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 12-16″.
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, Jewell tropaeolum majus
Jewel Nasturtium, true to its name, bears a dazzling array of bright flowers that match the plant in its tropical appearance. The plant is native to the South American Andes, and is not a perennial in this climate although it can reseed. Hummingbirds love the flowers that come in an array of yellow, orange, pink, and red and are edible! Use them to jazz up an ordinary green salad. 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. Like its relative watercress, Jewel Nasturtiums have peppery-flavored leaves which are used in fresh salads as well.
The leaves look somewhat like water lily pads, and are lovely when planted around a fish pond or fountain in the garden. It makes a perfect container or edging plant. Great for children’s gardens!
Carl Linnaeus, the renowned botanist, named Nasturtium after the Latin word for ‘trophy’. He thought the leaves looked like shields and the flowers like blood-stained helmets of defeated enemies.
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.