Nasturtiums are one of the fastest and easiest to grow annuals. From mid-summer until the first autumn frosts, they bloom a huge number of bright flowers of a surprisingly wide range – not only orange, yellow and red, but also cream, salmon-pink, burgundy and crimson. Some have attractive marbled or variegated leaves. We tell you how to grow nasturtium and how to care for it.
For good growth, nasturtiums need sunlight for at least half a day. Free-draining soil is very important, nasturtiums bloom best in poor soils. Fertile soil leads to abundant growth of leaves to the detriment of flowers that are hidden under the leaves.
Nasturtium plants include both perennial and annual flowering species of the genus Tropaeolum, which has over 80 different plants.
These herbaceous flowers are native to South and Central America and are known for their rich, rich, precious flowers.
Features of nasturtium
Planted in the spring after the threat of frost has passed, they grow quickly and easily. In general, nasturtium flowers gravitate towards the warm part of the color spectrum. The rounded leaves look like miniature lotus leaves.
There are varieties of nasturtium for almost all gardening purposes: bushy plants for borders, curly plants for walls and containers, and others.
The leaves and flowers are edible and have a peppery taste, so this plant can often be found in gardens planted alongside broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, where it repels pests.
Growing from seeds
- Soaking the seeds in water overnight before planting can speed up germination, but nasturtium seeds germinate best when the soil is warm.
- Sow the seeds in the soil at a depth of about 3 cm and at a distance of 8 cm from each other.
- Thin to 30 cm apart in all directions.
In hot climates, choose a location shaded from the hot midday sun. Always check the specifics on the seed package. When it comes to soil, nasturtiums are not fussy and will thrive even in poor soil if they are watered regularly.
Direct seeding is sometimes risky because you can uproot the seedlings while weeding the bed. To avoid accidental weeding, mark the planting spot with a label. Due to the characteristic leaves, nasturtium seedlings are easy to spot.
Peculiarities of planting nasturtium in open ground
Seeds can be sown directly where it will bloom.
- Dig up the soil and make sure it is free of weeds. Water the area before sowing – this will prevent the seeds from being washed away after sowing;
- Sow the seeds 1.5cm deep, about 10cm apart – either press them in with your finger or use a bamboo cane to make a shallow hole;
- Cover the seeds with soil;
- After the emergence of seedlings (in about two weeks), thin them to a distance of about 30 cm from each other.
- You can also simply scatter the seeds around the garden where you want them to appear – such as the edge of raised beds.
When to plant nasturtium in open ground
Sow seeds under cover from March and outdoors when the soil warms, from March to May – late sowing will ensure flowering before the first frost.
Features of planting nasturtium at home in a pot
You can also sow nasturtium seeds in pots – this is a good way to get earlier flowers and also a good option if you want to create a nice display in a container at the end of the season.
Simply sow one seed at a time in a 9cm pot in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill, harden it off and plant outside in late spring.
To reduce fertility and ensure good drainage, mix two-thirds peat-free multipurpose compost with one-third fine gravel or crushed stone.
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Nasturtiums are grown either from seed as annuals or purchased from nurseries where they can be found with other companion vegetables.
The seeds germinate quickly, and the plant begins to flower soon after. Once planted, nasturtiums usually take care of themselves, requiring as much water as you give the surrounding plants.
It is not usually necessary to remove the faded flowers, but it is always recommended to pick the ripe flowers for use in salads and to decorate summer desserts.
Bushes pressed to the ground nasturtiums will fill the gaps in flowering in a sunny perennial garden and are well suited for planting among annual lilies or roses.
Nasturtiums grow and flower best when planted in a sunny location with six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day.
Temperature and humidity
Some varieties of nasturtium are planted as perennial plants. However, in most climate zones, this plant is considered an annual and completes its life cycle in only one growing season.
The plant prefers daytime temperatures in the region of 20 degrees Celsius and can survive light frost, but not cold days of freezing. In addition, this plant prefers an average level of humidity (from 30 to 50 percent), but it is not very demanding.
However, nasturtiums can struggle in extremely dry or extremely wet conditions.
Nasturtiums usually prefer weekly watering, but when planted in a greenhouse or in a sunny vegetable patch, they can be watered more often. In such conditions, the need for water can be high on the part of the surrounding plants and quickly dry out the soil.
Nasturtiums can survive moderate drought, but blooms will likely decrease and foliage will begin to look limp.