How To Grow Nasturtiums and Why You Should

How To Grow Nasturtiums and Why You Should

Nasturtiums are a garden favorite that add pop and grace to the landscape. Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are also edible, a culinary delicacy as well as a striking flower. This long-blooming annual provides huge benefit to the garden and every gardener should grow them.

Five Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums

  1. They're beautiful: The flowers are funnel shaped and vibrantly colored. They're available in orange, red, gold, pink, and yellow varieties. Nasturtium blooms prolifically, literally covering the vine with flowers. The foliage is also attractive; the leaves look slightly scalloped green parasols with star-shaped veins.
  2. Easy to grow: Nasturtiums are basically fuss-free. They grow readily in a wide variety of climates and soil conditions and require very little maintenance. Nasturtiums also rarely suffer pests or disease and are drought tolerant.
  3. Pollinators love them: Butterflies and bees can't resist the brightly colored flowers and rich fragrance. More pollinators in the garden is always a good thing!
  4. Long bloom time: Nasturtiums bloom continuously from early summer through late autumn.
  5. Culinary treat: The flowers of nasturtium are peppery and bright, excellent stuffed and baked or added to a fresh garden salad. The seeds are also edible and cooked like capers.

Growing Nasturtium from Seed

Nasturtium's growth habit is either bushy, climbing, or trailing. It varies widely by species. Climbing types grow readily over trellises, fences, and walls. Bush and trailing varieties get large and dense.

  1. Start nasturtium seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Or plant them outside after all danger of frost is passed.
  2. Choose a location in full sun with well-draining soil. If you're in a hot climate, though, plant nasturtium in partial shade, as they do suffer in prolonged direct sun.
  3. Make sure the spot you choose has adequate space to spread out or a place to climb.
  4. Plant seeds in the garden half an inch deep and 12-36 inches apart.
  5. Keep the soil moist and not soggy.
  6. In 7-12 days, seedlings will sprout.
  7. Water the plants 1-2 times per week, so they don't dry out. Even though they are drought-tolerant, they like consistent moisture.
  8. Harvest flowers by cutting them off with clean, sharp shears. Wait until the plant is at least 6-inches tall before harvesting any flowers.

Top Nasturtium Varieties 

Tall, Single Flower Blend - Orange, red, gold, and yellow flowers on long, trailing stems.

Empress of India - Heirloom variety with prolific, deep orange-red flowers and dark blue-green leaves. 

Whirly Bird - Semi-double bright flowers in shades of scarlet, cherry, tangerine lemon, cream, and mahogany. 

Alaska - Variegated green and white leaves and brilliant gold, orange, and mahogany flowers make this Nasturtium really stand out.

Nasturtium Hints & Tips

  • Nasturtiums grow wonderfully in containers, window boxes, and hanging baskets.
  • Set up the trellis before planting so as not to disturb the nasturtium roots once they've sprouted.
  • Don't wash the flowers until you intend to use them.
  • Nasturtium flowers and seeds can be dried for later use.
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