Nasturtium - Garden Basics - Flower - Annual

By Kate Torpie, Garden Guides Contributor

About Nasturtium

Tropaeolum, or Nasturtium is a great flower for the beginning gardener. In fact, it does quite well with a little benign neglect. Its varieties grow in bushes, climbers and trailers. It can be used on a trellis, in an empty spot of a garden or hanging over in a flowerbox. Best of all, every part of the plant is edible. They are known for their fiercely brilliant colors,so bright that photographing them is difficult.

Site Preparation

Choose a site with full sun and good drainage.


Sow Nasturtium seeds once the weather warms up, either in early spring or early summer depending on your location. Sow the seeds about 10 to 15 inches apart, and about 1 inch deep. Water immediately after planting. Then do not water for another 10 days. If you choose a climbing variety, make sure to provide a support for the plant and train it as it grows.


Picking the flowers will make the plant bloom for a longer period of time, so pick away! The plant will bloom from early spring into the late autumn. Best of all, these annuals will reseed themselves. Water weekly, but do not feed the plant any fertilizer.

Choosing a Variety

Again, the variety is a matter of personal preference, as all the varieties of this species grow in the same conditions. If you like a bushy breed, you may want to look into the Alaska Series. These small, bushy plants have bright jewel-colored flowers that hold their necks above the foliage to avoid getting lost. If you are growing in a flowerbox, you may prefer Peach Melba, which will trail down over the box. A popular vine variety is Canary Creeper, which produces feathery, yellow blooms.

Special Features

These flowers go from seed to bloom very quickly. They're also great for kids who are just starting to garden: the taste of success could encourage a child into a life of gardening.

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