Every now and again, even the hydroponic-enthusiast will grow something in soil, possibly craving the earthy goodness that is indelible to soil. Whether a houseplant or a small backyard summer garden, knowing some basic ins-and-outs about soil will help you grow a bountiful garden with luscious plants.
It may sound easy: buy some soil, plant some seeds, and get growing! It truly is, but the soil needs some extra TLC to make sure your plants grow healthy and strong. One way to do this is to make sure your soil has the proper balance of nutrients. A lot of problems with plants grown in the soil come from the soil’s nutrient balance being off. A simple soil analysis can tell you more about your particular soil. Another issue is when soil compacts too much, root growth is negatively affected. Compacted soil also negatively affects moisture retention and aeration.
Frequently, experienced gardeners add gypsum to their soil to change the soil structure of heavy, compacted soils. Gypsum is calcium sulfate, and by adding it to soil, excess sodium is removed. The benefits are robust: more workable soil, enhanced percolation, less crusting of soil, and improved water run-off and erosion control.
Adding gypsum has also been found to assist in seedling emergence. If your tomatoes have blossom-end rot, adding gypsum is recommended. Unfortunately, the effects of gypsum take months and by then, more needs to be added to avoid regression of soil to the previous state. The time it takes for gypsum to work its magic is worth it when you start harvesting big, beautiful fruits and vegetables.
By now, if you are a multi-faceted hydroponic/regular gardener like us, you want to run out and get a bag, but which one is best? Is one brand more efficient than another? What do experienced growers like? Never fear, below we break down the best gypsum on the internet.
Best Gypsum for Soil Planting: Top 7 Breakdown
Epsoma GG6 Garden Gypsum Fertilizer
- 6-pound bag
- Easy application with pelletized gypsum
- Great for Organic Gardening
- Improves soil composition
The Epsoma GG6 Garden fertilizer comes pelletized, which many gardeners like. This brand is organic, which is perfect for the organic gardener looking for an organic aid to help their soil. Truly an organic supplement for the organic garden, the Epsoma gypsum loosens heavy clay soils, making the soil easier to work with and a great nutrient addition at the same time.
Down to Earth Organic Garden Gypsum Calcium Sulfate
- 5-pound box
- All-natural mineral fertilizer listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute for use in organic production
- Prilled, easy to apply and fast-acting
- Clear application instructions on the back of the box
This garden gypsum is registered Organic Input Material, so for the serious organic gardener wanting a seal of approval, this is your pick. Down to Earth’s gypsum reduced soil compassion, increases water run-off, and helps balance soil nutrients. It can also be used to improve the condition of landscape, lawn, and garden soils. We like how it comes in a box, making it perfect for storage in a garden area.
Calcium Sulfate (Gypsum) by Pure Ingredients
- 4 oz package, comes in natural kraft paper bag, eco-friendly packaging
- Multiple uses, including gardening, brewing, wine-making, pickling, water treatment, and baking
- Contains 23% Calcium, pH neutral, and Vegan
- Money-back guarantee
Besides the sleek eco-friendly packaging, what sets this gypsum apart from its competition is the 100% satisfaction guarantee. The company is so confident that you will love this gypsum, they stand behind their product with a money-back guarantee. Made with pure calcium sulfate that is preservative and additive-free, with high quality and purity it has a food-grade standard, making it versatile from the garden to the kitchen. Gives us a good reason to give it a try!
LD Carlson 6106B Calcium Sulphate (Gypsum)
- One pound bag
- Country of Origin: United States
- Brewing supply company
- Clear instructions on the packaging
The pros are the LD Carlson is a brewing supply company, meaning this gypsum is food-grade and versatile for the garden or kitchen. The negative of this is the packaging, as it isn’t in a resealable bag. No biggie if you’re in the kitchen, but you need to have a plan for using it in the garden. The instructions are written on the packaging, so you’ll either need to write them down or remember them if you plan to store this in an airtight container.
Oldcastle Kolorscape Yardright Soil Doctor Pelletized Gypsum Soil Conditioner
- 40-pound bag
- Provides Calcium & Sulfur
- Helps loosen clay soils
- Great for roses and tomatoes
Oldcastle’s gypsum does not affect the acidity of the soil and contains essential nutrients plants grown in the soil need. This gypsum can also be used in your lawn care to counter the damaging effects of salt and animal waste. It is safe to use around other plants that require acidic soil to grow since it does not alter soil pH.
Calcium Sulfate Dihydrate- Gypsum
- 1 pound bag, re-sealable packaging helps to keep freshness and the perfect size to measure tablespoon increments
- Good source of calcium and sulfur
- Many uses, including soil conditioner, brewing, and lowering pH
Buyers did not like that instructions didn’t come with the product since not everyone knows how to apply or use gypsum. Many other buyers raved that it does what it says and is a good source of authentic calcium sulfate. A nice feature is that it is food-safe, making it multi-purpose once you’re done tending to the garden.
Gypsum Powder Calcium Sulfate Greenway Biotech Brand
- 50-pound bag
- 100% water soluble
- 97% calcium sulfate dihydrate, 22.5% calcium, and 18% sulfur
- Derived from mined gypsum, repackaged from organic gypsum
- Increases earthworms in soil
Go big or go home with this 50-pound bag of gypsum! For the prolific gardener, this large bag is perfect, especially since gypsum needs to be applied quite regularly during the gardening season. Gypsum is among the best-known soil conditioners, which helps farmers improve soil structure. What’s good for the farmer is good for the gardener too!
What does gypsum do for the soil?
Gypsum, which is calcium sulfate, removes excess sodium from the soil. Its benefits include loosening soil- making it not only more workable but allowing for better percolation, less erosion, and improved water run-off. In the end, it helps the soil absorb water more efficiently by improving the clay soil structure and fertility.
Can you apply too much gypsum to the soil?
Yes, applying too much gypsum can have negative effects. Gypsum can increase leaching of aluminum, leading to toxicity, and increase leaching of other nutrients such as manganese and iron, leading to deficiency in those nutrients. Too much gypsum can also either increase/decrease pH: applied to acid soils, magnesium deficiency will result, and applied to sandy soils, copper and zinc are depressed. A careful amount must be applied every few months.
Will gypsum kill plants?
As noted above, too much gypsum can lead to mineral imbalance and aluminum leaching, which can eventually kill plants if not remedied. It is recommended to stick to the general application for gypsum powder. If your soil pH is 5.0 or lower, the gypsum is ineffective and can kill your plants. Conversely, if a plant such as your tomatoes develops blossom-end rot, gypsum is the cure and brings the deadening tomatoes on your plant back to life. Know when to use it, how much to use, and your plants will thrive with the addition of gypsum.
How do you apply gypsum to the soil?
The general application for gypsum powder is 5-10 pounds per 100 sq feet. Every package and type of gypsum- liquid or pellet- has specific instructions that should be followed for optimal results. If it’s a powder or pellet, you can generally mix it with the soil or apply it topically, but again, defer to the instructions on your gypsum packaging.
How long does gypsum last in soil?
Typically, gypsum takes a few months to work its magic, and avid gardeners plan on re-applying gypsum to the soil every 2-3 months. The effects only last a few months too, which is why re-application is usually necessary.
How fast does gypsum work?
Powdered gypsum typically takes a couple of months to work, and in extreme cases can take years of regular application. There are certain types of liquid gypsum that claim works in days.
The benefits seem too good not to try gypsum soil in your next gardening endeavor. Before you begin, just remember to complete a simple soil analysis, ensuring the gypsum you add will benefit your garden.