Add this secret ingredient to your soil for dahlias to flourish
If you are a gardener and love the joy of growing fresh flowers in your backyard, you have probably experienced the occasional disappointment of poor flower blooms. In particular, dahlias may experience faded blooms or produce few flowers due to various factors, some of which may be within your control. Insufficient sunlight is a common cause, as dahlias require full exposure to sunlight for optimal growth and flowering. Poor soil conditions, lacking essential nutrients, especially phosphorus and potassium, can also hinder flowering growth. Inadequate watering, either too much or too little, can stress plants and affect their ability to produce vibrant flowers. In addition, overcrowding and inadequate spacing can lead to competition for resources between plants, resulting in reduced flower production. However, many of these problems can be easily remedied with thoughtful care of your dahlias. If watering and sunlight are adequate, your dahlias are likely suffering from a lack of nutrients in the soil and this can be fixed by adding Epsom salt.
Epsom salt is a naturally available, affordable mineral salt that has a number of benefits in your garden. One of them is to enrich your soil with nutrients with little effort. Before clicking “Add to Cart,” it may be a good idea to invest in a soil test first. It is important to determine if your soil really needs amendments in order to make your dahlias thrive and ultimately find out what they are missing.
How to incorporate Epsom salt into your soil
To give your dahlias a boost, you can incorporate Epsom salt into your gardening routine once you determine that your soil needs a magnesium boost. To feed your dahlias with Epsom salt, it is best to do so first when planting the flower bulbs. Repeat watering with Epsom salt again in early spring when your plants develop their first sets of leaves and one last time when the flowers develop. To do this, the American Dahlia Society recommends mixing a tablespoon of Epsom salt with a gallon of water and applying the solution around the base of your plants, avoiding the leaves as they may lead to a fungal or bacterial infection. They also recommend frequency over potency to protect plants from over-fertilization.
Another way you can help your dahlias with Epsom salt is to mix it directly into your soil. To do this, the Epsom Salt Council suggests sprinkling 1 cup of salt per 100 square feet before planting. Although there seems to be more support for incorporating Epsom salt into the garden by diluting it in water, Martha Stewart also advocates in her blog for sprinkling a little Epsom salt on annual dahlia plantings. She believes that “Epsom salt will nurture and nurture dahlia growing bulbs and help increase the vibrancy of the flowers.”
Why Epsom Salt Works So Well
Epsom salt, chemically known as magnesium sulfate, is a popular and effective treatment for promoting the health of dahlias and other plants such as roses in gardens. Dahlias, like many plants, require magnesium for various growth processes, and Epsom salt serves as a readily available source of this essential nutrient. According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium is a major component of chlorophyll, the pigment responsible for photosynthesis, and helps activate enzymes important for nutrient absorption and energy transfer within the plant.
Applying Epsom salt to dahlia plants benefits them in several ways. First, magnesium plays a vital role in creating strong, green leaves and stems. It enhances chlorophyll synthesis, leading to increased photosynthesis and improved energy production. This results in lush foliage and healthy, vibrant growth. Second, magnesium facilitates the absorption of essential nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, enhancing overall nutrient uptake and utilization by dahlias. Finally, Epsom salt can help prevent common problems such as leaf yellowing, which is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
While Epsom salt can have tremendous benefits, adding too much to the soil can be dangerous for plants because it leads to over-fertilization. Excessive levels of magnesium from Epsom salt can disrupt nutrient balance, hindering the absorption of other essential elements. This imbalance may cause deficiency or toxicity, manifesting as yellow leaves or stunted growth. Careful and thoughtful application is critical to prevent adverse effects on soil and plant health.