Orchids And Epsom Salts - Knowledgebase Question

River Vale, NJ
Question by jmjewlr
January 22, 2000
Is it advisable or safe to use Epsom's Salts ( MgS04.7H20) for orchids. I was told by a grower that this will promote bloom and make the plants greener if I used a dilute solution twice a year. I grow mostly phalenopsis and paphs but have others as well which are planted in various media including sphagnum moss, bark and charcoal. I want to make sure that it will not harm my plants before trying it.


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Answer from NGA
January 22, 2000

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Some orchid growers routinely use Epsom's Salts, especially if tap water high in salts is used to water orchids, and the plants are fertilized frequently. Under these circumstances salts should be leached from the pots, or flushed out with a solution of magnesium sulfate (Epsom's salts). You can follow the same time table: with each fourth or fifth watering / fertilizing an Epsom's salts flush is beneficial to both mounted and potted orchids. It will remove salt deposits from pot interiors and exteriors. It will eliminate (or greatly reduce) salt build up on the compost and root system and allow the plant to absorb the necessary nutrients. Growers practicing this flushing system report marked improvement in plant growth, flowering characteristics and flower size. As a rule of thumb - dissolve 1 tablespoon of Epsom's salts to 1 gallon of water and use liberally. The next watering after flushing, is done with straight water - this is to flush out any remaining Epsom's salts. After this, return to the regular fertilizing schedule for approximately 4 applications, Then begin the process all over again. Try it, you might like it!

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