How to Grow Nasturtiums

How to Grow Nasturtiums Take and Care:

Grow Nasturtiums: Ever wanted a splash of color in your garden that practically takes care of itself? Look no further than nasturtiums! These cheerful flowers are a favorite among gardeners for good reason. Our Grow Guide spills the beans (or should we say seeds?) on everything you need to know about sowing and growing these beauties.

Nasturtiums: A Feast for the Eyes (and the Taste Buds!)

Forget boring orange! Nasturtiums come in a vibrant rainbow of colors, from sunshine yellow and fiery red to creamy white and deep burgundy. Some even boast stunning marbled or mottled leaves! These delightful plants aren’t just lookers, though. Nasturtiums, also known as Indian cress, are entirely edible! Flowers, leaves, and even seeds add a peppery kick to salads, sandwiches, and more.

Bushy or Climbing – Grow Nasturtiums for Every Garden

Nasturtiums come in two main varieties: bushy and climbing. Bushy nasturtiums (Tropaeolum minus) are perfect for pots, hanging baskets, or adding a pop of color to the front of your flower bed. Climbing nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are natural-born climbers, happy to scramble up trellises, obelisks, or even other plants. They also make fantastic ground cover, cascading beautifully down slopes or banks.

More Than Just Pretty Flowers

Nasturtiums are like little superheroes in the garden. They attract beneficial insects like bees with their vibrant blooms, while their leaves act as a decoy, attracting pesky caterpillars away from your precious vegetables. Plus, they’re incredibly easy to grow from seed, making them perfect for gardening newbies and little helpers. Want long-lasting summer bouquets? Nasturtiums make delightful cut flowers too!

Ready to Grow Your Own Nasturtium Paradise?

Head over to our Grow Guide for step-by-step instructions on sowing seeds, caring for your plants, and enjoying a summer filled with vibrant blooms and delicious edibles!

Where to Grow Nasturtiums

Sunshine, Not Snobby Soil: The Secret to Nasturtium Success

Nasturtiums are sunshine seekers! Think of them as little floral sunbathers who need at least half a day of sun to truly thrive. But here’s the surprising twist: unlike most flowers who crave rich, fertile soil, nasturtiums are totally cool with a bit of neglect. In fact, poor soil is their happy place!

Why? Because too much rich soil leads to a jungle of leaves with shy flowers hiding underneath. Nasturtiums are all about the blooms, so poor soil encourages them to put on a dazzling floral display.

Nasturtiums: Versatile Beauties for Every Garden

These sunshine-loving charmers are incredibly versatile. Plant them at the front of your flower border for a vibrant pop of color. Train them to climb up an obelisk for a cascading floral waterfall. Use them as companion plants in your veggie patch – they’ll attract helpful insects while keeping pesky caterpillars at bay. Nasturtiums even look fantastic spilling over the edges of raised beds and pots, adding a touch of whimsy to your garden design.

Ready to Unleash Nasturtium Magic?

So ditch the fancy fertilizers and find your nasturtiums a sunny spot with some well-draining soil. They’re low-maintenance, easy to please, and will reward you with a summer filled with cheerful blooms. Let the sunshine (and nasturtiums!) brighten your day!

When to Sow Nasturtium

Planting Nasturtiums: A Seasonal Guide

Start your nasturtium adventure under cover as early as March. As the soil begins to warm up, from March to May, it’s time to move outdoors. A little tip for continuous blooms – consider a late sowing. This will ensure a garden filled with vibrant nasturtium flowers right up until the first frosts make their appearance.

How to Sow Nasturtium Seeds

Nasturtiums: From Seed to Stunning Blooms – In Ground or Pots!

Nasturtiums are like the low-maintenance friends of the flower world. They’re easy to grow, come in vibrant colors, and thrive in both the ground and pots. Here’s how to get yours started:

Planting in the Ground:

  1. Prep Party: Clear the area where your nasturtiums will shine. Rake the soil until it’s smooth and weed-free. Then, give it a good drink – we don’t want to wash away our precious seeds later!
  2. Seed Sowing Soiree: Nasturtiums prefer a little breathing room. Push seeds about 1.5cm deep and 10cm apart into the damp soil. You can use your finger or a bamboo cane to make shallow holes.
  3. Tuck Them In: Gently cover the seeds with soil and wait for the magic to happen!
  4. Space Cadet: Once your seedlings peek through (around 2 weeks), it’s time to give them some elbow room. Thin them out to about 30cm apart.
  5. Scatter and Grow: Feeling adventurous? Nasturtiums are happy to sprout wherever they land! Simply scatter seeds around the edges of raised beds, large pots, or anywhere you fancy a pop of color.

Pot Power:

Want nasturtiums even sooner? Here’s how to get a head start with pots:

  1. Cozy Quarters: Grab a 9cm pot for each seed. Sow them indoors in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill.
  2. Toughen Up: As the weather warms, gradually introduce your nasturtiums to the outdoors – this hardening off process helps them adjust.
  3. Grand Entrance: Once all danger of frost has passed (usually late spring), transplant your nasturtium pots outside and enjoy the show!

How to Plant Out Nasturtiums

If you’re new to gardening and haven’t yet tried your hand at growing plants from seeds, you might come across small pots of nasturtiums at your local garden center. Here’s a more engaging way to present the planting process for nasturtiums, both in the ground and in containers:

Planting Nasturtiums in Your Garden

Start by digging a hole that matches the size of the pot in which your nasturtium was initially grown. Ensure that the leafy crown of the plant is level with the soil surface when you place it in the hole. After planting, give it a good amount of water.

Cultivating Nasturtiums in Containers

For container planting, create a mix using two parts of peat-free multipurpose compost and one part fine gravel or grit. This combination not only reduces the fertility of the soil, which nasturtiums prefer, but also promotes excellent drainage. Just like with garden planting, make sure the crown of leaves is at soil level when you plant. Water the plant thoroughly after planting.

Remember, gardening is a journey. Enjoy every step!

How to Care for Nasturtium

Nasturtiums: The Lazy Gardener’s Dream Flower

Looking for a splash of color in your garden without the constant work? Look no further than nasturtiums! These cheerful blooms are the ultimate low-maintenance companions, perfect for busy bees (or butterflies!) who don’t have a lot of time to fuss.

Watering Made Easy:

  • Groundhogs Rejoice: Forget the daily watering can! Nasturtiums planted in the ground are like little drought-fighters. They’re surprisingly self-sufficient, only needing an occasional drink during super dry spells.
  • Container Companions: For potted nasturtiums, think “light and refreshing” when it comes to watering. You want to keep the compost moist, but not soggy. Imagine giving them a quick drink, not a full bath.

Skip the Fertilizer Feast:

Nasturtiums are the chillest roommates you’ll ever have in the garden. Unlike some high-maintenance plants, they actually prefer things on the less fertile side. So, save yourself a trip to the store and skip the fertilizer – they’ll be perfectly happy without it!

The Deadheading Trick:

Here’s the secret weapon for keeping those blooms coming all season long: deadheading! Simply remove the spent flowers (the ones that are past their prime). This might sound counterintuitive, but it actually encourages your nasturtiums to produce even more blooms. Think of it like giving them a gentle nudge to keep the party going!

With a little TLC (tender loving care, for those not in the know!), your nasturtiums will thrive with minimal effort, rewarding you with a dazzling display of color all summer long. Now go forth and conquer the low-maintenance gardening world!

Gathering and Preservation

Every part of the Nasturtium plant, including the leaves, blossoms, and seeds, is edible. The flowers and tender leaves offer a spicy flavor, akin to watercress, making them a delightful addition to salads. The seed pods, often referred to as ‘the common man’s capers’, can be used as a caper substitute. Harvest them when they are fully grown but still green, and preserve them in vinegar.

When the Nasturtium seeds ripen, you can gather them and store them in a cool, dry place for planting the following year. In regions with mild climates, Nasturtiums are likely to self-seed, leading to the spontaneous growth of seedlings in subsequent years. These unexpected sprouts can be easily removed if they are not desired.

Nasturtiums: Good, Bad and Beautiful Butterflies

Nasturtiums are like the life of the party in the garden – beautiful, low-maintenance, and sometimes attracting a bit too much attention. Here’s how to handle some of the not-so-fun guests that might show up on your nasturtiums:

The Case of the Curious Caterpillars:

  • Butterfly Bonanza: Nasturtiums can become a magnet for large white butterflies (also known as cabbage white butterflies). These fluttery friends love to lay their greenish eggs on the underside of nasturtium leaves. The eggs hatch into hungry caterpillars who might munch away at your nasturtiums.
  • The Plot Twist: This can actually be a good thing! Nasturtiums act as a trap crop, attracting caterpillars away from your precious brassica vegetables (like broccoli or kale). So, if you’re growing nasturtiums for pest control, this is a win-win!
  • Caterpillar Control: But if you’re more interested in the flowers themselves, a little vigilance is key. Regularly inspect your nasturtiums and gently squash the eggs or young caterpillars before they can cause major damage. Alternatively, you can relocate them to a plant you don’t mind them munching on.

Aphid Appetizers:

  • The Sticky Situation: Nasturtiums can also be a target for aphids, especially the blackfly variety. These tiny sap-sucking insects can be a nuisance.
  • Nasturtiums to the Rescue (Again!): Here’s another cool thing about nasturtiums – they can act as a decoy for aphids! Planting nasturtiums near your bean crops can lure the aphids away from your beans and onto the nasturtiums instead.
  • Natural Nasties: However, if you’re growing nasturtiums for their leaves and flowers, aphids are definitely unwelcome guests. The good news is, you don’t need harsh chemicals. A strong jet of water can blast them off the plants. Even better, nature has its own aphid assassins – ladybirds, hoverflies, and lacewings. These beneficial insects love to feast on aphids, so keep an eye out for them and their egg clusters on your nasturtiums.

By understanding these potential visitors and using a little eco-friendly intervention, you can keep your nasturtiums thriving and looking their best all season long.

Varieties of Nasturtiums:

  • Nasturtium ‘Black Velvet’: This compact variety of Tropaeolum minus boasts velvety dark red flowers. It grows to a height and spread of 30cm x 45cm.
  • Nasturtium ‘Phoenix’: The Tropaeolum minus ‘Phoenix’ features flowers with unique split petals in shades of red, orange, and yellow. It’s a bushy variety with dimensions of 30cm x 30cm.
  • Nasturtium ‘Empress of India’: This bushy variety of Nasturtium minus has crimson-red flowers and dark leaves. It grows to a height and spread of 25cm x 45cm. There’s also a dwarf version known as ‘Princess of India’.
  • Nasturtium ‘Orange Troika’: The Tropaeolum majus ‘Orange Troika’ is a climbing or trailing variety with vivid orange flowers and marbled foliage. It grows to a height and spread of 30cm x 1.5m.
  • Nasturtium ‘Alaska Series’: The Nasturtium minus ‘Alaska Series’ produces flowers in yellow, cream, orange, and red, complemented by cream and green marbled leaves. It’s a bushy variety with dimensions of 25cm x 45cm.
  • Nasturtium ‘Ladybird’: The Tropaeolum minus ‘Ladybird’ features pretty cream/yellow flowers with deep red spots at the throat. It grows to a height and spread of 30cm x 40cm.
  • Nasturtium ‘Baby Deep Rose’: This compact, bushy variety of Tropaeolum minus has deep crimson blooms. It grows to a height and spread of 20cm x 20cm.
  • Nasturtium ‘Bloody Mary’: The Tropaeolum minus ‘Bloody Mary’ has splotched and striped flowers in shades of deep red, yellow, and cream. It grows to a height and spread of 30cm x 60cm.

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