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Epsom salts question

This is a discussion on Epsom salts question within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I have a Miltonia spectabilis var. moreliana that is very yellow but otherwise seems to ...

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  1. #1
    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
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    Default Epsom salts question

    I have a Miltonia spectabilis var. moreliana that is very yellow but otherwise seems to be healthy. I have read that Epsom salts might help the problem. I know a lot of folks use them and I have a couple of questions for you.

    Do you use them on all orchids or just certain families?

    Every time you fertilize?

    What ratio per gallon?

    What are the negatives? New root tips burning, bud loss or anything else to watch for?

    Any help much appreciated. Thank you in advance!

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    Hiya, Chris.

    While diagnosing supposed nutritional issues can be really tricky, Epsom Salts (magnesium sulfate septahydrate) is a fantastic additive, as it will do some good, and no harm, to any plant, whether it solves your specific problem or not. It does not affect pH of the solution it's mixed in, either.

    Using the MSU RO formula' Mg content as an example of an engineered application level, when applied a couple times a week, you can calculate that to be equivalent to about 1 teaspoon Epsom Salts per gallon (1.3 ml/L), applied once a month. However, I have used as much as 6 times that, and not seen any negative, other that dark green striping in the leaves for a bit.
    Last edited by raybark; August 10th, 2016 at 07:49 AM.

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    As Ray said, Epsom salts is about as harmless as anything can be at any reasonable rate. Very high application rates might be antagonistic to calcium uptake, but as a one-shot fix that shouldn't be an issue. All plants need magnesium as an essential part of the structure and function of chlorophyll, and that is why a it is often a quick fix application for chlorotic plants. Miltonia moreliana tends to be a more yellow green than many orchids normally, and there are many other causes of chlorosis, so it isn't necessarily going to make a difference here, but it can't hurt to try. Iron deficiency is another one to consider. Make sure you think about your overall fertilizer program and whether it addresses the need for magnesium, iron and micronutrients in general, but a few plants could need an extra dose of magnesium from time to time even in a good overall fertilizer schedule. Mixing Epsom salts with very hard water or with phosphate fertilizers can precipitate the magnesium, so avoid that.

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    I use Epson salt every other time I fertilize. I would agree with Ray and Kirk.

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    Thank you gentlemen! I think that answered what I was unsure of except one thing. Kirk, is Miltonia moreliana a species and not Miltonia spectabilis?

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    OK then if the problem is magnesium or Iron Deficiency, can you just crush up magnesium tablets, mix it with water and pour it into the medium? Or use the iron fertilizer that is used for greening up a lawn, providing of course that you have them in hand?

    I realize of course that a small box of epsom salt would be cheaper if you have to purchase the above separately.

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    Chris in Hamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris in Hamilton View Post
    Thank you gentlemen! I think that answered what I was unsure of except one thing. Kirk, is Miltonia moreliana a species and not Miltonia spectabilis?
    Never mind found it. I think mine is spectabilis though. Flowers are much larger than 2".This is the plant my division came from. May get a couple more if I can make this one happy.

    Name:  Milt. spectabilis v. morelliana '.jpg
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    Well isn't that just beautiful Chris! Wow!!

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    PaphMadMan is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kauaiguy View Post
    OK then if the problem is magnesium or Iron Deficiency, can you just crush up magnesium tablets, mix it with water and pour it into the medium? Or use the iron fertilizer that is used for greening up a lawn, providing of course that you have them in hand?

    I realize of course that a small box of epsom salt would be cheaper if you have to purchase the above separately.
    With caution, yes. A magnesium supplement tablet meant for human use won't necessarily be a water soluble form, so it might not work as a quick green-up. Figuring out dosage of a lawn care product might be more math than some people want to deal with. Not an approach I would recommend for most, but certainly possible.

    ---------- Post Merged at 07:35 PM ----------

    Chris, as you apparently found on your own, Miltonia moreliana is generally accepted as a separate species now. The problem is, because of the long standing treatment as a variety of Miltonia spectabilis, finding reliable pictures is a challenge, and there are probably a lot of hybrids out there passing as one species or the other.

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    ksriramkumar is online now Senior Member
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    You can possibly try the epsom salt that is available in pharmacy. I think It is used for releasing pains in joints/ arthritis and sure it would be available OTC

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