Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) is a genus of flowering plants known for their brightly coloured flowers and attractive foliage. It is native to jungles of Peru. There are trailing, climbing, and dwarf varieties. The showy flowers can be single or double and come in fiery shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Leaves are pale green and umbrella-shaped with long stems.
Nasturtiums are the perfect flowers for beginner gardeners! These annuals are very easy to grow from seed, drought tolerant and can be be grown in any climate zone. Just sow the seeds and within 7-10 days, it will start to sprout. The bright colours will liven up any garden, without much work! They are also ideal for hanging baskets and containers.
Seeds can be planted in early spring for summer flowering. Plant in full sun. It does best in sandy soils, but any well drained soil will do. Interestingly, the poorer the soil, the more flowers the plant will produce. Be careful not to over fertilize, as this can cause more foliage and less blooms. Water regularly to keep them blooming. Deadhead regularly to encourage new blooms. They will self-seed, producing more flowers for years to come!
Not only are the flowers pretty to look at, nasturtiums are great companion plants in the garden! They are known to deter aphids, whiteflies, cucumber beetles and other pests from roses, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and other plants.
Fun Flower Facts about Nasturtium:
- Other common names: Indian Cress, Mexican Cress, Peru Cress
- The flowers are one of the most recognized edible flowers and have a peppery taste. The seeds and leaves are also edible; the seeds can be used as an alternative to capers.
- The flowers are a good source of Vitamin C and iron.
- The seeds were used for a substitute for pepper during World War II.
- The name nasturtium means “nose twister” in Latin, referring to people’s reaction upon tasting the flowers.
- The nasturtium is the 40th Wedding Anniversary flower
- In the Victorian Language of Flowers, the nasturtium represents patriotism.