Nasturtiums are easy to care for. Plant in the spring after all danger of frost has passed in a location that will receive full sun to partial shade. Space plants 8-12″ apart in well-drained soil that is of moderate to low fertility. High nitrogen levels promote more foliage rather than flower production. They will tolerate poor, dry soil. Plant height 16-20″.
Does best where summers are cool. Nasturtiums have average watering needs; don’t over water. Nasturtiums grow well in containers or mixed pots. Attracts hummingbirds.
Nasturtium, Empress of India tropaeolum majus
Empress of India Nasturtium is an old fashioned favorite. The five petaled, funnel shaped, deep scarlet-red blooms and its dark green foliage really stand out and mix beautifully in combination plantings. Empress of India is less leggy, more compact and mounding than other Nasturtiums. It makes a perfect container or edging plant.
The flowers and leaves are edible! Use them to jazz up an ordinary green salad. Like its relative watercress, Nasturtiums have radish-flavored leaves. Helpful hint: it is better to pinch out the pistils of the nasturtium flowers before using them. They often have a bit of a bitter taste. Great for children’s gardens!
Nasturtiums attract aphids and are often planted to lure aphids away from other plants. If you are growing nasturtiums to eat, using a safe soap spray at the first sign of aphids will help deter them from your plants.
Harvest flowers when they are fully open. You can harvest the leaves at any time. Collect seed head/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry. Or allow seed heads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds. Store in air-tight containers.