How to Grow Nasturtiums
in Your Garden
*** Nastrutiums are Easy to Grow ***
Nasturtiums are a South American plant, which has a tropical look. Nasturtiums grow as annual plants in the garden, but they will frequently self-sow for continued growth. Growing nasturtiums is quite easy, and they tend to be prolific. Growing nasturtiums in your garden provides a source of spicy edible flowers and tender young leaves for salads. The nasturtium flower buds are also edible (when pickled, they resemble capers). There are many varieties of nasturtiums available, providing a wide assortment of flower colors for lovely licorice flavored edible garnishes (with a little peppery kick).
Note: For growing nasturtiums, be aware that they tend to roam and climb (as much as 10'). Be sure to give them plenty of room, or else be diligent in pruning them (lest they take over).
* Consider growing nasturtiums in containers or window boxes. (They'll flower all summer long.)
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Climate and Growing Conditions
Nasturtiums grow best in full sun. Allow plenty of space around the growing nasturtium patch, as this plant likes to roam.
Also, growing nasturtiums can be helpful as a companion plant. See the companion planting chart for more information.
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Preparing the Garden Soil
Growing nasturtiums is best in poor but well drained soil. If the soil is too rich, you will grow a bumper crop of leaves, but few flowers. This isn't all bad, as the tender young leaves are a tasty peppery addition to salads.
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Planting
In early spring, soak the seeds overnight. Then plant the nasturtium seeds in the prepared garden bed or container. Place seeds 2 per planting, with plantings 6" apart. After the nasturtium plants appear, thin to 1 plant every 6 inches.
Note: You can also grow nasturtiums by propagating from cuttings. Simply take cuttings from established plants, strip off the bottom leaves, and place the stem in damp sand (in a shaded area). Keep the sand moist, and roots will soon develop. Harden the plants before transplanting to your garden.
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Watering
Water only during dry spells.
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Fertilizing
Do not fertilize, when growing nasturtiums (unless you intend to have an abundance of leaves and few flowers).
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Challenges
When growing nasturtiums, you may find that they attract aphids. For this reason, they're sometimes planted as a "trap" crop (see companion planting).
Also, nasturtiums are prolific. They produce an abundance of seeds, so will frequently self-sow the garden bed for the following year. If you don't want them returning the following location, be diligent in removing the seed pods or seeds.
How to Grow Nasturtiums - Harvesting
Harvest the leaves when young, for salads or finely shredded for use on sandwiches. The leaves have a peppery flavor.
Harvest the flowers as needed. Use as a garnish for your meals, or as an addition to salads. You can also crystallize them in sugar for a beautiful desert garnish. The flowers have a zippy taste that reminds me of licorice.
Harvest the unopened buds or the immature seed pods and pickle them to use instead of capers.
Note: the advice and information contained herein is based upon our experience and study. As with any advice, please apply at your own discretion.