If you are new to growing pansies, you must know about its requirements for healthy growth in your garden. Pansies grow best in acidic soil, with the pH level ranging between 5.4-5.8. High or low pH levels affect its growth, and you might need to adjust it. This is where Epsom salt comes into play.
The use of Epsom salt in gardening is not at all a new concept. It is one of the best ways for improving the flower bloom rate. It also helps in keeping the plant green.
But can we use it with pansies? Is Epsom salt good for pansies? Let’s find out.
Epsom salt is primarily used as a source of magnesium, which promotes the healthy growth of the flowers in pansies. Low magnesium levels prevent boron absorption in the plant, which leads to stunted growth and loss of flower buds. Thus, using Epsom salt can help fix this issue in pansies.
However, one needs to be cautious with the use of Epsom salt in pansies, as excessive use can do more harm than good.
If you wish to know more about Epsom salt’s utility in pansies, keep reading this article. Along with that, we will also be discussing some limitations of using excessive Epsom salt.
Is Epsom salt good for pansies?
There are different reasons why Epsom salt is a good choice for pansies. Epsom salt is not just any salt, but it is hydrated magnesium sulfate (magnesium and sulfur) from the mineral deposits in the water in Epsom, England.
Magnesium helps the pansies with a good intake of valuable nutrients, which are nitrogen and phosphorous.
It helps improve the flower blooms and helps maintain the green color of the plant by promoting the creation of chlorophyll, which is very important for photosynthesis.
It also helps in increasing the pansy’s capacity in producing flowers.
Epsom salt can be absorbed by the pansies when they are mixed and diluted with water. But remember that excessive use of Epsom salt might harm your pansies. So you must use it accordingly when needed.
When should you use Epsom salt on Pansies?
It is an important thing to understand when you should apply Epsom salt in your pansy plants.
We have mentioned that due to magnesium and sulfur, Epsom salt can increase the plant’s ability to produce blooms. But you should use this only when there is an urgency of its application.
Epsom salt helps in increasing the magnesium level of the pansies. Pansy soil prefers a pH level ranging between 5.4 and 5.8. When the pH level of the pansy soil bed drops below 5.4, it results in a deficiency of magnesium.
Another reason for magnesium deficiency is a high level of calcium. If the pansies are facing this problem, it shows signs such as yellow leaves. The fully expanded younger leaves of the pansies start suffering from interveinal chlorosis.
This is the point when Epsom salt plays a vital role. You can treat this deficiency of magnesium with Epsom salt. Due to the presence of hydrated magnesium and sulfur, Epsom salt will increase the magnesium level in the plants.
Adding Epsom salt in the pansy soil bed will help in the germination of the seeds. But before adding it to the soil, it is necessary to check the soil.
Because if the soil already has the right magnesium level, adding Epsom salt will increase the magnesium level in the soil bed, which will only damage the pansy seeds.
Do not use Epsom salt and water solution as the main fertilizer of pansies. The main fertilizer for pansies should contain the N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10. You can read our article on the best fertilizer for pansies to learn more about it.
But, the NPK ratio of Epsom salt and water is 0-0-0. So, use a balanced fertilizer for pansies as the main fertilizer.
Only use Epsom salt solution to improve and encourage more flower blooms and when the pansies are suffering from magnesium deficiency.
How to use Epsom salt on Pansies?
High calcium and low magnesium levels in the pansies cause a wrinkle in the leaves, stunted growth, and loss of flower buds. Low magnesium levels also result in yellowing of the younger leaves in the pansies.
Mix one tablespoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water and apply them to correct the magnesium deficiency of the pansies.
You can apply the Epsom salt and water solution in the pansy beds to correct the low magnesium level in the soil bed. But it is a bit easier for the pansies to absorb the nutrient when you apply the solution directly to the plants.
Pour this into a spray bottle and keep misting the leaves of the pansy plant. Apply the solution for a few weeks until the plant slowly absorbs the magnesium through the leaves. Misting the leaves every few weeks will help the pansies in constant absorption of magnesium.
You can also apply this solution once a month to promote blooms. In that case, make a solution of two tablespoons of Epsom salt per gallon of water and mist the plant. This will help in encouraging blooms. Along with that, it will also help in maintaining the magnesium level.
You can start with foliar spraying when blooms are appearing. Sometimes, fertilizers can also lack magnesium. If the fertilizer you are applying to the pansies does not contain magnesium, you can fix this by using Epsom salt.
Mix one to two spoons of salt with 1 gallon of water and apply to the pansies once a month. Make sure you do not mix the salt with any fertilizer to prevent residues.
Remember not to apply too much Epsom salt as that might result in damage to the pansy leaves.
Benefits of using Epsom salt
Being a hydrated magnesium sulfate, when Epsom salt is mixed with water and applied to the pansy bed and plants, it can have many benefits that make the plants live longer.
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Adding magnesium to the soil
If your pansies are facing a deficiency of magnesium due to low pH levels, adding Epsom salt to the pansies will balance the magnesium level in the plant.
Adding this to the pansy bed will help improve flower blooms and also keep the pansies green.
Improve the nutrient absorption
It is necessary to provide pansies with the proper nutrients to keep them healthy and strong. A balanced fertilizer works well for the pansies.
Before adding Epsom salt to the soil bed, make sure to detect the nutrient levels in the soil. Garden soil may already contain magnesium beforehand, so adding Epsom salt will only cause harm to the pansies.
Epsom salt helps the pansies to speed up the absorption of essential nutrients from the soil, such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and sulfur.
Use them in small amounts once a month to speed up the intake of the nutrients by the cells. Before applying them, check whether your plant is facing any problem as sometimes Epsom salt might harm the plants.
Do not mix the Epsom salt with any other fertilizer. Make a different solution by mixing Epsom salt with water and applying that solution to the soil bed. You can also start with foliar sprays for easy absorption.
Balances the nutrient level
If your pansies are not performing well, this may be due to a lack of nutrients. Magnesium is a crucial nutrient for plant growth, and a lack of it is mainly due to low pH levels or high calcium in your plants.
To fix the problem, correct the magnesium level of the pansies for a balanced nutrient level. Adding Epsom salt to the pansies will help in solving the problem.
Can too much Epsom salt hurt the pansies?
Epsom salt can benefit the pansies by encouraging better blooms, green plants, and much more. But you should know that Epsom salt can cause harm when used in a large amount.
It makes the pansy plants wilt
Excess use of Epsom salt will make it difficult for the pansies to absorb water, making the plants suffer. Excess Epsom salt in the pansy soil bed will result in water drainage from the plant cells.
Only when your plant lacks magnesium can you use Epsom salt but use the exact amount to prevent your plants from wilting.
Nutrient imbalance in the soil
Pansies will grow well when they have the right amount of nutrients and that too, in a balanced way.
If you add excess Epsom salt to your pansy soil bed, it will imbalance nutrients in the soil. This is because Epsom salt contains hydrated magnesium and sulfur. If your plants already have enough of those, it will not require more.
Wilting of the pansies
If your pansy plant is already fighting and is fragile, adding Epsom salt will only worsen the condition.
Before you add Epsom salt to the pansies, you should know the condition of the plant and which nutrients you need to feed your pansy with, along with the right amount.
If your pansy soil bed already possesses all the nutrients in the right amount, adding Epsom salt repeatedly will increase the magnesium level and will harm the pansies.
Excessive Epsom salt releases aluminum
Adding too much Epsom salt releases aluminum into the soil. Aluminum is a toxic metal that doesn’t allow plants to develop their roots properly.
The plant’s root tip cells stop the development of the root system, and the pansies thus stop growing and eventually die.
Causes leaf scorch
When your pansy plant already has the right amount of magnesium, spraying more Epsom salt solution will result in leaf burns in the pansies. This will further cause diseases and pest infestation.
Pansy care tips
- Pansies need soil that have a sound drainage system. Pansies standing in damp soil will result in diseases and pest attacks.
- Water the pansies regularly. Check the soil’s moisture by inserting a finger into the soil. Give one inch of water every week for better growth.
- Fertilize them once a month to boost their metabolism.
- Deadhead the dying and spent flowers to encourage new blooms.
Epsom salt contains essential micronutrients which are needed for remarkable growth in pansies. They help balance the magnesium level in the soil bed, promote healthy flower blooms and keep the plants green for a long time.
But, remember not to use them as the main fertilizer because they do not contain all the key nutrients essential for the pansies.
Use Epsom salt only when your pansies are suffering from magnesium deficiency. You can use it once a month if your fertilizers do not provide enough magnesium. But do not mix it with other fertilizers. Use it separately.
Take good care of the pansies. Provide them with all other requirements if you want them to live longer and to keep them thriving.
Ref: The University of Arkansas, Britannica, Utah State University, Wikipedia, The University of Georgia, The Pennsylvania State University, The Royal Horticultural Society.