Will Epsom Salt Kill Plants? Read This First!

There are many people who have gardens or have been gardening for either a long time or a short time and believe that adding Epsom salt to the soil in their garden will make their plants grow better. Most of the time they just think it works but there is no scientific evidence that this is true. So does Epsom salt really kill plants?

Epsom salt doesn’t necessarily kill plants, however, it can cause soil nutrient imbalances, and can cause substantial injury to plants and to the environment. I wouldn’t advise you to use Epsom salt in your garden unless you want your plants to grow terribly, it will have negative effects on them.

It’s a popular notion that Epsom salt will help tomatoes grow without Blossom End Rot but actually, it can cause more Blossom End Rot because the magnesium in the Epsom salt can keep Calcium from going up into the tomato plant and without Calcium being sent throughout the whole plant Blossom End Rot begins to form.

I’ve heard people say that Epsom salt can help flowers grow, but from my own experience with gardening for the past 14 years I’ve come to learn about what flowers need to grow and I know that flowers do not rely on magnesium or sulfur in order to grow therefore since Epsom salt that is made up of magnesium really won’t help flower production. To find out more about what Epsom salt can be used for and what it does to plants keep reading below.

Can I sprinkle Epsom Salt Around My Plants?

As I already mentioned putting Epsom salt in the soil around your plants can have very negative effects on your plants. Not only your plants but Epsom salt is water soluble which means it can easily be washed away into other parts of the environment.

And can get into waterways becoming a pollutant and contaminant. There are a lot of nutrient-packed mulch and fertilizers you can use to get the results you are looking for.

Does Epsom Salt Kill Fungus On Plants?

There are a lot of different species of fungi that can infest plants. These fungi can rob nutrients from plants which can cause the plant to bloom less often and make it weaker. Blackspot and apple scab are just two examples of fungi that can affect plants.

There was a study done at the Washington State University Puyallup Research and Extension Center about whether or not Epsom salt kills fungus on plants. The reports say that Epsom salts have no real effect on apple scabs or other mildews on plants.

Does Epsom Salt Improve Seed germination?

Actually, seeds don’t need any extra nutrition and they contain enough minerals to be able to begin root growth by just putting them on a moist paper towel. If you add Epsom salt to your seeds the only result you will get is hindered growth that restricts any kind of healthy growth.

Does Epsom Salt Burn Plant Roots?

Using Epsom salt on plants or in the soil can cause nutrient imbalances that can lead to stunted growth, dark foliage, and burned roots. It can also make it harder for your plants to absorb enough calcium which is something that they absolutely have to have in order to grow and be healthy.

Epsom salt bath

 Can You Use Epsom Salt to Help Houseplants Grow?

Houseplants aren’t as better off as garden plants because they don’t get to absorb extra nutrients from the soil of the earth beneath them. They are only given so much soil to live in and they tend to need extra love and care to stay healthy. If you add a balanced fertilizer that has the necessary macro and micronutrients and then add Epsom salt to your houseplants it will cause a build-up.

Since the plants are confined to a pot the Epsom salts can’t be washed away like it can when it’s in the soil outside in the elements.

So What Does Epsom Salt Do To Your Garden?

The overuse of Epsom salt or better known as magnesium sulfate has been linked to the reduction of root colonization of beneficial microbes. Some of those microbes include nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

And if there are excessive amounts of soil magnesium it can release aluminum from the Earth’s soil which causes toxic metal to be available to plants and even aquatic systems. And if humans consume those plants it can have negative effects on our health. 

In order to avoid such magnesium toxicity the Calcium within the soil has to be at least 10 times higher than the amount of magnesium that is present. However, the fact that Epsom salt is highly soluble means it doesn’t tend to stick around for too long. But it can still be swept away into other parts of the environment so this isn’t a good enough reason to use it in your garden.

Why I don’t Personally Use Epsom Salt in my Garden

I’ve been gardening long enough to know what works and what doesn’t. Gardening doesn’t have to be so complicated unless you make it that way. And if you’re not eager to test your soil in your garden to see what nutrients it is lacking then you can do a lot of harm to your garden than good. Because if your garden in fact doesn’t need any magnesium, adding Epsom salt to the soil can be detrimental.

I have tried Epsom salt, I read on social media when I was just starting to garden at home that Epsom salt helped tomato plants grow and reduce the chances of Blossom End Rot. But boy was that post inaccurate. I didn’t do any tests on the soil and just added it to the soil, sprinkling it around the stock of the plant and on the soil.

My results were devastating, my tomato plants slumped over and the Blossom End Rot just ate away at my plants. And ever since I read about the risks to the environment I vowed to never use Epsom salt again. It’s not worth putting wildlife, the environment, our health, and so much more at risk.

There are plenty of fertilizers that can be purchased at a good price that will actually help your plants grow. You don’t need to rely on home remedies, if it doesn’t belong on the ground out in the environment you should avoid placing it there. We want to be a part of the solution, not the problem. 

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