Nasturtiums are both beautiful and useful. They make great vegetable and flower garden companion plants because they help get rid of unwanted insect pests. Their peppery-smelling leaves are an active insect repellent. Nasturtiums have benefits that surpass even their beauty and functionality. They are easy and fast to grow. Nasturtiums do well both indoors and outdoors, and even travel up as a vine for vertical color, making them a very versatile plant.
Nasturtium seedlings sprout up in about 7 days. The soil must be warm for proper setting. Sow your nasturtium seeds ½ inch deep and thin to 12 inches apart when seedlings sprout. If the weather outside is not warm enough, start your nasturtium indoors in individual peat pots. The newly sprouted seedlings are very sensitive and do not do well if transplanted. Individual peat pots allow you to place the plant directly in the soil without disturbing the root system.
Nasturtium does not need fertilizer. In fact, it is best to plant nasturtium in slightly neglected soil that is not too rich. Nasturtium overexposed to fertilizer gets big and bushy, but do not have many flowers. Beware of any competition for soil nutrients, however. Weeds may destroy the fertility of soil even if they crop up after nasturtium is grown. Mulch around the plants to prevent weeds that will leech any remaining nutrients from the ground, and you will not have to worry about feeding your nasturtium at all through the season.
Do not over-water nasturtium. The soil should get a little dry each time before you water. Never let nasturtium stand in pools of water or soggy soil. Nasturtium is very drought-tolerant and only needs extra water in an outdoor garden if the ground around them cracks.
Nasturtium bloom fast and last the entire season until the first frost. You will get more flowers if you deadhead the old blooms when they die off. Pinch the bloom between your thumb and forefinger at the base of the flower and it will come right off. Burn or bury all dead plant material far from the flowerbed to prevent disease.