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.


A comment from Susanfromwa
March 31, 2018
You can, I throw a handful of Epsom salts on all my roses and cacti. I wouldn't use a lot. It might be better to just put some on the soil and let nit dissolve slowly. You can instead buy orchid food that will provide exactly what they need.


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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!


A comment from splinter1804
March 31, 2018
I grew orchids over fifty years ago and I used Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) 4 times a year at the rate given above.
I applied it with a watering can over the foliage and into the potting mix as well.
I always kept a few plants aside that weren't given any Epsom Salts so I had plants to compare the results with.
Without a doubt the ones fed with the Epsom Salts grew much better; the foliage was greener and they flowered more often and produced bigger flowers.
I can guarantee this as a good, inexpensive plant food when applied at the above rates.
To learn more about its uses go to https://www.seasalt.com/epsom-...
Try it on just a few plants, and compare the results with your untreated plants and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

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