Cucumber plants are a very popular summer garden plant in the gourd family. Its creeping vine grows the perfect summer vegetable that is the perfect complement to salads and dips.
However, you might struggle to keep your plant producing a healthy amount of fruit. Sometimes, the leaves might begin to turn yellow, rather than green.
These signs point to nutrient deficiencies that can prevent you from having healthy plants that produce lots of fruits.
Using Epsom salts can give your nutrient deficient cucumber plants the boost it needs to produce fruits all summer long.
In this post, read about the Why should you Use Epsom Salt On Cucumber plants and How To Use Epsom Salt For Cucumber to prevent common problems like Curing Yellowing Cucumber Leaves.
Why should you put Epsom salts on cucumber plants?
1: Curing Yellowing Cucumber Leaves with Epsom Salt
In the summertime when cucumbers are growing abundantly, you might notice that as time passes, your plant produces fewer and fewer fruits.
This points to a magnesium deficiency. You may even see that the leaves have started to change color and are looking more yellowish. This points to a sulfur deficiency in your plant.
2: To prevent Slow Growth In Cucumbers
Gardeners use Epsom salts because they are made up of a compound called magnesium sulfate.
When plants don’t receive enough of these essential elements (magnesium and sulfur), it affects their growth, their strength, and their yield.
The plant can become stunted and weak, their fruits might not grow as large or be as plentiful.
3: For adding nitrogen to soil for Cucumber plants
Magnesium is the element behind photosynthesis. Without it, the chlorophyll is not able to capture enough sun energy for the photosynthesis process. Therefore, the magnesium helps to give plants their brilliant green color.
A magnesium deficiency is common when there is a lack of organic matter in soil. Places with heavy rain soaking the plants are also at risk of nutrient deficiencies.
What’s more, if there is an abundance of potassium in the soil, the plant may sometimes suck up this element instead of magnesium – which can also lead to a deficiency.
Sulfur is the element necessary for chlorophyll formation. It is used in the process of producing amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and enzymes.
It helps with the plants ability to fight disease, to grow, and to form seeds. If the soil is sandy, sulfur may leak out potentially leading to a deficiency.
4: Fertilize Cucumber plant with Epsom salt
When you fertilize your cucumber plant with Epsom salts, you are basically repairing the damage done from the deficiency.
This will make your plants greener, bushier, and able to produce more fruits and veggies.
If your plant does not have a deficiency, using the right amount of Epsom salts can give your cucumber plant a bit of a boost to help it produce more fruits.
But, using too much can cause it to wilt and perish if it becomes damaged by the salt.
Are Epsom salts good for cucumber plants?
If your cucumber plants are deficient in magnesium and/or sulfur, applying Epsom salts can certainly help them. If they are not deficient, you might be able to give them a boost in productivity.
But, it can also harm your plants if you give them too much. You might even end up killing the plant if you apply it too often.
Is too much Epsom salt bad for plants?
While some people on the internet swear by the use of Epsom salts, it really shouldn’t be an option unless you perform a legitimate test to see if your plant is nutrient deficient.
This is because liberal use of Epsom salts can increase soil toxicity which is dangerous for plants. As a result, leaves can start to wilt from salt damage and some people report their plants dying after treating with the salts.
It is important to remember that the best FOOD for garden vegetable plants is compost made up of organic matter.
This is not always an option for those living in apartment buildings or places where composting is not possible.
When starting a garden, try to find soil that is made up of organic matter and your plants will have the best chance at survival.
Above all, Epsom salt treatment is simply an alternative to help your plants if they NEED it – it should not be used as a regular treatment.
When should you apply Epsom salts to cucumber plants?
Plants will start to give you cues that they are starved for a particular nutrient. It is important to keep watch of your plants to make sure they are happy and healthy.
If you want to be extremely technical, you can test your soil to see if it is magnesium or sulfur deficient. Then, depending on the outcome, you can treat it with Epsom salts.
If you aren’t interested in regularly testing your soil, you can watch your plant and look for signs of nutrient deficiency.
You should treat your cucumbers with an Epsom Salt foliar spray If ALL the leaves of the cucumber plant start to turn yellow, then it is likely that it needs more sulfur. If the leaves at the BOTTOM of the plant start to turn yellow between the veins (the veins will stay green), this points to a magnesium deficiency which can be prevented by using Epsom Salt.
Other signs to look for are smaller than normal plants and fruits and smaller yields. This points to a deficiency because the plant will be conserving its energy instead of putting it into growing fruits.
How do you use Epsom salts For cucumber plants?
There are number of different methods and techniques for applying Epsom salts to cucumber plants. Let's Figure out what works best for you and your plants:
1: Watering Cucumber Plants with Epsom Salt Solution
The most common method of using epsom salt for cucumbers is mixing the salt with water and using it instead of watering every few weeks.
How much Epsom salt per gallon of water?
Take 1 Gallon of water and mix it with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts. Stir the solution until the salt is completely dissolved. Use this mixture instead of typical watering for that day and thoroughly feed your plant with it.
How often should you put Epsom salt on cucumber plants?
If the symptoms of deficiency do not fade, wait 3 or 4 weeks before applying another round of the mixture to the plant. If the deficiency is still persistent, test the soil to make sure that it is in fact magnesium and/or sulfur that it is missing.
2: Applying Epsom Salt As A Soil Drench OR A Foliar Spray
You can also choose to spray the leaves of the cucumber plant with Epsom salts and water so that the leaves can absorb the nutrients.
This method is helpful for boosting the plants growth, but should not replace regular watering for that day. This will only help plants with a deficiency!
Note: If it is not magnesium or sulfur deficient, applying to the leaves can cause salt damage and hurt the plant.
how much epsom salt for cucumbers?
To make a mixture for this method combine 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts with one gallon of water and pour into a spray bottle. Shake and mix the liquid until all the salt is dissolved and then it is ready to use!
3: Side dressing a maturing Cucumber plant with Epsom salt
This method is less common than the first two but is still something to consider and is much easier than the other methods.
How Much Epsom Salt For Cucumbers?
All you have to do is spread 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts around the base of the plant midseason to give it an extra boost. Do not use this method regularly as it can hurt the plant – just once a season is enough to help it produce a greater yield.
4: When First Planting cucumber Seedlings
Other ways to incorporate Epsom salts into your garden include, mixing one or two tablespoons of Epsom salts with the soil before planting the seedlings, putting one tablespoon of the salt into the hole when the seedling will be planted, or mixing two tablespoons of the salt with your regular fertilizer.
These methods should only be used if you know your soil is not full of organic material and nutrients that your plants need.
If you have a healthy soil that you have supplemented with compost, you should wait for your plant to grow and watch for other signs of nutrient deficiency.
How often should you treat cucumber plants with Epsom salts?
Ideally you shouldn’t need to treat your cucumber plants at all – they should get all the nutrients they need from the soil. But, if it is showing signs of a deficiency, you can use the Epsom salt treatment to help it. A good rule of thumb is treating the cucumber plant once a month if it needs an extra boost.
Warning: Do not use this treatment regularly, but as a supplement when the plant is conserving its energy due to a deficiency. If you are concerned that your cucumber plant is nutrient deficient, try testing the soil before treating with Epsom salts.
Is There Such A Thing As Too Much Epsom Salt?
If your cucumber plant is showing signs of deficiency and the once a month watering with Epsom salts is not changing it, you can try reducing the amount of Epsom salts you mix with the water and using the treatment every two weeks.
If the leaves of your cucumber plant start to wilt and you start to see strange white spots after using an Epsom salt treatment, you probably over treated it.
This is a sign of salt damage and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. Wash the leaves thoroughly with water and trim the bottom leaves so they do not come in contact with the soil.
It is highly unlikely that you will use too much salt on your cucumber plants as it will not persist in the soil.
However, it is still helpful to keep a close watch on the plants after you have treated them.
In conclusion, nutrient deficiencies can be a pain for gardeners so it is helpful to have several tricks up your sleeve to make sure that you will get what you need out of your plants.
Using compost and healthy soil is not always an option and you can’t control the amount of rain that soaks the ground.
Cucumber plants can benefit from Epsom salt treatments but it is important to know what is best for your plants.
Do not simply use the treatment because you think it will make your plant produce tons of fruits. Use the treatment because your cucumber plant needs more magnesium and/or sulfur.
The most important tip is to watch your plants and know the signs of nutrient deficiency. Your plants will tell you when they are not happy!
Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.
Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.
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