Succulents are quite popular amongst gardeners due to their attractive looks and low maintenance requirements.
However, like other plants, they must be tended to properly for them to thrive. When it comes to meeting their nutritional requirements, many options are available, ranging from liquid fertilizers to unique potting mixes.
However, gardeners have been using Epsom salt quite successfully for other plants, such as cucumbers.
Is Epsom salt good enough for succulents? Let us find out.
What Are Succulents?
Succulents are a diverse group of plants known for their distinctive appearance and low-maintenance qualities, making them the perfect addition to any indoor or outdoor garden.
When it comes to using Epsom salt for succulents, opinions are divided. Some gardeners swear by its benefits, citing the many ways it can improve plant health and growth. In contrast, others warn of potential dangers and side effects if used incorrectly or in large quantities.
More About Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is a naturally occurring mineral consisting of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen. Its naming can be attributed to its discovery in the town of Epsom in England in the 17th century.
The salt is commonly used as a natural remedy for muscle and joint pains, as a bath salt, and as a fertilizer for plants.
The high magnesium content of Epsom salt is the reason behind its use as a fertilizer.
Epsom Salt For Succulents
Epsom salt has many beneficial properties that can help plants attain prime growth. Some of them include:
Rich Source Of Vital Nutrients: Magnesium and sulfur are quintessential for plant growth, and Epsom salt is a good source of both.
Magnesium is vital for photosynthesis and chlorophyll production. Sulfur, on the other hand, is essential for protein synthesis and root development.
Improves Nutrient Uptake: Besides providing essential nutrients, Epsom salt can help improve their uptake. This is because of its ability to break down complex nutrients— making them readily available for absorption by plant roots.
If your succulents are showing signs of nutritional deficiencies, such as yellowing leaves and stunted growth, adding Epsom salt to the soil can help them grow larger and extra vibrant.
Effective Pest Repellent: Epsom salt works quite well as a slug and snail repellent. These nasty pests can damage your succulents beyond repair.
Prevents Transplant Shock: Your succulents can suffer from transplant shock as you move them to a new environment. Epsom salt acts as the perfect little spark to reignite their growth engine.
Improves Soil Quality: Epsom salt can help break down heavy soils such as clay. This improves drainage and aeration— making the soil more apt for plant growth.
How To Use Epsom Salt With Succulents?
Epsom salt can be applied to succulents using methods such as top dressing, as a foliar spray, or during regular watering. However, it is vital to concentrate on the correct dose and interval to prevent over-application.
Study your succulent species deeply to determine its nutritional and fertilizer requirements. You can also do a magnesium soil test to determine if your soil is really lacking this nutrient.
It is important to dilute the salt before it can be used. A general guideline is to mix one tablespoon with a gallon of water. Stir the mixture throughout until the salt disappears completely.
Distilled water is recommended, as municipal water can contain many impurities and harmful chemicals.
Once the solution is ready, it can be applied using the below methods.
1. As A Foliar Spray: Fill a suitable spray bottle with the Epsom salt solution and mist the succulents gently. Ensure to cover the entire foliage.
It is advisable to do this during dusk or dawn as spraying during sunlight can cause leaf burn.
2. Top Dressing: Apply around one tablespoon of Epsom Salt around the succulent base directly and water it in.
3. During Watering: Add the solution to your watering can and water the soil as you would normally. Make sure to distribute the solution uniformly to prevent salt buildup spots in the soil.
Epsom salt is quite potent and shouldn’t be applied too frequently. Excessive magnesium can cause long-term irreparable damage to your succulents.
A general recommendation is to apply the salt solution once every two or three months during the growing season. You may increase the application frequency to twice every three months if your plant shows stunted growth.
Potential Pitfalls And Risks
Epsom salt can cause more harm than good if applied excessively. Some signs associated with overuse include:
- Yellowing leaves
- Wilting or curling leaves
- Slow growth or stunted development
- Root damage or rot
- Plants appear dried out
Discontinue the application or repot your plant in fresh potting soil if your plant shows any of the above signs. Additionally, ensure the soil has enough moisture before applying, as Epsom salt can dry out the soil quickly.
Epsom salt can be an excellent additive for succulents, provided it is applied in the right proportion and at the right time. It is wise to use it only during the growing season.
Always assess if your succulents really need a fertilizer like Epsom salt and follow the best practices mentioned above.
I have found gardening to be my calling since being restricted to my apartment. I love studying rare species of plants and giving them a mention on my blog. I also love growing organic vegetables in my backyard.