Nasturtium Growing Guide

Grow , Grow Guide Apr 09, 2018 No Comments

Nasturtium – Both edible and beautiful

Nasturtium flower

Annual Flower, Herb

Botanical name: Tropaeolum majus 
Family Classification: Tropaeolaceae Family
Synonym: Tropaeolum nanum

(Also known as Garden Nasturtium, Indian Cress)

Nasturtium’s orange, yellow or red flowers provide powerful garden color,
while the round leaves (variegated in some varieties) provide foliar
interest. Flowers also add zest and flavor to salads. Nasturtiums grow best in  warm, dry conditions.

Light Requirements
  • Full sun
Bloom time
  • Early summer
  • Mid-summer
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid-fall
Size when matured0.8 to 1.5 feet
  • Cut flowers
  • Edible flowers
  • Edible landscaping

How To Plant

Propagate by seed

Plant seeds outdoors where desired after the danger of frost has passed, or
start them indoors 4 weeks before the last frost date. Indoor sowing is not recommended,
as Nasturtiums do not transplant well. The seeds need darkness to germinate.

Germination temperature:

55 F to 65 F

Days to emergence:

7 to 10


Maintenance and Care

Train vining varieties onto supports.



Look for varieties with different flower colors/striping/mottling, various foliage colors, and vining or mound-forming shapes.

  • ‘Whirybird’ series: 1 inch tall bushy plants with semi-double flowers in shades of pink, yellow, red and orange. flowers do not have the typical nasturtium spur which forces them to rest at angles on their stem. flowers sit flat on stem tops and are ruffled and showy.
  • ‘Alaska’ series: 1 inch tall plants with green leaves mottled with white/cream.
  • ‘Tom thumb mixed’: dwarf variety (8 to 10” tall) with bright yellow, red and orange flowers on compact, mounded plants.
  • ‘Jewel mixed’: glowing shades of red, pink, yellow and orange flowers over compact, mounded green leaves.
  • ‘Tip top alaska’ series: an improved version of ‘alaska’ series. green leaves are mottled and spotted with creamy white, flowers are bright shades of yellow, red and orange.
  • ‘Empress of india’: burgundy-green leaves and crimson flowers on 1′ tall plants.

Site Characteristics

  • Full sun
Soil conditions
  • Tolerates droughty soil
  • Requires well-drained soil
  • Tolerates low fertility
  • Prefers poor, sandy soil
(Overly rich soil can deter flowering).
Special locations
  • Outdoor containers

Plant Traits

Height0.8 to 1.5 feet
Spread0.8 to 1.5 feet
Bloom time
  • Early summer
  • Mid-summer
  • Late summer
  • Early fall
  • Mid-fall
Flower color
  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
(Flowers are vividly colored, either in single shades of these basic colors, or striped/mottled.)
Foliage color
  • Medium green
  • Variegated
  • Bright green
  • White
  • Cream colored

Special Considerations

Special uses
  • Cut flowers
  • Edible flowers
  • Edible landscaping
Leaves and flowers of Nasturtium have a spicy flavor and can be used in salads and soups and as garnishes.
Foliage textureCoarse
Leaf shapeThe round leaves look like small umbrellas.
  • Cushion, mound or clump
  • Climbing / vine
Some varieties are vining while others form mounds.
Shape in flowersame as above


  • Aphids
  • Spider mites
  • Tarnished plant bug


  • Bacterial leaf spot
  • Bacterial wilt
  • Fungal leaf spot