Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nasturtiums Plant Profile

During the winter months I thought it would be fun to showcase plant profiles of my favorite garden workhorse plants and new plants I'm interested in growing. This week's plant profile is Nasturtiums.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) are an easy to grow plant that looks lovely sitting at the feet of other taller plants, cascading over the sides of raised beds or growing up a trellis. Nasturtiums are often thought of as common plants but they are hardy growers and when well established a great addition to your garden. Nasturtiums like full sun but not hot summer weather. They grow well in coastal weather but do not fare well with frosts. Nasturtiums bloom from mid-spring to late in summer. Nasturtiums are often used in cottage garden settings and mix well with these types of flowers. Nasturtiums are edible, the peppery tasting flowers are a pretty complement to salads or desserts. Nasturtium seeds are also edible and can be used in salads as well. The most common Nasturtiums are orange or yellow, growing easily from seed. There are dwarf varieties of Nasturtiums as well as know varieties such as the varigated Alaska plant featuring white marbling throughout the Nasturtium leaves. Some of the specialized varieties feature deep red or gold flowers.

Generally Nasturtiums grow in most soils, in fact they prefer poor soils. Nasturtiums do not need fertilizer, in fact you will produce huge leaves and little flower if you fertilize them. Nasturtium plants do not like to be transplanted so go with growing from seed to create new plants. Nasturtiums are most typically planted from seed, once the plants are established they are vigorous seeders supplying you with a steady amount of new seed to place in other areas of the garden. Once established Nasturtiums will reseed, making themselves a yearly presence in your garden.

Full sun or part shade, Zones: All

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons:

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