The gardening world is full of rumors and half-truths that are passed on through word of mouth. While the internet makes it easier to find information, sorting fact from fiction can be quite the task.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is actually the name of a chemical compound, magnesium sulfate, that has a wide range of uses in both the garden and in industry. From its ability to kill pests to its use as a cleaning agent, magnesium sulfate is one of the most versatile natural chemicals out there.
This advice is often applied to tomatoes in particular, as they are known as magnesium-hungry plants. But, does Epsom salt deliver on these many promises?
Does it do more harm than good to your tomatoes?
Below we outline 4 Things Epsom Salt can do For Tomato Plants
Plus, we’ll look at some myths and misconceptions about Epsom salt.
So, let’s start by looking at what Epsom Salt Can Do For Tomato Plants.
1. Fix yellowing leaves
Tomato gardeners are usually more concerned about how to keep their tomato plants healthy and strong. Yellow leaves, however, is usually a sign that you need to check on your plants.
One of these problems with an easy fix is a magnesium deficiency.
Tomatoes that are deficient in magnesium will exhibit symptoms that include yellowing leaves and distinctive green veins.
This is a common condition in plants that causes them to lose their vibrant green coloration. If you don’t add magnesium to your fertilizer, you may not be able to grow healthy plants. Magnesium is an essential part of chlorophyll production in plants.
Epsom salt is a natural source of magnesium that can be used in a number of ways. Mix with a gallon of water to quickly treat a plant with magnesium deficiency and restore the health of your plants.
Spray with a hose, mist with a fogger, use a sprinkler or just let the sun do its thing. In fact, many trees actually prefer to be sprayed while they’re in the shade rather than being subjected to sunlight.
2. Improve nutrient uptake
A shortage of certain trace minerals, especially magnesium and sulfur, can cause plants stress which limits the uptake of other vital nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. This impacts growth and reproduction, ultimately resulting in yield losses.
Harvesting tomato plants is not easy, especially when it comes to harvesting the best fruits. It takes time to care for tomato plants and grow them until the right fruit is ready.
When you don’t have the right ingredients, your plants will not thrive. The application of Epsom salt in micronutrient deficient soil can improve the uptake and use of these other important nutrients, improving the overall health of your plants.
When using a fertilizer, apply the salt to the soil before planting. It will help the plants absorb the fertilizer better and make the nutrients available for plant growth.
3. Improve flavor of Your Tomatoes
When you plant tomato seeds you want to make sure that they get enough nutrients from the fertilizer to help them grow. But don’t forget that there is such a thing as over-fertilizing, which could result in some unpleasantly strong flavor in the fruit.
Magnesium is an essential mineral in plants and animals. While humans require much less than what plants need, it’s still an important part of a healthy diet.
Sulfur is another essential plant mineral, and is vital to the health of your plants.
Magnesium sulfate is used as an agricultural nutrient. It is used to help the soil retain water and to help tomatoes retain their vitamin C.
If you are worried about having tomato plants die in the winter, sprinkle Epsom salts on the soil.
4. Improve growth of Your Tomatoes
If you want to produce a healthy harvest of tomatoes, you must supply your tomato plants with all the vitamins and nutrients they need.
When you lack certain nutrients, your plants will not grow correctly and will experience several problems. In particular, magnesium can cause your plants to exhibit several negative effects such as stunted growth.
Even in perfect lighting conditions, a plant with less chlorophyll will not be able to process the extra sunlight and turn it into chemical energy.
Using Epsom salts on your tomato plants may restore lost micronutrient levels in your soil, improving the overall quality of your tomato plants and increasing their fruit production.
The benefits of using Epsom salt with your tomato plants come with a caveat – the soil must be deficient in magnesium.
These benefits can only occur when your tomatoes are deficient in magnesium, and you’re using Epsom salt to restore magnesium levels.
A plant’s natural requirement for magnesium is usually about one half to one third of the level that it can obtain from its soil.
Excess applications of magnesium should be avoided because it can damage the plant, and it is unlikely to be of any benefit in excess.
Research shows that using too much Epsom salt can be harmful to the plants and soil. If you use too much Epsom salt, it can become a pollutant and can affect the environment.
Epsom salt is often the first recommendation when it comes to managing magnesium deficiencies.
However, if your garden is showing symptoms of a magnesium deficiency such as leaf yellowing and stunted growth, a soil test may be a better alternative.
That being said, while these benefits are real and have a basis in reality when a magnesium deficiency is present, there are some claims that remain firmly in the realm of fiction.
In conclusion, the use of epsom salt to promote the growth of tomato plants is a simple and natural way to improve the overall health of your plants.
The benefits of using epsom salt include promoting healthy soil, boosting plant growth, and reducing the risk of disease. Epson salt is also useful in cleaning aquariums and fish tanks. It’s a natural, non-toxic, and biodegradable substance that has a wide variety of uses.
What Epsom Salt Can’t Do For Tomato Plants
Epsom salt is a popular choice for gardeners. It’s an all-natural, inexpensive fertilizer that’s great for plants and fish. It’s also very effective at helping to clean the water. But what if your plants aren’t getting the nutrition they need from Epsom salt?
It’s true that Epsom salt is very similar to magnesium sulfate. Magnesium sulfate is the compound used in Epsom salt.
1. Prevent Blossom End Rot
Blossom end rot is a disease that occurs when there is not enough calcium in the soil. The lack of calcium leads to an inability of the plant to properly maintain its stem cells. This causes the fruit to grow with no end.
Gardeners will try just about anything to resolve the problem of blossom end rot, including Epsom salt. However, blossom end rot usually has nothing to do with the soil or the magnesium in it.
Blossom end rot (BER) is a common root rot in corn that occurs during the rapid cell division in young roots, resulting in lesions, shriveling and premature senescence of the roots.
To make matters worse, the application of Epsom salt to plants afflicted by blossom end rot can actually make the problem more severe.
If the plant absorbs more magnesium than calcium, it will compete for absorption sites in the roots and absorb even less calcium.
When you’re struggling to solve a problem, and that problem has to do with your food, it’s usually best to try to find the root of the problem instead of focusing on how to correct it.
2. Stop Pests Eating your Tomatoes
With hundreds of different ways to get rid of pests, there’s no way to tell which one will work for you. And even if you find the one that works, it’s not likely to be effective immediately.
Some of the claims might work, but not all of them. The claim that Epsom salt is good for insect control is one that has absolutely no evidence to support it. It is the type of claim that is backed by an ad agency or company that sells the stuff.
If you’re looking to control a specific kind of pest, the best option is probably to use a product that’s been approved by the EPA or other regulatory body.
3. Feed plants adequately
Epsom salts are commonly recommended as a tomato fertilizer because it contain a high magnesium content. It sounds like a good idea on the surface, but it fails to consider two related factors.
It is important to understand that even though magnesium is a micronutrient, tomato plants can still survive on a diet with no magnesium. In fact, they can also survive on a diet containing too much magnesium.
Fertilizer plays a vital role in the growth of a crop. It allows us to control the amount of nutrients a plant needs to grow and reach maturity. The four main categories of fertilizers are:
Magnesium and sulfur alone will not provide your tomato plants with enough nutrients to be used as a complete fertilizer.
But in actuality, general fertilizers are not that useful for most plants.
4. Help Aid tomato seed Germination
The best way to grow great tomatoes is with organic soil, organic seeds, organic fertilizer, and natural sunlight. It’s that simple.
Adding any extra nutrients to the soil will be useless – they won’t affect what’s already inside. When transplanting a seedling into magnesium-deficient soil, adding Epsom salt in the planting hole may help fix the soil deficiency.
But when a seed is germinating, it requires no nutrient help from us to grow.
Frequently Asked Questions About Epson Salt for Tomato Plants
Q: When should you put Epsom salt on tomato plants?
A: For a two-foot-tall tomato plant, feeding it two tablespoons of Epsom salt every month is ideal. On the fifteenth and the 30th of each month are appropriate dates. For other plants, the general rule is every six weeks.
Q: Can you put too much Epsom salt on tomato plants?
If you over-fertilize your tomatoes, they can get a fungal disease called blossom end rot. This can be due to calcium or magnesium competition for uptake in the plant.
Too much calcium and magnesium is bad, but too little is also bad because of a lack of the right nutrients.