using epson salt as a preventative measure

maidinmontana(Zone 5 Billings MT)April 7, 2009

I read a blurb here regarding epson salt when an oak ivy plant became infested w/powdery mildew. I was wondering if I could/should use it everytime I water my newly purchased ivy. They said a main cause of powdery mildew was poor air circulation. I have mine in my bathroom, on a stand and the stand is against the wall on one side, the other side is the shower door. This is a very small room and I am the only one that uses it, so there isn't a lot of activity in here to make the air circulate. This time of year I could open the window I guess, if DH will leave it alone lol.

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Hi Maid. ES's will not make any difference ridding mildew. Your ivy needs air circulation, so open the window, weather long as it's not too cold, especially if plants are sitting before the window.
Also, let soil dry before watering.
Humidity is necessary for tropicals but high humidity and no circulating air poses problems. Rot/mold/insects.

Epsom Salt, once a month, keeps leaves nice and green. I wouldn't use ES's with every watering. 1-2 TBLS, per gallon of water, once a month is adequate.

If your soil is staying wet, you either need to decrease watering or change soil. Good luck, Toni

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 2:00PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Adding Epsom salts to your plant w/o adding calcium (Ca)can create a deficiency of Ca (Search calcium magnesium antagonistic deficiency). The effect of adding 1-2 tbsp of Epsom salts to a gallon of water and then applying it to your plants is virtually the same as adding 1-2 tbsps of fertilizer to the water and applying it. This will raise the TDS (total dissolved solids) and EC (electrical conductivity) levels of the soil solution to extremely high levels, and can cause plasmolysis (fertilizer burn) - especially if the application is close to your regular fertilizing time, because you have the Epsom salts + your fertilizer salts + residual salts in the soil. 1-2 tbsp/gallon doses also virtually assure a Ca deficiency unless you add Ca at the same time.

You should be sure you have a Mg deficiency before you use MgSO4 (Epsom salts), or using it is always counter-productive.

When you DO have a Mg deficiency, 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of water along with your regular fertilizer (that does not contain Mg) is enough to alleviate the deficiency.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 4:48PM
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Just stumbled across your post and wanted to let you know that Epsom Salts is an effective way to control powdery mildew. I operate an 8 acre greenhouse growing all Long English Cucumbers and we spray on Epsom Salts for control of powdery mildew. We use a rate of 2000 grams of Epsom salts in 1000 litres of water. If you need to make up 1 liter of solution add 2 grams of epsom salt and add to one liter of water in a windex bottle or the like. Make sure the container you are using is thoroughly rinsed before use. Spray to run off on the plant and reapply as needed, no more than once a week or until symptoms reappear.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 11:39AM
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Hi.....I know this is a different condition but will the epson salt spray also work to get rid of mold on the top of the soil....every year when I bring my plants in and the weather gets colder, the top of the soil grows mold...
why? is it the cold, I try to keep my plants alittle more dry in the fall-winter-spring...I just don't know why I get the mold...any help would be very helpful and appreciated.....thank you....linda

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 1:52PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Linda - are you sure it's 'mold' and not dissolved solids (like the build-up in a tea kettle) accumulating as water evaporates from the soil surface & leaves the dissolved solids behind? That's a very common occurrence in the winter, & the residue is often mistaken for mold.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 2:18PM
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HI....yes its mold...I only get it this time of the year...
when the house is cooler.......any ideas how to get rid of it....linda

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 5:23PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

emerald1951, Do you have steam heating system? I have had that problem with my orchids in the winter and I have steam heat and the orchid. I put decorative rocks on top of the orchid soil which is a just bark and a little bit of sphagnum moss .

I think it is because of the steam heat I do not water my plants much at all so they are usually very dry but the orchid never dries out couple that with my steam heat I get the mold problem.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 6:53PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Linda (and Marquest) - steam & hot water heat systems are closed. IOW, the water in the system never makes it into the air in your home; so compared to other heating systems that would get their make-up air in similar fashion to the way your system gets it, there would be very little difference in humidity levels - especially not enough that it would promote mold growth. Old systems often get their make-up air from inside the home, newer heating systems utilize outside make-up air. The older systems are drier because they pull cold dry air in from the outside to 'make-up' for the air lost through the chimney stack.

Linda - If it is mold, anything antifungal should help combat it. You could try a sprinkle of cinnamon, watering with weak chamomile tea, a light sprinkle of flowers of sulfur .... The first thing that comes to mind though is to be sure you're not over-watering. Check the soil down deep in the containers with a wooden skewer or chopstick. If it comes out damp or dirty, withhold water until it comes out dry.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2011 at 10:34PM
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