By Becca Badgett
(Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden)
Nasturtium flowers are versatile; attractive in the landscape and useful in the garden. Nasturtium plants are fully edible and growing nasturtiums can be used to lure aphids away from other plants in the garden.
Nasturtium plants are easy to grow and may be climbing, cascading or bushy. Care of nasturtiums is minimal; in fact, nasturtium plants are one of those specimens that thrive on neglect. Rich, fertile soil or too much fertilizer results in lush foliage growth and few nasturtium flowers.
The old-fashioned nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus, is popular in the garden as an edible. Use nasturtium flowers as a spiller in window boxes and hanging baskets. Plant bush type nasturtiums as aphid traps in the vegetable garden. Growing nasturtiums may add a peppery taste to salads or decorate a cake.
Easy to grow nasturtium plants come in more than 50 varieties. Whichever type you choose for the garden, plant in a full to part sun area with well-drained, but otherwise poor soil for more and bigger blooms.
Dwarf and variegated nasturtium varieties add an ornamental element to small containers or mixed in with solid green foliage plants and white blooms. If using the nasturtium in a container combination, make sure the other plants do not require a lot of water or fertilizer, as the nasturtium needs little of either.
How To Grow Nasturtiums
Large seeds of nasturtium plants should be sown directly into their permanent location, as nasturtium flowers do not transplant well. If you must start seeds of nasturtium flowers and then transplant them, use peat pots which can be planted into the ground without disturbing the roots of the growing nasturtium seedling.
The seed coat may be manipulated for faster germination when growing nasturtium, Nick the seed or soak overnight in lukewarm water. Plant immediately into a container or area of the garden which allows plenty of room for growth. You may place a trellis near the planting area of climbing nasturtium varieties and train the colorful vines to climb with little effort.
Now that you see the ease of how to grow nasturtiums, add several in the spring and summer landscape. Care of nasturtiums is amazingly simple, plant them and forget them, except to enjoy this perky little flower.