Epsom Salt for Plants: What is Epsom Salt And How to Use it?

Last Update: August 8th, 2019   

Epsom Salt for Plants - Featured

For hundreds of years, Epsom salt has served multiple purposes in the home and garden. Magnesium sulfate, or Epsom salt, is a natural mineral compound first discovered in the well waters of Epsom, England. It has proven to be an invaluable and highly versatile compound. From tomato fertilizer, to weed killer, to foot baths, to hair volumizing, Epsom salt has remained a tried-and-true resource for hundreds of years. This time we discuss the main uses of Epsom salt for plants.

What is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt is crystalized magnesium sulfate containing 10% magnesium and 13% sulfur. An inorganic salt, it is also known as the heptahydrate sulfate mineral Epsomite. It is estimated that nearly 3 million tons of Epsom salt is used globally for medicinal and agricultural purposes. Epsom salt is both odorless and water soluble, making it a convenient resource for a variety of uses. 

Its properties are important for seed germination and the creation of chlorophyll, which is necessary to the process of photosynthesis. Using Epsom salt for plants strengthens the plant’s cell walls and improves the absorption of vitamins, enzymes, and proteins.

Uses for Epsom Salt

Epsom salt can be a great resource for growing healthy lawns and gardens. It enhances plant and grass color to a vibrant green, encourages floral blooms, and can make plants full and lush. 

The magnesium present in Epsom salt enables plants to better absorb important nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. It also stimulates the production of chlorophyll, which gives plants their bright green hues and is an important element in photosynthesis. 

Any soil depleted of magnesium will benefit from the addition of Epsom salt for plants. Perhaps the greatest advantage of using Epsom salt is that it is completely safe to use in lawns and gardens that are shared with pets and kids. 

It is also a non-toxic fertilizer for plants. Many commercial fertilizers are dangerous when consumed by pets and people, so Epsom salt provides a great alternative to dangerous chemicals.

How to Use Epsom Salt in the Garden?

Epsom salt uses in the garden are broad and versatile. Before applying Epsom salt to garden soil, it may be a good idea to test the soil’s magnesium levels. If magnesium levels are low, the soil is an excellent candidate for Epsom salt. Many plants, however, require high levels of magnesium to flourish, so the more magnesium, the better! Plants such as roses, tomatoes, peppers, beans, and leafy vegetables will most likely benefit from the addition of Epsom salt. 

For this home remedy, simply dilute the Epsom salt with water and apply it to the plants leaves using a spray bottle. Mix 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to every gallon of water and pour it into the spray bottle. Mist plants with the solution. The diluted Epsom salt is easily absorbed by magnesium-hungry plants.

Plants that Love Epsom Salt

Magnesium rich vegetables come from plants that require a lot of magnesium to survive and thrive. These plants will benefit from Epsom salt, whether the soil around it is low in magnesium or not. Here are some ideas of how to use Epsom salt for plants. 

Green Vegetables

Vegetables such as green beans, peas, spinach, and green peppers all produce higher yields when they are fed plenty of magnesium. With Epsom salt for green vegetables they will produce greener leaves and more veggies at harvest time.

Epsom Salt for Tomatoes

One of the most popular uses for Epsom salt is are for fertilizing tomatoes. It can keep the plants greener and full, as well as help produce high yields, even in late summer. Using Epsom salt for tomato plants also produces healthier fruit and reduces blossom-end rot.

Epsom Salt for Cucumbers

Mid-season, cucumber plants often start to yellow and look withered. Epsom salt gives cucumbers the boost they need to finish the season strong. It will replenish their magnesium levels, add some life and green color back to the leaves, and start producing healthy fruit again.

Epsom Salt for Azalea


Azaleas are popular flowers that can benefit from an extra dose of magnesium via Epsom salt from time to time. Apply 1 tablespoon for every 9 square feet around the root zone every couple of weeks to help them produce more blooms and keep its leaves from yellowing.

Epsom Salt for Roses

When Epsom salts are applied to rose soil, it will help produce more canes at the bottom of the plant and a richer shade of green in its foliage. Applying Epsom salt for roses regularly enables the flowers to absorb more sunlight and produce beautiful blooms.

Palm Trees

Epsom Salt for Palm Trees
Every few months, Epsom salt can be applied evenly around the root area of palm trees to keep their leaves dense and green. 

Read our specific Epsom Salt for Palm Trees guide to learn more!

Fruit Trees

Fruit trees often have long growing seasons and can be taxing on the tree. Mid-season, it is not uncommon for magnesium levels to start to drop. Spraying Epsom salt diluted with water around the root zone can give the fruit tree an extra boost of Magnesium to help it continue to produce healthy fruit.

Various Other Uses of Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt Weed Killer

Using Epsom salt for plants is versatile. It is amazing that a mineral can be used as both a fertilizer for plants we want to nurture, and an eliminator for weeds we want to get rid of. But that is exactly what Epsom salt does! Of course, only when you forgot to install weed barriers.

To mix up a safe, non-toxic weed-killing concoction, do the following:

  1. Combine 1 gallon of white vinegar, 2 cups of Epsom salt, and ¼ cup of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Mix the solution and apply it to weeds in the morning. Optionally, use a backpack sprayer for easy delivery.
  3. Make sure any morning dew has evaporated, as the water from the dew will act as a barrier to the mixture.
  4. In less than 24 hours, the weeds will wither away and die.

Tree Stump Removal with Epsom Salt

In addition to fertilizing plants and killing weeds, high doses of Epsom salt can also kill tree stumps. Professional stump removal can be time consuming and expensive. Buying all the tools to fell trees and then kill the tree stump might also be costly, yet alone a lot of work. Utilizing Epsom salt is a cost-effective option that can be accomplished for just dollars. 

To remove a tree stump using Epsom salt, find the instructions below:

  1. Drill several 8-inch holes into the stump using a ½-inch drill bit.
  2. Space the holes out about one inch, starting three inches from the outer edges of the stump.
  3. Pour Epsom salt directly into the holes, then moisten the crystals by pouring a few tablespoons of water into the holes.
  4. Leave the Epsom salt overnight. It will function as a dehydrating agent that travels through the tree’s roots, which causes the stump to decompose.

Generally, the larger the stump, the longer it will take for the stump to die. It may be necessary to re-apply Epsom salt to the stump every few weeks until the stump dries out and dies.

Pest Repellent

We have discussed earlier how to get rid of pests like rats and cockroaches in a traditional way. Unfortunately, these animals can be regular problems around the house. Even snakes might make you wonder to stay in the house instead of enjoying the outdoors.

Applying Epsom salt to plants and soil can also help keep away pests. 

  • Mixing 1 cup of Epsom salt with 5 gallons of water may help deter some beetles and other types of garden insects.
  • Mix it in a large bucket and apply it with a pump sprayer.

In addition to keeping bugs away, it may also kill some of them on contact.

Landscaping and Gardening with Epsom Salt

There are other general uses for Epsom salts when landscaping or planting a garden. Incorporate Epsom salt into garden soil before planting: 

  • Usually one cup for every 100 square feet is enough.
  • Work it into the soil using a garden tiller or hoe.
  • For seedlings, sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt into the hole and cover it with a thin layer of soil before placing the seedling in the hole.
  • When plants need a boost throughout their growing season, dissolve 1 to 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a gallon of water and pour it at the base of the plant. This will allow the solution to soak into the ground and then be absorbed by the plant.
Epsom Salt for Hair and Other Uses at Home

More Ways to Use Epsom Salt at Home

In addition to the lawn and garden, there are many other uses for Epsom salt around the house. From hygiene to medicinal purposes, this highly versatile compound is handy for many different dilemmas.

Epsom Salt for Hair

Epsom salt can be a great hair volumizer. Sprinkle in some Epsom salt crystals with a bottle of conditioner. After shampooing, this can help absorb excess oil that can weigh down the hair and make it look flat. 

For best results, try to mix equal parts Epsom salt and conditioner and leave it in the hair for 20 minutes before rinsing. 

To treat extra oily hair, add 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a bottle of shampoo. Wash hair with this soapy, salty concoction to exfoliate the scalp and clean those extra-oily patches.

Epsom Salt for Bath

Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a great way to relieve soreness from joints and muscles after a long day at work or after working away in the garden. Epsom salt baths help our bodies absorb the magnesium we need to function at optimal levels. 

Magnesium deficiencies can cause stress, insomnia, high blood pressure, poor muscle control, lethargy, impaired memory, and even seizures. 

Taking a warm bath with a few tablespoons of Epsom salt can act as a detox to strengthen the immune system, relieve muscle tension, reduce inflammation, and promote a more restful sleep. 

Epsom salt benefits can also be incorporated into the shower.

  1. Add ¼ cups of olive oil and Epsom salt to make a paste.
  2. Scrub it over the body to both exfoliate and absorb the properties of the Epsom salt into the skin,
  3. Also, try making a warm compress with Epsom salt to help bruises and sore muscles.


In between baths and showers, consider just an Epsom salt foot bath.

Add ½ cups of Epsom salt to a foot bath to relieve aches, decrease inflammation, and improve circulation.

Epsom salt also contains anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties that can help with athlete’s foot, skin infections, toenail fungus, and minor wounds.

Epsom Salt for Sunburn

Epsom salt can also be used as a natural remedy for sunburn.

  1. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of water.
  2. Add the mixture to a spray bottle.
  3. Spray the solution directly to the affected area.
  4. The anti-inflammation properties reduce swelling and can make the skin feel more comfortable.


Epsom salt can also be used for treating and drying out acne problem areas.

  1. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt into lukewarm water.
  2. Apply it to the affected area with a cotton ball.
  3. Let the solution sit on the skin for a few minutes, or until the skin is dry.
  4. Rinse with warm water followed by cool water.

The Epsom salt can reduce inflammation and irritation, exfoliate dead skin that can clog pores, and dry out oily patches that can cause breakouts.

Epsom Salt for Yeast Infections

The anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties in Epsom salt can also be used to treat yeast infections. The chemical compounds in the salt can kill yeast. Just run a warm bath with a few cups of Epsom salt. Soak in the tub for 15 minutes three times a week, or until the yeast infection is resolved.

Epsom Salt on Dogs

In addition to plants and people, Epsom salt can also be beneficial for pets.

For pooches suffering from itchy or inflamed paws caused by allergies or other environmental factors, soak their feet in Epsom salt with warm water. If dogs are licking their paws too much in the winter months, soaking them in Epsom salt once a day can replenish the skin with moisture, as well as relieve itching. 

Just make sure the dog does not drink the water. Epsom salt can disrupt canine digestive systems.

Conclusion: Epsom Salt for Plants and Other Users

Magnesium sulfate is a remarkable natural substance that it invaluable to individuals and their homes and gardens. Utilizing it as both a fertilizer and weed killer is a wise, healthy option as it is both non-toxic and affordable. 

Its value in the garden make it an important staple for the garden shed, and its many medicinal uses make it a staple in the medicine cabinet, as well. 

Epsom salt remains one of the best resources for healthy bodies and healthy gardens.