Nasturtium Flower Growing Guide: How To Plant, Grow And Care For Nasturtium

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Nasturtiums. The name itself might conjure images of Victorian ladies with frilly hats, but don’t let that fool you. These vibrant, easy-to-grow flowers are anything but stuffy. Nasturtiums are a gardener’s delight, offering a dazzling display of color, a surprisingly delightful peppery flavor, and a surprising resilience that makes them perfect for beginners and seasoned green thumbs alike.

This guide will unveil the secrets to cultivating these cheerful blooms, transforming your garden into a tapestry of sunshine and spice.

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From Seed to Splendor: Planting Your Nasturtiums

Choosing Your Nasturtium Nursery

Nasturtiums come in a dazzling array of colors, from fiery oranges and sunshine yellows to deep maroons and even bicolors. They also boast a variety of growth habits, with some varieties sprawling gracefully over the ground and others climbing with enthusiasm. Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide:

  • Bush Nasturtiums: Compact and ideal for borders or containers, these cheerful plants reach a height of 12-18 inches.
  • Climbing Nasturtiums: Perfect for fences, trellises, or cascading down walls, these vigorous climbers can reach a staggering 10 feet!
  • Trailing Nasturtiums: Ideal for hanging baskets or window boxes, these beauties tumble over the edges in a riot of color.

Tip: Nasturtium seeds are large and easy to handle, making them a great choice for children who are eager to get their hands dirty in the garden.

Sowing Success: Direct Seeding or Starting Indoors?

Nasturtiums are remarkably adaptable. You can sow seeds directly outdoors in late spring, after all danger of frost has passed. Aim for soil temperatures between 55-65°F for optimal germination.

For a head start on the blooming season, you can also start your nasturtiums indoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost. Sow seeds in individual pots filled with a well-draining seed starting mix. Place them in a sunny location and keep the soil moist but not soggy. Seedlings should emerge within 10-14 days.

Tip: Harden off your seedlings before transplanting them outdoors by gradually exposing them to cooler temperatures and outdoor conditions for a week.

Creating the Perfect Nasturtium Paradise

Sunshine and Soil: The Nasturtium’s Happy Place

Nasturtiums are sun worshippers. They thrive in locations receiving at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. When it comes to soil, they prefer well-draining, slightly sandy soil. Amending your planting area with some compost is beneficial, but avoid over-fertilizing as this can lead to an abundance of leaves and fewer flowers.

Tip: Nasturtiums are known for their tolerance of poor soil conditions. This makes them a perfect choice for neglected corners of your garden or those sandy patches that struggle to support other plants.

Watering Wisdom: Keeping Your Nasturtiums Hydrated

Nasturtiums are moderately drought-tolerant, but they will reward you with more blooms if you provide consistent moisture. Aim to water deeply once or twice a week, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings. Avoid soaking the plants, as this can lead to root rot.

Tip: When watering your nasturtiums, focus on the base of the plant rather than the leaves. This helps prevent the spread of fungal diseases.

The Gentle Touch: Taming and Training Your Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are generally low-maintenance when it comes to pruning. However, if your plants become leggy or sprawling, feel free to give them a gentle trim. This will encourage bushier growth and more blooms.

For climbing varieties, provide them with a trellis or support structure early on to guide their ascent.

Tip: Regularly deadheading (removing spent flowers) will not only keep your nasturtiums looking tidy but will also encourage them to produce more blooms throughout the season.

Bonus Section: Nasturtiums – More Than Just a Pretty Face

Nasturtiums are not just stunning additions to your garden; they’re also surprisingly versatile!

  • Edible Delights: Both the flowers and leaves of nasturtiums are edible and have a delightful peppery flavor. Add them to salads, sandwiches, or use them as colorful garnishes for your culinary creations.
  • Natural Pest Repellent: Nasturtiums are known to deter aphids, squash bugs, and other common garden pests. Plant them near your vegetables to create a natural barrier of protection.
  • Companion Planting Powerhouse: Nasturtiums attract beneficial pollinators like bees and butterflies to your garden, creating a thriving ecosystem.

Nasturtiums: A Celebration Throughout the Season

The beauty of nasturtiums is that they offer a long-lasting display of color throughout the growing season. Here’s how to keep your nasturtium paradise flourishing:

  • Succession Planting: Sow nasturtium seeds every few weeks throughout the spring and early summer. This ensures a continuous burst of blooms well into fall.
  • Deadheading Dilemma? Not Quite: While deadheading is generally recommended to encourage more blooms, some gardeners prefer to leave a few spent flowers on the vine. These will eventually turn into seedpods, adding a unique textural element to your garden and allowing the nasturtiums to self-seed for next season.
  • Embracing the Unexpected: Nasturtiums are not particularly fussy about deadheading schedules. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find a rhythm that works best for your garden and desired aesthetic.

Beyond the Bloom: Nasturtiums in Winter

Nasturtiums are typically treated as annuals, succumbing to frost in colder climates. However, in frost-free zones, they can continue to thrive well into winter. Here are some tips for extending your nasturtium enjoyment:

  • Container Magic: Plant nasturtiums in containers and bring them indoors before the first frost arrives. Place them in a sunny location and provide regular water. With a little care, they can continue to bloom throughout the winter months.
  • Harvesting Seeds: If you allow some nasturtium flowers to go to seed, you can collect the seeds in fall. Dry them thoroughly and store them in a cool, dark location for planting next spring. This is a fantastic way to save money and create a personal connection to your garden year after year.

Conclusion: The Unforgettable Nasturtium

Nasturtiums are more than just beautiful flowers; they’re a testament to resilience, versatility, and the simple joy of gardening. With their easy-going nature and dazzling display, they’re a perfect addition to any garden, big or small. So, the next time you’re looking for a plant that offers both beauty and function, look no further than the unassuming nasturtium. It’s sure to become a cherished member of your garden for years to come.

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