But what is the right care? And what can you do if you have already taken all the usual measures to save your plants, but none of them help?
Many plant owners are very creative when it comes to the care of their leafy friends.
Some, for instance, swear by the fact that human hair helps their houseplants.
Others see their houseplants as real conversation partners and talk to them as if they were their pets.
And then there are those who administer Epsom salt to their houseplants to bring them back to health.
And this is exactly the topic of today’s article: Epsom salts as a miracle cure for houseplants.
Epsom salt & houseplants
The basic question of this article is to answer the question of whether it makes sense to administer Epsom salts to your houseplants and if so, why this is so.
And the answer is: Yes, it does make sense, but not always.
So when does it make sense to administer Epsom salts to your houseplants and why does Epsom salt even have a positive effect on houseplants?
Magnesium and sulfur play an important role in houseplants and healthy plant growth can only be guaranteed if the plants have an adequate amount of both of these substances.
And what does all this have to do with Epsom salt?
Very simple: Epsom salt contains both magnesium and sulfur and can, therefore, be useful for houseplants precisely when they have a deficit in either magnesium or sulfur (or both).
Magnesium deficiency in your houseplants
As we have just seen, Epsom salt can be used as a fertilizer because Epsom salt contains magnesium, which in turn is an important component of proper fertilizer.
But this obviously all begs the question:
How can you even tell whether a plant is suffering from magnesium deficiency?
And this brings us to the next paragrapH.
How to recognize magnesium deficiency in your houseplants
As magnesium deficiency is a detrimental plant disorder and will, in many cases, seriously harm your plant, it is important to know how you can recognize such a deficiency in your houseplants.
Magnesium is an important macronutrient for your plant and it is absolutely crucial to ensure healthy plant growth.
So how to find out if your plant suffers from a lack of magnesium now?
More often than not, the first sign of magnesium deficiency in houseplants is the loss of the normal green coloration of leaves of your houseplant. This process is often called chlorosis.
So the main symptom of magnesium deficiency is actually yellowing between the veins of the leaves.
However, recognizing magnesium deficiency in plants is by no means easy, as other plant disorders and deficiencies display similar symptoms.
Simply put: Yellowing leaves could be due to various plant disorders; it does not necessarily mean that your plant is suffering from magnesium deficiency.
Epsom salt as a sulfur fertilizer
Not only can Epsom salt be used as a magnesium fertilizer but also as a sulfur fertilizer.
Sulfur, just as magnesium is an important element for healthy plant growth as well.
Luckily, our Epsom salt is both high in magnesium and also sulfur.
Recognizing sulfur deficiency in your houseplants
This is where things get a little bit complicated. Because sulfur deficiency displays very similar symptoms as magnesium deficiency and also nitrogen deficiency.
So, if you are not an expert, you will want to keep a close eye on your houseplants and the development of these deficiencies, to make sure that your identification of the problem is accurate.
Earlier on in this article, we have seen that a deficiency in magnesium is revealed by yellowing between the veins of the leaves.
Sulfur deficiency, on the other hand, can usually be recognized by a light green discoloration of the leaves.
It is important to note here that at the beginning stages of sulfur deficiency, the youngest leaves of your houseplant will be affected and will turn lighter in color and only then, over time, the older leaves of the plant will exhibit a similar symptom, thus turning lighter in color as well (lighter green).
However, a sulfur deficiency is a process that exhibits many stages and, therefore, can only be detected properly if you regularly inspect your houseplants.
At the later stages, houseplants that suffer from sulfur deficiency will feature deep yellow leaves. So the leaves that once were lighter green will then be yellow.
And that can be confusing because, at this point, the symptoms very much resemble the symptoms of magnesium deficiency in houseplants.
However, it should be mentioned at this point that sulfur deficiency is significantly less common in plants than magnesium deficiency.
And then, there is also nitrogen deficiency, which, too, shows pretty similar symptoms to both sulfur deficiency and magnesium deficiency.
However, we are saving the topic of nitrogen deficiency for another article.
How do you administer Epsom salt to your houseplants?
Epsom salt has the advantage that it is very soluble in water.
You can, therefore, dilute Epsom salt with water and administer it to your plants in this way.
But how do you administer it properly?
A bulletproof way to supply your houseplants with Epsom salt is to add Epsom salt as a solution of about 25 grams (per liter) to the soil of your houseplant.
Epsom salt does not necessarily have to be diluted with water, however, as it can also be added directly into the soil.
However, you can also spray Epsom salt directly onto the leaves of your plant. To do so, just follow these simple steps here:
Spray it on the leaves of houseplants
- Dissolve one tablespoon of Epsom salt in one liter of water
- Pour the solution into a suitable spray bottle
- Then spray the leaves of your houseplants evenly
Using Epsom salt as a leaf fertilizer is definitely also a good option because the houseplants can also absorb and process the minerals in this way very well and, depending on the situation, even faster than by fertilizing the soil with Epson salt.
But Epsom salt is not the only way to treat magnesium deficiency in houseplants.
Other remedies include dolomitic limestone. Dolomitic limestone, just as Epson salt, can be added to the soil, just as Epsom salt.
What exactly happens when you use Epsom salt for your houseplants?
If your plants do indeed have a magnesium or sulfur deficiency and you are now administering Epsom salt, then you naturally want to ensure that this deficiency can be remedied.
But what exactly happens during this process?
If you administer Epsom salts to your plants or plant soil, this leads to a reduction in the pH value of the soil.
Now it is the case that your plants can only absorb this magnesium from the Epsom salts well if the pH value is within a certain range.
A low pH value is ideal (6 to 8 = perfect range).
However, the pH value must not be below 6, because then your plant can no longer absorb the magnesium at all and you can then fertilize as much as you like, the plant will not receive the substance.
Okay. Now, we’ve got one question out of the way, but we’ve already provoked the next question.
How can I even check the pH value of the soil?
The pH value of the plant soil can easily be checked with a pH meter. You can simply plug this meter into the soil and then take the pH value from the meter.
You might want to go for a so-called soil meter. Many of these soil meters do offer a 3-in-1 functionality and will help you to maintain the right light, moisture and pH levels.
Maintaining the right soil pH level is absolutely crucial for your houseplant. If the soil is either too acidic or too alkaline, your plant might be in deep trouble and more at risk for certain pests & viruses.
Epsom salt in universal fertilizers
As described in detail in this article, Epsom salt can be used in a targeted manner precisely when there is a magnesium or sulfur deficiency in your houseplants.
However, you should also know that magnesium and sulfur are already an integral part of many universal fertilizers. The additional administration of Epsom salt may, therefore, not be necessary.
Where can you buy Epsom salt?
So, where do you get this miracle salt so that you can then administer this miracle cure to your houseplants at home?
If you would like to buy Epsom salt on the Internet, the answer, as so often, is Amazon. Here you will find Epsom salt in all sizes and varieties.
What else can Epsom salt be used for?
There are various applications for Epsom salt. This is not really surprising, as it contains, as we have seen earlier, the important substances magnesium and sulfur. And these substances are not only needed by plants, but also by humans.
In fact, Epsom salt is a true miracle cure for humans as well. For example, Epsom salts can be used to treat skin blemishes on the face and also on the body.
An Epsom salts bath, on the other hand, can help with sore muscles because thanks to the magnesium, it helps you to relax.
But not only the magnesium of the Epsom salt works wonders because the sulfate can also have a positive effect on humans. It helps, for example, to stimulate the pancreas and thus helps to initiate the detoxification of our body.
Epsom salt as a miracle cure for houseplants FAQ
Is Epsom salt the same as Magnesium Sulfate?
Absolutely. Magnesium sulfate is actually the chemical name of Epsom salt.
What nutrients does Epsom salt provide as a plant fertilizer?
As a plant fertilizer, Epsom salt provides the nutrients magnesium and sulfur. No more, but also no less.
What does the addition “USP” mean on Epsom salt products?
Whenever you find USP or USP grade on an Epsom salt product, this simply means that you are dealing with a high-quality Epsom salt, namely an Epsom salt that meets or exceeds the requirements of the United States pHarmacopeia (USP).
What does magnesium do in houseplants?
Magnesium is an important building block for chloropHyll. ChloropHyll is the molecule that absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to synthesize carbohydrates from CO2 and water. This process is known as pHotosynthesis and is the basis for sustaining the life processes of all plants. Without going too much into detail here, it is also not wrong to say that magnesium helps to keep green plants, well, green.
How much does Epsom salt cost?
Epsom salt is pretty cheap. You can get a kilogram of Epsom salt for about 6 to 10 dollars.
Can I also just use Epsom salt as fertilizer?
Epsom salt is used to specifically combat magnesium or sulfur deficiency in plants. The use of Epsom salt is, therefore, very one-sided. As a rule, you should also use a regular houseplant fertilizer for your houseplants.
For which type of plants is Epsom salt particularly well suited?
Epsom salt is an excellent fertilizer for needle plants. But also other plants such as tomatoes or peppers like Epsom salt because they also need a lot of magnesium to stay healthy and thrive.
Is Epsom salt for houseplants controversial?
That’s fair to say. While some plant lovers swear by Epsom salts and achieve good results with them, others advise against using Epsom salts for plants at all. The use of Epsom salt is certainly not without problems and can only lead to good results if it is used correctly and above all for the right purpose. And the right purpose means first and foremost that there must be a magnesium deficiency in the plant. And such a deficiency can often only be detected by a thorough soil analysis. The right dosage is not easy either. And if too much Epsom salt is used, this can promote soil toxicity.
Taking care of houseplants and gardening are my greatest passions. I am transforming my apartment into an urban jungle and am growing veggies in my indoor and outdoor garden year-round.