Monday, June 02, 2008

The Heartbreak of Yellow Leaves--Epsom Salts to the Rescue

The entry to my house is planted with gardenia bushes. This is one garden feature from the previous owner which was BRILLIANT. When these bushes are in bloom, every entry and exit from the house is rewarded with fabulous fragrance.

As brilliant as this planting is, it is not without its own problems. My experience with gardenias is that they are prone to yellowing leaves. Well, my poor plant is experiencing that and then some. The problem now is trying to figure out what exactly is causing the problem. Is the yellowing (and brown tips) coming from too much water (new irrigation system) or not enough water (the irrigation system was turned off for quite some time while demo-ing and installing new driveway). Is the problem too much nitrogen, soil not acidic enough, soil not draining properly, not enough organic material in the soil?

Yesterday, I added some organic plant food formulated for gardenias. I have a pH testor and pH was 6.5 and 7.0. So the plant food is acidic and should lower the pH.

Now, to expedite the greening, I purchased Epsom salts. This stuff is so wonderful it can green up your garden and then soothe your tired muscles after a day of gardening. Here is the marketing blurb on the Rite Aid Epsom Salt bag:

Directions for use of Epsom Salts as a Plant Nutrient
The top secret for champion tomatoes: Add 2-3 tablespoons per hole before planting. Twice a month, sprinkle 1 tablespoon per foot of height for each plant every two weeks.

For award winning roses and other flowers: Use 1/2 cup in the soil at the base of the plant. Afterwards, use as a foliar spray, mixing 1 tablespoon per gallon of water or use 1 teasoon per foot of height for each plant every two weeks.

For palm trees: Use 1-5 lbs. depending on the size and age of the tree. Apply four times per year around the basea of the tree. For potted palms, apply 1/2 cup per gallon of water three times per year. To prevent or reducing yellowing, spray with a mixture of 1 tablspoon per gallon of water.

For rich, colorful peppers, delicious melons, and other fruits and vegetables: Use 1 tablspoon per gallon of water monthly. Use 1 teasoon per foot of height for each plant every two weeks.

Then at the end of the gardening day, remember that Epsom salts can create a mineral spa in your own home. Simply dissolve 2 cups of Epsom Salt in warm bath water, settle in and experience the relief. Soak away tiredness and soreness. Soothe away stress. Deep clean skin pores. Alleviate pain from overexertion.

Of course there is the expected warning to seek advice from physician if you have certain medical conditions such as pregnancy or diabetes.

Epsom Salts Industry Council
has a great web site with additional information. The specifically note that sage DOES NOT like Epsom salts.

Interesting fact from the ESIC web site. Epsom salts are named after Epsom, England.


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