Have you ever bitten into a tomato and felt disappointed to find that it was mushy and discolored? This is known as blossom end rot (BER), which is caused by a calcium deficiency in the tomato’s tissue.

Although some gardeners may think that sprinkling Epsom salt on their tomatoes will help prevent BER, this isn’t the case. To understand why let’s explore how magnesium and sulfur play an essential role in preventing BER and what remedies can be used to treat nutrient deficiencies in the soil.

Calcium reaches tomato blossom end rot

Calcium plays a key role in preventing tomato blossom end rot. When a tomato plant is deficient in calcium, it can lead to the development of BER in the fruits. Calcium reaches the tomato’s blossom end through two primary ways: uptake from the soil and uptake from mulch. For calcium to be taken up by the plant, there needs to be plenty of calcium available in the soil and adequate moisture levels to allow for uptake.

If there is an imbalance of nitrogen or magnesium in the soil, this can impact the uptake of calcium and cause BER. To prevent this issue, gardeners should use organic mulch to provide additional calcium, maintain consistent watering patterns, and avoid using too much nitrogen fertilizer.

Additionally, Epsom salt can help provide sulfur which is necessary for plants to absorb nutrients like calcium effectively. By understanding how different environmental conditions influence nutrient availability and uptake, gardeners can ensure their tomatoes are healthy and free from BER.

Epsom salt does not stop BER

Epsom salt is often touted as a way to prevent blossom-end rot (BER) in tomatoes, but it doesn’t stop the issue. BER occurs due to calcium deficiency caused by an imbalance of calcium uptake from the soil and mulch. It can also be caused by inconsistent watering patterns or excess nitrogen fertilizer.

While Epsom salt may help provide sulfur which is necessary for plants to absorb nutrients like calcium effectively, it does not address the underlying causes of BER. To prevent this issue, gardeners should use organic mulch to provide additional calcium, maintain consistent watering patterns, and avoid using too much nitrogen fertilizer. Additionally, providing a gallon of water with a tablespoon of Epsom salt once every two weeks can help ensure tomato plants have access to the nutrients they need for healthy growth.


Magnesium is an important mineral for healthy growth and development in plants. It helps to promote strong stem, root, and leaf development as well as aiding in photosynthesis, energy production, and the uptake of other nutrients like phosphorus and calcium. Magnesium can be found naturally in soil but some gardeners choose to supplement their plants with magnesium sulfate or Epsom salts.

Adding a layer of mulch around tomato plants can also help provide this nutrient in sufficient quantities. Magnesium deficiency can lead to the yellowing of leaves and stunted plant growth so it is important to ensure your vegetable garden gets plenty of this essential nutrient. Fungal diseases, environmental conditions such as cold soil temperatures, or a lack of calcium can all contribute to a magnesium imbalance so it’s important to monitor your garden soil carefully for healthy plant growth.

Sulfur is a plant micronutrient

Sulfur is an essential micronutrient for healthy plant growth and development. Sulfur helps to improve the uptake of calcium, nitrogen, and phosphorus; all of which are important for proper plant growth. It also helps to reduce soil acidity and can be used as a natural fungicide against certain fungal diseases. Sulfur can be found in some organic mulches as well as in commercial fertilizers that contain sulfur or sulfates.

To supplement your garden with sulfur, add 1/4 cup of gypsum per gallon of water to your soil once every two weeks. This will help to maintain adequate levels of sulfur for healthy plant growth and development. Be sure to monitor your garden soil regularly for signs of deficiency since too much sulfur can cause calcium imbalance in plants leading to yellowing leaves and stunted growth.

Fertilizer application

Fertilizer application is an essential part of maintaining a healthy vegetable garden. Applying the right amount of fertilizer helps to ensure that your plants are getting enough nutrients to reach their full potential. When applying fertilizer, it’s important to consider the type of soil you have and your plant’s individual needs.

For example, if your soil has a high nitrogen content, then adding a nitrogen-rich fertilizer will help increase the nutrient levels in the soil. If you’re dealing with low calcium levels due to blossom end rot or other issues, then applying a layer of organic mulch or adding Epsom salt in conjunction with regular watering can help improve calcium uptake by your plants. Be sure not to overapply either fertilizer or mulch as this can lead to an imbalance in calcium levels and other environmental conditions that can harm your plants.

Soil test

Soil testing is a key part of maintaining the health of your garden. By testing your soil, you can determine the status of its nutrient levels and pH balance which will help you adjust fertilizer application accordingly. Soil tests are relatively easy to do and they provide valuable information that helps you to understand what your plants need to thrive.

To conduct a soil test, simply collect a sample from several different areas in your garden that are at least 6 inches deep and mix them for an average result. Add distilled water to the sample until it reaches a mud-like consistency, then spread it out on a newspaper or a paper plate.

Allow it to dry before sending it off to a lab for analysis – most nurseries or county extension offices have labs available for this purpose. Once you receive the results back, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about how much fertilizer or lime (if needed) should be applied based on the specific needs of your plants and soil type.

Remedies for nutrient deficiencies

tomato blossom end rot
O – Olivade, blossom end rot

A nutrient deficiency in your garden can be remedied in several ways. First, you should determine what nutrient is lacking in your soil by conducting a soil test and then applying the appropriate fertilizer or lime to correct the imbalance.

Additionally, you can use organic mulch to help retain moisture and prevent water loss from evaporation. Organic mulches also provide additional nutrients to the soil as they break down over time. For calcium deficiencies, you can add Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to the soil. Magnesium helps stimulate plants’ uptake of calcium which will help reduce blossom-end rot and other related problems.

Finally, be sure to maintain consistent watering practices – this will help ensure that your plants have access to plenty of calcium and other nutrients needed for healthy growth.


Blossom-end rot is a common problem in tomato plants and is caused by a calcium deficiency in the soil. To prevent this, it is important to maintain proper soil nutrient balance, provide adequate water and mulch, and use Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to help stimulate plants’ uptake of calcium.

A soil test kit can be used to determine what nutrients may be lacking in your garden and fertilizer or lime can be applied to rectify any imbalances found. Organic mulch can also help retain moisture and provide additional nutrients as it decomposes over time.

Finally, make sure you are evenly watering your plants as inconsistent watering can lead to further nutrient deficiencies. By following these steps, you will reduce the risk of blossom-end rot and ensure that your tomato plants remain healthy.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *