Nasturtiums: Seed Starting and Growing On

nasturtiumsVirtues: Nasturtiums add bold, bright color to the garden with their large flowers. Their round foliage and mounded shape make them a great choice for containers, hanging baskets and the edges of beds.

Common name: Nasturtium

Botanical name: Tropaeolum majus

Exposure: Full sun

Season: Spring through fall, for flowers and bold foliage

Flowers: Five round petals give the large flowers an all-over rounded, funnel-like shape. Numerous named cultivars exist, offering a range of colors. Most are in the warm tones of red, orange and yellow. They are edible.

Foliage: Deep green, circular leaves cover the plant’s mounded shape. The ‘Alaska Mix’ variety has foliage streaked in white.

Habit: Nasturtiums typically grow 12 to 18 inches tall and wide. They have a tendency to sprawl and spill over the edges of their container or garden bed.

Origins: South America

How to grow nasturtiums: They aren’t usually sold as plants, but they are easy to start from seed. They can be easily injured during transplanting, so either direct sow the seeds or use biodegradable seed-starting pots that can be planted into the final destination.

Start nasturtiums seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the typical last frost date or outside after that date. Nick the seed coat with nail clippers before planting. Sow half an inch deep and keep the soil moist and warm.

Nasturtiums prefer full sun, but some midday shade is appreciated where the summer is very hot. They require about an inch of water a week, so irrigate them during dry spells.

Image credit: Petchjira / iStock / Getty Images

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