Sprinkle some in your rose garden for full, luscious blooms.
rose bush
Credit: LordRunar/Getty

After a hard day of weeding your garden, a good long soak in an Epsom-salt bath can soothe your aching muscles. But did you know that Epsom salts can give your roses a boost, too? It all comes down to the salts' chemical components.

The Science

Epsom salts are comprised of magnesium sulfate which, along with sulfur, occurs naturally in garden soil. Both are important secondary nutrients for plants. Magnesium is necessary for plants to generate chlorophyll, which plays an important part in photosynthesis (the pivotal process in which plants turn light energy into chemical energy). It also helps plants absorb phosphorus, which is essential for plant growth and hearty blooms. That all means that Epsom salts will help your plants reach their full potential.

The Technique

Every spring, Martha gives her roses a generous scoop—1/2 to 3/4-cup—of Epsom salts by sprinkling it in a ring around the perimeter of her rose bushes. While this is a quick and efficient technique to ensure your plants take in the salt, you can also mix them into the soil with a cultivator so they can soak it up through their roots.

A good way to measure the amount your plants will need is to give them one teaspoon of Epsom salts for each foot of the plant's height. In general, coarse, sandy soils are prone to lacking magnesium and yellowing leaves are a sign that your plant is suffering from a deficiency. If you detect this color change, try giving your plants an Epsom-salt bath with a sprayer. Make sure you do this on a cool day, at an hour when the sun isn't too strong for the best results.

Comments (3)

Martha Stewart Member
August 5, 2018
When adding Epsom salts to your garden and Roses can you only do this in the early Spring or is it also okay to add Epsom Salts in the Beginning of August?
Martha Stewart Member
February 8, 2018
When living in Canada I would look forward to Ms Stewart's journal each month because she researches the complete art of making a home beautiful, an old fashioned virtue for a too busy world. Homemaking is a wonderful gift to bestow on husband, partners, children, family and friends and Martha for many years has shown women from all backgrounds how to make the most of where ever and however we live. Make your home a place of beauty and warmth in your sphere of influence. Good homes build great communities and of course grow as many roses as you can.We need their timeless beautiful scent.
Martha Stewart Member
December 28, 2017
What a great idea! I look forward to trying this for my next pur. chase of Roses. Thanx so much for sharing this info with us!