Asked on May 09, 2013

Can Sugar and Epsom Salts Help Your Plants Grow?

Linda B
by Linda B
I've been researching sugar and Epsom Salts and I've come up with some positive explanations on how these two items help plants grow stronger.
According to what I've read sugar doesn't really feed the plant itself. It feeds the micro-organisms that live around the roots of the plant. It's these organisms that break down nutrients making it easier for the plant to absorb them.
Epsom Salts contain hydrated magnesium sulfate which are necessary for plant growth. Magnesium helps strengthen the plant's cell walls which aids in drawing up nutrients from the soil.
Since neither of these items are harmful I'm going to try them in my garden this year - both vegetables and flowers and will report back any outstanding results!
Does anyone know about these two common substances and how they might work on the garden?
Best wishes, Linda
  24 answers
  • Sandy valencour Sandy valencour on May 09, 2013
    My grandmother used Epsom salts on her Rhodies and azaleas every year. She had stunning flowers. Think she used it on her camilia also. THINK she sprinkled around the out side of the tree drip line. Looking at my own spindly Rhodes, think I will use some on mine. My azaleas look like sticks with a few blooms, no leaves!
    • Jerry Jerry on Jul 17, 2017

      Epsom salts helps to lower the Ph in the soil,which make your plants happy and healthy. Use with your our plant food as well.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on May 10, 2013
    Linda, you're exactly right about Epsom salts and magnesium. Here's one of the most comprehensive articles I've read about its use in the garden. Interesting to note that it is apparently more effective when used as a foliar spray: I think it's always best to do a soil test before you start adding minerals to the garden. If for some reason your soil already has an abundance of magnesium, you wouldn't really want to add more in the form of Epsom salts.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on May 10, 2013
    we learned the mnemonic CHOPKINS CAFE MIGHTY GOOD. In my biology classes this gals blog explains what it means
  • Gail Gail on May 12, 2013
    we tried Epsom Salts for the first time a few weeks ago........and what a surprise! Everything we put it on responded with increased foliage, extraordinary flowers, fewer pests! We sprayed the leaves and put some around the roots.....both. Wow! We recommend it wholeheartedly!
  • Janice Hall Janice Hall on May 12, 2013
    How much do you use?
  • Kim Lankford Kim Lankford on May 12, 2013
    are you all talking about using just the Epson Slats with no sugar? Interesting, living in South Florida I am learning a new bag of tricks to keep my flowers flowering. I am afraid that come the hot summer with the downpours I might be losing some of my plants !
  • Anita Wenzel Anita Wenzel on May 12, 2013
    I've been using epson salts on my carpet roses for years. Longer lasting and bigger blooms!
  • How much are you using of the Epsoms Salts? Are you mixing it with Water or just straight out of the package? Spraying it on or srating it into the soil,around teh stem or the drip line of plant? Thanks for any elp as I have a black thumb.
  • Chris Alcasas Deihl Chris Alcasas Deihl on May 12, 2013
    It also works great (Epson Salt) in the vegetable garden. My tomatoes and cucumbers love it.
  • Rachel Chandler Rachel Chandler on May 13, 2013
    Do u mix it with water and pour at roots or do u put it in the soil straight? And does it do good for herbs as well? Can I just use epsom salts or do I have to mix it with sugar?
  • Lanelle L Lanelle L on May 13, 2013
    I always put about a teaspoon of Epson Salt and about a half teaspoon of bone meal in the bottom of the holes I dig for my tomato plants. I mix it real good with the soil in the bottom then plant the tomato. I have not tried it in spray form, but may try it this year. It makes the stalks grow stronger and I always have plenty of tomatoes. Another tip....I always pinch out the suckers that come up at the leaves so the plant will be one main stalk. I also pinch off all but 2-3 of the blooms, which results in larger tomatoes because you don't have so many fighting for the nutrients.
  • Chris Alcasas Deihl Chris Alcasas Deihl on May 14, 2013
    Before I put my plants in the ground, I put 1/2 a handful of Epson Salt in the hole and then the plant, and yes they grow faster, heartier and more flavorful. Didn't believe it, so I tried 1 without, and the results were amazing. Yes...this works.
  • Sweet Inspirations by JP Sweet Inspirations by JP on May 14, 2013
    Great tip to try, Linda! Also, just letting you know that I linked to your party this week but, couldn't find the comment button or form to say hello and let you know that "I'm Back!" I have missed you and so-o many others very much! Hugs, JP
  • Gail Gail on May 15, 2013
    in answer to all the questions about application......... We mixed a generous tablespoon of Epsom Salts into a gallon of warm water. Stir until dissolved and spray on the foliage. Then about once a month we broadcast the powder on the ground around the plants (and lawn, too!)......water immediately and thoroughly. Sometimes we run outside and do it just as the rain starts!
  • Sandy valencour Sandy valencour on May 15, 2013
    Question, I have lilac trees that have NEVER grown in over 20 years. Very few blooms, if they bloom at all. I did not plant these, someone else did. They are in the only place the sun shines for any length of time. Would Epsom salts work on them? Any other ideas? I have no place to transplant due to shaded yard. I am open for ANY suggestions.
    • E. Joyce Huggins E. Joyce Huggins on Jul 17, 2017

      I had a lilac for years like you and someone told me it needed a mate so I added a second one and since they both bloom like crazy.

  • Jenny Jenny on Jun 26, 2013
    Another great tip! Thank you all.
  • JANIS S JANIS S on Aug 19, 2013
    I tired and it worked great How many times should I apply in season? I have read about baking soda also to sweeten tomatoes, what do you think?
  • Terry C Terry C on Aug 19, 2013
    I have used epsom salts for years on both my indoor and outdoor plants and bushes, they flourish great, big foliage and blooms and lasting blooms at that. Another great idea for gigantic blooms and foliage is 1 birth control tablet dissolved in a gallon of water, talking about gigantic....seriously it works.....
  • Linda Linda on Mar 30, 2014
    I have used epsom salt for years on my whole garden, and my house plants and it really helps the stalks get stronger like tomatoes and peppers and corn especially the stuff the wind blow over easily. I put some around my plants on the ground about every 2 wks and let the rain wash it in slowly. If you are not having much rain you can dissolve it and pour around.. My tomatoes and peppers will stand up without even caging. Growing will change amazingly. I also put in the holes when i plant just mix up. Fruit trees it is amazing to. GREAT STUFF!!
    • Linda B Linda B on Mar 30, 2014
      @Linda Thanks, Linda. I tried it but the jury is still out on it.
  • Jpiotrowski Jpiotrowski on Feb 16, 2017

    how much epsomsalt and sugar do you use to plant a seed

  • JudyH JudyH on Jul 17, 2017

    Epsom salt is also excellent for ferns too. One tablespoon to a gallon of water. Add up under the folage at the dirt line.

  • Mary Coakley Mary Coakley on Jul 17, 2017

    Certainly Linda yesterday on the blog we got lots of good info on this do check it out.

  • Colleen wilkerson Colleen wilkerson on Jul 18, 2017

    I have had no luck with plants. I even killed a tree that you can't kill. Embarrassing! Does this method work with ALL plants and trees? I have air plants because of problem. Please help.