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Hello, when I received my toothpick-sized Heirloom roses (no joke but you should see them only a year later), I got copious planting instructions/care advice. Phew! What was I in for?
One WEIRD addition to the normal planting procedure was to use a tiny amount of Epsom Salts! Yikes! I could swear that any kind of salts is a sure killer! And for a sensitive Heirloom rose? But here was the company that created the little buggers, advising that I trek out and find some salts...so of course I was curious enough to go on the mission. Anything (cheap that is) for my little tykes!
But, you know, I am now a believer. Just something about adding them (and you can add them to many plants), I can just tell that the plants are thriving because of the trace minerals that they now have access to. Interesting, but there you have it.
So, do YOU have it? Epsom Salts, that is? What is your experience? I am using the Espoma Brand.
Several years ago, on WCBM (680 AM) Radio in Baltimore, there was an early Saturday (7-9AM)_call in show
called "The Garden Club" hosted by Allan Summers.
Allan Summers owned the, now defunct, Carroll Gardens Nursery in Westminster, MD.
It was a horribly junky place. Most of his business was through Mail Order...
He was a rather pudgy, elfin-like man, but he was our Gardening Guru on all things back then.
I met him twice-taking the 40 minute trek from my house to Westminster...AAAGGHHH!
What a junk heap his shop was!!!! Disgusting!!! And his greenhouses...Barf!
Many of the things I know about gardening now--I owe it to him. He was relentless in educating people
on gardening. I used to get up early enough on Saturdays so I could listen to his Radio show.
I listened to it long enough that I already knew the answer he would give when people called in.
Of course--he had his sponsors and he, also endlessly, promoted their products. That is just reality!
Many of these products were NOT available in any ordinary garden Centers back hen. Just his.
One of them--"SUPERthrive", which has been around since 1940, is now being carried by HD
for the first time this year. HA!!!! A few drops to the gallon of water--and your plants will thrive!
Look for it in the Garden Dept. at your local HD. Google it for more information.
It is NOT cheap! About $12 for a small bottle with a pipette attached to the lid for measuring drops...
However----the show was 2hrs. long--and having people call in with questions for 2 hrs. is no small task.
In time--I could have answered all those questions myself--as I had been listening to him for over 2 yrs.
That is how I learned many, many things about gardening.
Knowledge is an accumulation of acquired information one's brain chooses to retain. Simple enough?
OK! Why do I bring all this up?
He always advocated using Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) as a first feeding of the season for Roses in the spring.
He said it caused the Roses to shoot up new canes from the bottom--and it really did!
I always sprinkle a couple of hand-fulls of Epsom Salts around all my roses in early spring.
And--BAM! There come the new canes.
You can also use Epsom Salts on other plants--but I do not know which ones to advise you.
Basically--I would imagine they make new growth--or enhance the current growth on blooming plants.
I have used them on my Brugmansias.
I will let others add to this advice--as I am not all that sure just WHAT it does...
BTW--Epsom Salts is sold at all the big Pharmacies--so no need to order them form $$$$ on-line places.
It is really cheap. People have been using this forever to soak their aching feet in and all that stuff...
Do you add it in the planting hole or sprinkle on top of the dirt around the base of the plant, or does it matter either way? Never heard of it before, but like Gita said, all these tidbits get added to my knowledge base and over the accumulated years should make me a better gardener (the operative word being "should" LOL).
Thank you all for the information. I have always heard about it but never tried it, and definitely didn't know it was sold in the pharmacy section. Let's keep this secrete to ourselves. Once the manufacturers find out, they will put it in fancy bags and boxes with flowers printed on them and sell them for $$$ at nurseries ;-).
LOL - get mine (as Ric mentioned) at my local Wally World - good for aches and pains and equally good for the gardenias. I scratch a bit in the soil around their base in spring and whaa laaa...she likes it!!
Very interesting information. Gita, it is funny that you mentioned Super Thrive. Early on when I first became a member here, I read a discussion on the benefits of Super Thrive and have used it ever since. I now order it online and get a pint plus size bottle which will last a long time.
I have a sprayer that I use for watering the house plants and I mix a dropper of Super Thrive along with a big gulp of Peroxide and my house plants all seem very happy with the mix. I have heard past discussioins on epsom salts but haven't used it in my garden as of yet. The only rose we have is a Knock Out.
This is an interesting topic and I want to do some research and see what other plants might benefit from its use. Thanks for the topic Grayce. Thanks for other info all. Jen, very interesting about the Clematis.
And thank ALL OF YOU for the interesting comments! Looks like I'm on the right track. Will continue to use ES, and now can attribute that HUGE rose cane to the ES! I used to use them all the time for my horses - kills hoof fungus and is mild.
Gita - really neat! You're description of that horrid shop was priceless!
Ric - I threw some around my tomatoes this Spring, and they look GRAND!
FlowAgen - Maybe that Wilt thing is what happened to my clematis two years in a row? Came out bushy, thriving, huge blooms and all of a sudden, black, wilted, dessicated looking. Horrible. HHHmmmm, now I'll try the ES on 'em. Hoof rot, Clematis rot, it's probably all the same...thanks again!
I would just NEVER think of putting ANY salt on plants. But, I am changing my mind.
This thread caught my eye as I just purchased some Epsom Salts in order to soak my hand. After reading everyones comments I did a bit of searching and found a very well written article in Dave's Garden about this very topic!
Hello UprightK - You are right! Very informative and interesting article - makes me more committed to using Epsom Salts. ROSES_R_RED - I don't know, but am going by the "once a year" thought for Epsom Salts, so probably it is fine. But I suggest that you go to some web site that specializes in your favorite type of rose, and look there. All I really know is that my heritage rose care information got me on this path...best of luck!
There is another thing about Epsom Salts. Did you know that some tomato growers use them when they plant their tomatoes? I think that tomatoes are related to the Rose family, right? I put some Epsom Salts into the ground when I planted my tomatoes this Spring, and they DO seem especially vigorous, but then, we've had pretty good growing weather this Spring, methinks.
Jeese, seems that EVERYTHING is related to roses. Even my prize Ornamental Plum is related! Makes it easy, dont'cha think? I am really paring down the chemicals that I buy...and they are organic, so I am feeling pretty successful with my gardening program these days (not saying this very loudly of course).
And, the final, great thing about Epsom Salts - no expiration date!
Sally, interesting you mentioned Darius' article. The said Darius is my house guest as we speak. She has been visiting here for many years when she has visits at the University of Virginia Medical Center. She is off for her appointment this morning and may end up staying another night if they can work in some more tests tomorrow. She is a brilliant woman, that is for sure.
John planted our tomatoes on Sunday. Is it too late for him to sprinkle ES around them now? Inquiring minds want to know.
Off topic I suppose, but earlier today I was looking at the very deep blue color of my Hydrangeasthis year. I know in the past that we have treated with I believe it was Aluminum Sulfate...will check later and make sure I am not ing folks erroneously, but that is something I found in an article some years ago that it is supposed to help deepen the blue color of the Hydrangea. Anyway...they are especially lovely this year and I am enjoying seeing them out of my kitchen window.
OK - clean out the medicine cabinet. A bit ago there was a recall on Mylanta which is mostly aluminium hydroxide. I read "When the aluminum sulfate comes into contact with water, it forms aluminum hydroxide and a much diluted sulfuric acid solution, which alters the soil acidity." (http://www.aluminumsulfate.net/Uses-of-Aluminum-Sulfate.html) So, can we pour the recalled Mylanta around the hydrangea? A chemist I am NOT!
Also, mylanta has Magnesium Hydroxide and Simethicone.
Second thought, I just read the inactive ingredients in Mylanta. It is has two kinds of parabens in it. If you don't use it in the garden, throw it out!
Hm, I assumed paraben was kinda like parrafin, but that was pretty dumb to think now wasn't it?
Our police department now has some kind of drop off for expired drugs. Of course they do NOW because I finally threw out a bag of moms old meds that I kept to try and dispose of safely.
Couldn't find the bag, but if you say it is that...then so be it. Will research the topic again if I ever feel the need to have bluer Hydrangeas in the future. Just read both the links here and learned a bit. If I had pink Hydrangeas, the AS would work to make them pinker. I do acutally have a purplish color Hydrangea and will have to make sure it gets a dip of the stuff if I can find it.
John had questions on the use of ESalts, so I just re-read this thread and learned a lot. Thanks for the education folks.
So, I had a moment to actually read a bit this week, and naturally went to my Farmer's Almanac. One of the big "hints" was that tomatoes suffering from Blight (or trying to) need sulfur sprinkled around them. I asked my dear husband to get some at our local nursery, while on the "Mulch Mission," and he said that the staffer pointed him to some kind of "tomato grow" (he read the label-no sulfur to be had).
So, he came home with a load of mulch, and no Sulfur. As I helped him with the mulch, I was cleaning up our shed. And, for some reason, I looked at the label of my Espoma Epsom Salts.
There, listed with the other minerals, was SULFUR.
I keep an index card file of information I accumulate from all over. Concerning Epsom Salts here are a few tips I found on my card:
Epsom salts contain magnesium and sulfur and generally deepens color, thickens petals, and increases root structure.
For peppers it increases fruit size and sweetness.
The magnesium competes with potassium and calcium in the soil. Too much potassium will inhibit the uptake of magnesium in a plant. Adding nitrogen will supposedly help that situation.
It seems that foliar feeding is a good way to add it to plants. If foliar feeding tomato plants use 1 tbs. per gallon at transplanting, flowering, and again at fruit set. I do this with eggplants and peppers as well.
If adding to the soil for tomatoes, eggplants and peppers use 2 tbs per gallon of water and apply 1 pint (2 cups) to each plant.
Another tip says to add 1 tbs around each plant - doesn't say when - I assume at transplanting.
Planting mix - use 2tbs. per quart of mix.
I also notated to use 1 cup of Epsom salts around your Japanese Maple per season. I used to do that but then the trees started dying after a couple of bad winters. Must have forgotten the Epsom salts that year! LOL
Somewhere I also read that one should feed all clematis at the beginning of the season with 1 tbs of Epsom salts in a gallon of water. Adding ES will help with the yellowing of clematis leaves as that is a sign of magnesium deficiency. The ES can be added at any time when that happens.
All on all it seems that ES are helpful to a variety of plants!
gardadore, thanks for mentioning use of epsom salts on Japanese maples and clematis...two of my plant types I worry over. The addition of epsom salts may be just the thing for me. er, I mean them. When you applied ES to your Japanese maples, did you just sprinkle it on the soil, or did you first put it in water?
Alfalfa - Epsom Salts Tea:
Add to a 20 gal. garbage can filled with water: 16 cups of Alfalfa pellets and 2 cups of Epsom salts. (This is a basic 8:1 ratio.) Stir well and let brew for one week. Stir and pour by the cupful on roses, shrubs, veggies and flowers of all kinds. Add sludge from bottom to next brew or to compost pile or just add more water and use slurry on plants. Use Weekly through growing season
Thinking I might be able to brew this in my rain barrels as soon as we get some rain lol
I think I added 1-2 tbs. per gallon for the maples and fed them each a little over a qt each. I like the sound of the alfalfa tea as well. I believe it stinks, though, so I will be careful what kind of a container I use - one just for the tea and nothing else!
Here are some sites that might answer questions as to how much for what plant. Can't vouch for the reliability of any of these sites but it will give you an idea. I don't have many roses so had to look that up:
" And the Epsom Salt Industry Council says, don't worry, it can't be overused. You can apply it wet or dry, it makes no difference.
* House plants: 2 tablespoons per gallon of water, once a month.
* Tomatoes and peppers: 1 tablespoon dry per foot of plant height, every two weeks.
* Roses: 1 tablespoon dry per foot of plant height, every two weeks. And scratch 1/2 cup into the soil per plant at the beginning of the bloom season. Also use as a foliar spray of 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts with water weekly to discourage pests.
* Lawns: Apply 3 pounds per 1,250 square feet (applied dry).
Sage is the only plant that does not respond kindly to magnesium sulfate, the Epsom Salt Industry Council says."
For Japanese maples:
"Epsom salts also appear to help Japanese maples struggling through the summer season. Some experts believe that it is not the heat that hinders these plants, but months of watering with salty municipal water. A few tablespoons of Epsom salts to a gallon of water used as a drench helps reduce lime buildup and lowers alkalinity and the salt levels of our soil."
* Soak unplanted bushes in 1/2 cup of Epsom salt per gallon of water to help roots recover. Then add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to each hole at planting time.
* To encourage flowering canes and healthy new basal cane growth, scratch 1/2 cup of Epsom salt into soil at the plant base. Add 1 tablespoon diluted in a gallon of water per foot of plant height every two weeks.
* Spray roses with Epsom salt solution weekly (1 tablespoon per gallon of water) to help discourage pests."*
*As with any foliar application, care should be taken to not apply on hot sunny days to avoid leaf scorch.
And, again as Gardadore said above, this is just info and not my personal experience (yet) or recommendations on usage.
My one recommendation is when using it as a foliar spray is to dilute it in very warm water so it dissolves better. When I've tried to make large batches I find it sits in the bottom of the bucket if not dissolved in really warm water.
I was referring to diluting the Epsom Salts in water to make a foliar spray!! And yes, the fish emulsion can be pretty strong but I understand the alfalfa is really pungent! Haven't experienced it myself so can't compare the two!!
I am so glad we don't have pigs any more. Ric would make pig manure tea I had just beautiful boxes but it took a few days for the smell to dissipate. I am finding this thread very interesting. Ric knew all about using Epsom Salts but I didn't.
Grab a handful or two or any parts, like the larger leaves starting to turn yellow anyway, and twist and tear them into hunks. If you lay several leaves lengthwise, and then grab across and twist they tear apart pretty easily. Drop in a bucket of water. Leave for a day or until you start smelling it, I guess, just leave it until it looks tea like. Then water. I have no idea what kind of dilution you want. I haven't killed anything yet with it. Like doc always said, weakly weekly works great. Using his logic, I would use enough leaves to make the watering can about the 'color' of real tea.
If you google it you get recipes for using a whole lot of leaves and making a very strong nasty muck which you dilute. But I like the handful method.
HollyAnneS - Maybe you shoulda marketed that pig tea for anti-Bambi spray? I am with you - I'm finding out a Ton about Epsom Salts, and honestly, I would NEVER have thought that there was so much on this subject...! I thank everyone for adding to my original thought and for educating me.
Thanks, Sally! Just realized what I forgot while at Southern States (btw if anyone has one near you their shrubs/trees are 50% off - picked up two lemons today) - the alfalfa. Dang it...will have to get it next weekend.
happy - tis the season for plant sales...start looking at the ads for your local places. The lemons aren't hardy here...but the scent of their blooms...very jasminey. :) You with all your shade would do great with daphnes. Mine starts blooming mid Jan and keeps her blooms for at least a month. I have her planted beneath my dwarf magnollia b/c I was told they didn't like sun. She's good sized now...like a big ole fluff ball. I got her from Debbie and Ric. I bet that other mail order place we were discussing has them
It's not only the time for all plant sales, guess what I got in my email this morning - an email from Burpees, advertising a "Fall Bulb" special! WOW! Guess I'd better look into Epsom Salts and Bulbs, huh. OOHH! I'm so excited to see Fall approaching - it's my favorite season!
Today--other than mowing and planting and weeding---I Epson-Salted many plants.
Mixed it in a 4gal bucket--and dished it out...
I tend to get carried away when I do something like this--so all my veggies, my 3 brugs,
and my Clematis got a dose. Hope I did not do some that should not have gotten any.
My lower leaves on the tomatoes are starting to yellow out somewhat.
Though this may help????
I sure hope I won't get the same leaf-fungus I had last year on my tomatoes...
So far--so good!
Planted all my cannas against the fence. They are all growing.
Pics: Tomatoes and Jill's sweet Banana peppers.
Gita-have/had the same problem with one tomato, noticed it two weeks ago. Coincidently or not, at the same time, I found "Neem Oil," sprayed it on the tomato, and it is growing AROUND the "Yellow Kill Zone." My problem was fungus, or maybe early Blight.
Looked at it this morning, sprayed it again with the Neem, and honestly, it does seem to have a decent chance at life now.
Neem Oil is organic, and it is a fungicide. I am spraying it on my Heritage Roses (kills sooty mildew too), my Clematis, my mildew-prone Crape Myrtles, and boy, it really improves them! But as it is an oil, you must be careful to spray early morning or late at night so it can "settle" on the plant without the burning sun causing harm...so I suggest you think of Neem Oil for those yellow leaves. Won't hurt to throw the manure and lime around, too.
Oh yes, the plants can breathe with it on them.
Tomatoes- I was just reading about one of the blights- it starts with those yellow lower leaves as the fungus gets splashed up from the soil to the leaves --one reason to like the lack of rain.Maybe fresh mulch right now would keep more fungus from the leaves. I picked off the yellowed leaves.
Sprayed all my tomatoes, Brugs, Beans, Peppers and Roses with Neem this morning.
Also--my forever struggling (with spider mite infestations--AAGH!) Butterfly Bushes.
What is it about the Butterfly Bushes that EVERY year--they go to pot because of
Spider Mites????????? Is it the texture of their leaves?
They start out nice and green. Sprayed them preventably--early in the season.
Grow...Grow...Grow...BAM! Leaves start looking mottled and dry and totally shot
from Spider Mites!!! The blooms have not even opened yet. They are in bud.
Both of these bushes are at 2 ends of my "YUK" bed. One is right behind my Bird bath.
The other is right behind my Shastas and other Daisies.
Granted! NOT much air circulation. Kind of cramped quarters there...
Seems EVERYTHING is cramped in this bed...Maybe I should set off a "bomb"????
Is there anything I could do next year to prevent this???? It happens every year!
Every two weeks. I tablespoon per gallon of water, and you might consider pouring what's left in your sprayer onto the roots-if you investigate on the web, you'll find reference to it being a systemic. Sometimes, you need to look at different ways to give the desired effect, and it does seem that this summer is the one for Epsom Salts and also Neem Oil for me!
BUT--That will not undo the damage already done--no matter how often
I spray. The blooms are there--just not yet open. They probably will not be anything to look at.
I have plenty of Systemic Granules by Bonide. I could sprinkle those around the bush--but--again--it seems a lost cause.
Shoulda--Coulda--done it sooner--it is just that I DID spray with NEEM earlier in the season--
and the leaves seemed OK--then, almost overnight, the Spider Mites did their thing.
That IS the way they work.
My Dr. Seuss Brugmansia also has them. I will, definitely, spray again--maybe even tomorrow.
Can "Neem" get old? Does it lose potency? Mine is a good couple of years old. Maybe more...
Will have to go to Lowes and get a fresh supply. $$$$$$--ugh! HD does not seem to carry it.
Gita's description of Carroll Gardens in Westminister, Md. was right on the mark. I used to check out Fine Gardening magazines from the public library many years ago and would always see that nursery listed as having such a great nursery. Well, we stopped there one time coming from Pa. and it was a disaster. Plants were not taken care of , you could hardly walk around for all the weeds and debrie..Needless to say I was shocked that Fine Gardens would accept a garden center that looked like that. I didn't buy a thing and we didn't stay around too long.
Carroll Gardens was lovely earlier in its history -- it was one of my favorite places to go, although a long long drive for me. And it had a fabulous paper catalog. I saved a dog-eared copy for years. It must have just fallen on hard times.
I follow my (now deceased) father's advice about chemicals - I use them up in a season. I like starting out fresh! I also wonder if his background, as the child of a farmer in West (by Gawd) Virginia, he was acting under the "waste not, want not" philosophy. Maybe they used garden chemicals back then that did not survive more than a season? Dunno.
But my system works for me. Thank you, dear father!
You can also get Neem from the InterNet.
Another thing he taught me - mark your calendar for what you did, and when you need to do it next. Hard to slip up then. Sure works!
Coleup - isn't it interesting that sources point to salty municipal water for demise of Japanese Maples, yet Epsom Salts are recommended...ironic!
Gita: With all due respect to Gracye's father, I'd use the Neem oil unless it smells as if it has gone rancid. I'm pretty frugal, and unless there is a reason to pitch something, I use it. You could also call the manufacturer and ask what happens if you use old oil, and whether it goes rancid.
Happy - it's just as much of a challenge to buy and dole out the chemicals as it is to work with each, unique season, isn't it?! I did not mean to throw anything out, I meant to use it up. I know that sometime it isn't possible, but I try!
Keeping them in the shed probably is bad for them. (Take this from the gal who left her new -from Sssgardener- Bayer sitting in the sun for a week lol) I would store liquid chemicals in a designated shelf in the utility room - your lower level?
I would think dry mineral fertilizers last pretty long no matter what.
Ditto Carroll Gardens- The guy knew his stuff for sure but whoo whee, when you have too much to care for properly, well...too bad he didn't have the buiness acumen. (word of the day lol)
My butterfly bush has yucky leaves too. I was trimming nearby and snapped off a major branch and it was hollow at the base- Do BBushes get a borer? Maybe thats the real problem. I'll look today for mites. Those can seem to pop overnight and I did seem them on something...
Yeah It's very weird, my blue yellow and white garden is very disappointing this year Jethro Tull Coreopsis which I absolutely love bloomed for only a very short time and now only has 1 bloom, I have pale blue Scabiosa blooming and the Lily 'Eyeliner' is blooming only because I just planted that one. Even the Stellas, DOro and Black Eyed are not even blooming...what's the dealio?
I think the warmer than usual winter, spring and these intermittent heat waves are causing plants to bloom earlier than usual and for shorter periods. In the veggie garden I have currants and red raspberries coming in at the same time. Unheard of as the raspberries are two weeks ahead of themselves. The garlic is ready to pull - again two weeks ahead of time. Day lilies are blooming for shorter periods. So don't despair! It seems to be happening all over. I am reconciled to the thought that in a few weeks the garden will have bloomed out unless the fall blooming things decide to bloom ahead of time too. Maybe everything will start over again in the fall!!
Wow, what an education I received from reading this. Saved a couple of the links in order to do further reading. I had a half gallon container of Epsom Salts that sat in a corner of my bedroom for a couple of years until I finally gave it to my older son who has some issues that often require he bathe in it. Will have to definitely stock up on more to have here and to garden with.