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Monday, November 25, 2019

Use of Epsom Salt on Hostas

Hostas continue to be one of the most popular perennials in shady and party shady gardens. It's no wonder. Hostas are easy to grow and care for, they don't require a lot of special attention and they come in a vast array of sizes, shapes and great leaf colors.

Since the real beauty of hostas lies in those gorgeous colorful leaves, it is only natural to seek out an organic soil amendment that will enhance leaf color and help the plant grow bushier and healthier. That's where Epsom Salt comes in.

The idea of using Epsom Salt in the garden is not a new concept.  It's been around for generations because it works.

So what are the advantages of using Epsom Salt in your hosta garden?

Well, the main ingredient in Epsom Salt is magnesium sulfate which is an important soil additive for healthy plant life. It allows plants to take in nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen and assists in the creation of chlorophyll which is used by the plant to convert sunlight into food.

The benefits of Epsom Salt on plants are many including that it’s organic, it’s gentle on plants and it’s inexpensive! 


Here are some specific ways Epsom Salt helps with plants in general.

  • Improves flower blooming.
  • Enhances a plant’s green color.
  • Helps plants grow bushier.
  • Greatly improves a plant’s ability to produce fruit and flowers.
  • Assists in seed germination and gives a stronger start to seedlings.
  • It’s safe, and there is little danger of problems from overuse.
  • It doesn’t build up in the soil and it won't have buildup that will clog the root cells of your plants. In fact, Epsom salt can be used for potted plants that have developed a salt accumulation.

Another big advantage of Epsom Salt is its versatility in the way it can be used. You can sprinkle Epsom Salt over a large garden area, you can use it to circle around plants or you can add a solution of Epsom Salt to a garden sprayer. Here are some specifics.

How to Use Epsom Salt on Hostas

  • For potted hostas, mix two tablespoons of Epsom Salt in one gallon of water.  Water the potted hostas once a month with this mixture.
  • With the same solution, you can use a sprayer to spray the mixture directly on the leaves to keep them lush and healthy,
  • A few tablespoons of Epsom Salt around your ground hostas in the spring will give them a great early boost.

On a New Hosta Garden Area

If you're starting a brand new hosta bed, sprinkle up to one cup per 100 square feet and work it into the soil.

gardener planting a seedling

To Help with Transplant Shock

Did you know that using Epsom Salt can reduce transplant shock? Plants can become weak and wither right after transplanting, and Epsom Salt can help reduce that transplant shock to the plant roots. The solution to use for this is one cup of Epsom Salt per 100 square feet. 

Slug Control

Hostas are known for their ease of care, but they do face one problem: Slugs! Damage from slugs appears as multiple holes chewed through the hosta leaves. The most damage will be done to varieties with thinner leaves or hostas that are variegated.

To fight this problem, apply a narrow band of Epsom Salt in a circle around the hosta. Since Epsom Salt is a scratchy substance, it will pierce the skin of any slimy creature when it crosses over it.

Epsom Salt is also effective for combating beetles and other garden pests. A solution of one cup of Epsom Salt per five gallons of water is a great deterrent to them.


Add the use of Epsom Salt to your hosta care regiment this season. Your hostas will thank you with their continued beauty and health!


Where to go next!


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Visit our website for great hostas at an affordable price!


  1. I have a path on the cool side of the house it is full of trees and Hostas stepping stones roam through it surrounded in Thyme I have been giving all the plants Epsom salts for a year now after reading your blog and they are looking fabulous thank you for you advice

  2. I found this super helpful especially since I struggle with slugs and snails in my yard. I did get rid of a huge amount of ground cover, hoping that would minimize the problem, too. I am anxious to get out and sprinkle!

  3. I too am anxious to try this! I have a lot of hosta as we live in the woods and they do so great in the shade. i have slugs but My main problem is a massive vole population! Grrr...I've tried trapping, baiting and am resorting to trying castor oil with dish soap in a spray. Hoping something works as they have eaten around 40 of my hostas:/ Any tried and true remedies out there??

    1. put them in pots. I have voles too, they ate my hosta named fries, and had a bed of minute man hostas all gone now, they began on my camellias; so then I resorted to peanut butter mixed with decon helped some, now just I got 3 cats, they love voles.

    2. I also have a huge problem with voles, they love hostas or pretty much anything I plant. I have probably lost 50 shade plants, mostly hostas, to those little buggers. They don't like things in the onion family so I just bought a huge jar of garlic to put in their holes and around the plants. I have trapped some but they are smart. The dish soap caster oil mixture did not seem to help for me either. My yard was beautiful but now I don't have many shade plants left.

    3. Plant the hostas in baskets that you get from the dollar store and then put the basket in the ground they can't get through the holes in the side of the basket

    4. This is very informational. Although I had heard of putting Epsom Salt in the hole when you plant tomatoes to make them sweeter, I will be trying this for my hostas. I got rid of all the voles that were in my yard by planting the Castor Bean plant. My yard use to be like a pin cushion. This is a beautiful plan and it works. I have a two acre yard and I only planted two of them (one in front yard and one in back yard). If nothing else works for you I suggest you getting a couple of the seeds and plant them or find the plant. (see link below)

      How to Grow Castor Oil Plant | Care and Growing Castor Beans

      I hope this has been helpful.

  4. I am so happy to have found you. I almost had laceleaf hostas last year the slugs were so bad. I have about 60 hostas I am moving to a new planting area from pots. I am excited to treat he new area and nut have to use slug chemicals. Thanks!!!

    1. I put a styrofoam cup buried it filled it with beer they like it and drown

  5. I finally found my solution thanks I to have lots of Hostas and I love them.

  6. I have always treated my yard for grub worms and have no problem with moles. A wise old man told me that the moles love grub worms and if you get rid of them, you get rid of the moles. It works! You can buy bags of yard treat,ENT that controls grubs.

    1. Voles and moles are two totally different things

  7. I had moved to this home and brought my beautiful hostas with me and planted them around the 2 trees in front yard last year.Problem is this ugly bug (black with reddish/orange color)by hundreds infested them killing them!! Don't know what to do .Tried everything. Please any ideas?

  8. Any ideas how to keep the deer from eating the hostas?

    1. irish spring soap. either shred it or hang on a rope on a stake over the hostas. the soap will also deter bugs. I use it also to keep squirrels out of my garden.

    2. I use Liquid fence in my garden to stop deer from eating plants.. it works. You can find it at farm and garden stores, Lowes, Home Depot.

    3. I have had luck with a DIY deer spray. I blended 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 cup of vegetable oil, then added it to a gallon jug and filled the rest with water. Leave the jug in the sun for a day. I put that mixture into a spray bottle and spray my plants frequently. So far it has worked like a charm. Last year the deer destroyed my garden, this year not a leaf has been nibbled.

  9. This has been very helpful. Going to use this epsom salts this year. Thank u so much Keep giving us advice. It is very much appreciated.

  10. Ready to try this in my shade garden, but my hostas are thoroughly integrated with acuba, camellias, caladium, coleus, and other shade plants. Is this harmless for/around the others? Looking forward to finding out so I can get the beetles out of my bed too!

  11. Liquid Fence is the only thing I've ever found that works. We had tons of hosta and tons of deer.

  12. I just planted Hosta this Spring. I read an article stating that a ring of Epsom salt around the plant will deter slugs, etc. from eating holes in the leaves. Well I did this & all was fine for 2-3 days, then it rained and of course all the Epsom salt melted into the soil. The next morning all the leaves were withered and yellow. They look horrible but they're still standing upright so I assume they're not dead. But is there anything I can do to reverse the damage?

  13. Mole med from Gardens Alive catalog helps with moles/voles. They also sell the nematodes spray to eat grubs. All natural- bonus!

  14. I have a deer problem and am afraid the salt would make my hostas all the more desirable for the deer. They ravaged my beautiful hostas earlier in the summer and they are just now starting to recover. I live in the woods and hostas and coral bells are about the only plants that normally thrive in our soil.

  15. As far as the slugs and snails go, I save all my egg shells in baggies under the sink. When I get enough I crush the shells and then pour it around the hostas. No problem with snails/slugs as they don't cross the sharp edges of the shells. Plus the added bonus that egg shells are great for plants. We had moles that were making a mess of our park-like yard. We resorted to smoking them out. Find the entrances and close off all of them, and light one, put into the hold and seal it up. No problems after that.

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