
    October 17th, 2015 at 10:25 am

    My tomatoe plants are starting to get flowers and I applied epson salt now they are starting to wither and died could it be to much e.salt. There is also marking on the leaves…look like something has crawl across the leaves…can you help….

  • jeffry halili Says:
    September 4th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Is epson salt applicable to use among mushroom? I appreciate if you can give suggestions on how to use it with mushroom. Thanks alot

  • Roz Says:
    August 20th, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Epsom Salts are miraculous for palm trees! A 2-3 cups around the trunk in spring and fall and they don’t get yellow and dry looking.

  • Carroll Says:
    August 12th, 2015 at 1:46 am

    I periodically give my Hoya and my ferns a dose of Epsom salts and they appear to fare very well for it. Just a teaspoon in the pot and then water. Yesterday I put a teaspoon in garden sprayer but was a bit cautious having read other comments about spraying on all plants overall. Have applied all round including 3 palms in pots, bromeliarss and all my propagation plantlings and vegies. I feed my stag horns with an odd banana skin too-all good. all my plants are what you call container gardening, i.e. in pots.

  • a Says:
    July 22nd, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Do you mix epson salt w/ water first or can you use it straight from container?

  • Elida Says:
    July 20th, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I have a Hoya Plant and even though the plant is healthy, it has not bloomed in years. I repotted it and I was wondering if it would benefit from the Epsom Salt? Also, if the Madagascar Plant would also benefit?

  • deirdre Says:
    July 9th, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Wow! wish I had known about this sooner. I already planted my flowers. Could the Epson salt be mixed with sugar and water and poured around each plant?

  • MEC Says:
    July 4th, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Hi, I was wondering if epsom salt accomplishes the same task as bone meal, or if epsom salt is recommended for some specific reason? Indeed, I wonder if I should add both to soil for more robust peppers & tomatoes? thanks!

  • BJ Says:
    July 3rd, 2015 at 1:07 am

    Will this work on potted plants? I tried it and it didn’t seem to work. If it is supposed to work, then how do I do it right?

  • seidu Says:
    June 24th, 2015 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for the tip on the virtue of Epsom salt on plants. However, where could one purchase Epsom salt?

  • anne fenske Says:
    June 11th, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I planted good size lisianthus, but they are all wilting badly. I used epsom salt(1T to 1Gal) about 1 cup full recently; could this be the cause of wilt? Have transplanted in fresh soil to see what happens. Love these, always plant. Would like to know what I did wrong for future plants. Thanks

  • Connie Cruse Says:
    May 16th, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Will epsom salt help cucumbers once growth has started. What about house plants?

  • marge Says:
    December 28th, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I live in the desert and am very limited on space but do have a lovely raised flower garden, which is made up of mostly Amaryllis. Last Jan I had 48 large red blooms. Would Epsom salts benifit my garden and if so how would I apply it???? Thank you so much for any advice you may send.

  • Valerie Says:
    July 15th, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Does it work well with a pumpkin plant?

  • kanella Mitropoulos Says:
    June 27th, 2014 at 1:02 am

    Does this work for blueberry plants too? Because I heard sulfur is good for them.

  • Billy McCormick Says:
    May 30th, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Going to try this!!

  • Eve Says:
    April 26th, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    You don’t put it on Them but under and around them. I wash off my leaves so none gets or stays on the leaves. Works for me anyway. I use a soft water wand stream to wash it off. Hope this helps it did make mine look healthier in a few days.

  • joe silva Says:
    April 21st, 2014 at 9:35 am

    tried using epsom salt on our roses and it nearly killed them. Used 1 tbsp per gallon of water. my wife got furious and it took the rest of summer to get them looking healthy again. what went wrong.

  • betty Says:
    January 28th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    if your foliage is yellow in the fall most likely iron deficient if in the summer or warm weather its a nitrogen deficiency cool iron warm nitrogen

  • ROBERT Says:
    November 26th, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Will Epsom salt work cucumber plants,mine seem to start to brown around
    The edge of the leaf,after about two months of growth,know matter how much you water the plants.

  • Nancy Says:
    August 29th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    I bought 3 blueberry bushes, actually they are 1 stem each. They started growing more extentions, thw soil I used is organic soil from a store, some of the leaves are reddish brown, I used some epsom salts and that seemed to stop, I live in Pensacola , Fl, so why are they not growing more, I was Lso told not to fertilize till they are a year old, is that right?

    Thank you

  • kavita Says:
    June 7th, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    my eggplants flowers are getting dry and falling off.what should i do.

  • Lisa Says:
    March 27th, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Would this benefit Strawberries, Rasberries and Blueberries?
    Thank You!

  • Ms B Says:
    March 19th, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    This is definitely a workable solution to my tomato and peppers gardening. Thank you.

  • Marilyn B Chinnery Says:
    February 22nd, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks for the info. This exactly what I’m looking for. Right now my plants have that yellow hue that you mentioned and I was wondering what nutrient they were missing. Very, Very interesting and good advice

  • Zoe Belle Says:
    September 25th, 2012 at 10:39 am

    thanks, I never thought about using it this way

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How to Fertilize Plants with Epsom Salts