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Nasturtium flowers make a fantastic addition to your home garden.
The nasturtium flowers, seeds and leaves are edible (see recipes here). They also add beauty to your vegetable garden and are great for companion planting.
Nasturtiums come many colors and have two growing habits: bush and climbing
The climbing nasturtiums will also grow around your veggies, or upwards. They can spread quite far so be mindful of where you plant them. I love adding the bush nasturtiums into a flower border.
Below you can see ‘Jewel Mix’ nasturtiums in a companion planting border
My favorite nasturtium color is the Tip Top Alaska Salmon, I love the peach colors!
Nasturtium flowers are very easy to grow from seed.
You can directly sow them outside, or you can start them indoors if you wish for earlier blooms. Start 2-4 weeks before last spring frost if growing indoors. They can handle full sun or partial shade. They are drought tolerant making them a great choice for areas with hot summers. In partial shade you’ll get more leaves and sprawling. I tend to do both, start some a few weeks before the last spring frost, then I also directly sow them outdoors in mid-May.
Nasturtiums are annuals but seeds are very easy to save. Many people pickle them as ‘capers’.
Companion planting with nasturtiums
- The flowers make a trap crop for aphids as they are drawn to them
- They deter whiteflies and cucumber beetles
- Attract predatory insects
- Plant around your Brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels etc). Also cucumbers, melons, radishes, lettuces, squash, and tomatoes
- Bees enjoy them so they can increase pollination of fruiting crops that need it
Hummingbirds love nasturtium flowers too!
Here are some nasturtium flowers varieties and colors.
Many companies grow a specialty mix exclusive to them like the many from Renee’s Garden. If you want to grow them in containers, then bush compact varieties are best. You can also create a trellis for them in a container, or let them sprawl everywhere!
Great climbing nasturtium varieties
- Empress of India (red flowers)
- Amazon Jewel (many colors)
- Moonlight (creamy white and pale yellow)
Compact bush varieties (great for containers)
- Jewel Mix (many colors)
- Tip Top Alaska mix (cream-on-green foliage with single yellow, orange, and deep red flowers)
- Tip Top Alaska Salmon (soft salmon pink color)
- Buttercream (white)
What is your favorite variety?
My name is Isis Loran, creator of the Family Food Garden. I’ve been gardening for over 10 years now and push the limits of our zone 5 climates. I love growing heirlooms & experimenting with hundreds of varieties, season extending, crunchy homesteading and permaculture.