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We’re all familiar with Epsom salt as a health and beauty product, but what about a product for plants? Epsom salt has surprisingly positive effects on most plants, including succulents. To learn how you can use Epsom salt with your succulents, check below!
Before we get into how to use Epsom salts, let’s go over what exactly Epsom salt is. Epsom salt is one of the few naturally-occurring mineral salts and is composed of Magnesium Sulfate. Unlike table salt (Sodium Chloride), Epsom salts taste bitter and aren’t for eating. Instead, it’s used for pain relief or stress relief in medicine. Used for centuries as traditional medicine, doctors still recommend Epsom salt as an alternative to frequently using painkillers.
Epsom salt works a bit differently for plants: the Magnesium Sulfate in the salt can help plants bloom, grow larger, and appear more vibrant. All plants, including succulents, rely on the element magnesium to aid in absorbing key nutrients from the soil. Soil with low magnesium can stifle your plant’s growth simply because the plant can’t absorb the necessary minerals it needs. Magnesium can also help plants photosynthesize by sending critical nutrients to the plant’s chloroplasts.
There are many uses for Epsom salt in the garden, so we’ve compiled a few of our favorites for use with your succulents:
Salt is a natural pest repellent that works wonders against snails and slugs. As a natural slug-killer, you can sprinkle pure Epsom salt on or around your succulents to kill or deter any curious gastropods. Like spreading diatomaceous earth or hydrogen peroxide on your soil, treat for snails and slugs like you would for fungal gnats: by sprinkling a thin layer of Epsom salt on the soil around your succulents.
Epsom salt works wonders as a fertilizer during the growing season and can help keep your succulents looking lush and beautiful for a long while. In addition, using an Epsom salt fertilizer is a great way to help encourage blooming in many succulents. To make an Epsom salt fertilizer, you’ll need just a pinch of pure Epsom salt and a cup of distilled water. Since salt is soluble, you can dissolve Epsom salt grains in water just by stirring it in. To ensure everything dissolves fully, consider using hot water while you mix, then letting the water cool to room temperature before you water your succulents.
Transplant shock is a frustrating process, and there aren’t too many ways to avoid it or make things smoother (that’s why we recommend repotting during the growing season). However, you can use Epsom salt as a means of helping your succulents through transplant shock by increasing your soil’s magnesium content. With more magnesium in the soil, your succulent will easily absorb the nutrients it needs to recover from the transplant.
Using your Epsom salt solution, add a little water into your soil and let it dry before transplanting your succulent.
Before you begin to throw salt everywhere, there are a few things to keep in mind:
If you grow your succulents in pots, their soil environment is more controlled than if you grow them in the ground. With a compact growing space, you won’t need to fertilize or spread pest repellent around as much for potted succulents. However, for outdoor succulents planted in the ground, it’s good to have a larger area covered with the same type of soil to avoid any potential gaps in drainage. Thus, you may have to spread your fertilizer a bit more than you would for a potted succulent.
Your soil may already have enough magnesium in it, and in that case, Epsom salt won’t do much of anything. Before you water or fertilize your succulents with Epsom salt, test your soil’s magnesium content to see if it needs an extra boost. Magnesium tests are also a great way to troubleshoot if your plants aren’t growing to their full potential!
Succulents are hardy, but changes to their internal environment may cause stress and affect growth, and excess Epsom salt can dry out your plants, causing them to become underwatered. Only use a little salt to get the best results for your succulents. To prevent using too much, make sure you’re only using a pinch of salt per cup of water when you make your Epsom salt solution. You can also water down the solution further by mixing a few drops into your watering bottle before you water your plants.