Plant Profiles Nasturtiums Tropaeolum

Nasturtium, Latin name Tropaeolum in a variety of species, is an old-fashioned annual that can bring attractive foliage and colorful blooms to your garden areas. Nasturtiums have a number of uses and can help to deter insects. These flowers are easy to grow and can withstand hot, southern climates. You can even use nasturtiums in your kitchen recipes.

Types of Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums come in both a trailing type and a bush type. These two types can be used as needed in your garden. The vining type of nasturtiums is attractive when trained on trellis, arbors and fences. The bush type can be planted at the edge of gardens, in window boxes or in containers. Bush types flower less vigorously than the trailing type, but offer vivid leaf markings for your garden. Nasturtiums are available in a variety of colors, from cream to bright cherry, and even double-flower types that are as lush as camellias. 

Uses For Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are so easy to grow, but are often overlooked for more unusual types of flowers. Old-fashioned gardens often included nasturtiums that were allowed to climb fences in the back of garden areas. Nasturtiums are edible flowers that can be used in salads and dessert dishes. The taste can vary, however, depending on environmental conditions during growth.

Planting Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums have large, easy-to-handle seeds that make them a favorite garden flower for children’s gardens. They can also be sown in containers on patios or in hanging baskets. You may find nasturtium seedlings at your local garden center, which will help you to get a quick start on flowers for your garden. Plant nasturtiums in well-draining soil in full sun or light shade. The soil should be slightly moist. Mix in a mix of compost or sand to help soil aeration and good rooting.

Growing Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums can thrive even with neglect, but they do best when certain conditions are provided. Though this plant can tolerate a short period of drought, they will look better if you water when the surface soil is dry to the touch. Monthly applications of general purpose fertilizer will help nasturtiums to bloom abundantly. These plants will self-seed in your garden. Nasturtiums prefer cooler weather, but can become damaged by frost  Remove caterpillars and slugs that feed on the leaves.  If an aphid infestation occurs, spray lightly with insecticidal soap. Train climbing nasturtiums by gently winding the stems around slats of the trellis or fence.