Nasturtiums are flowering herbs that do a great job in the garden and provide benefits in the home. Growing these annuals is easy and beneficial. Learn how to plant, grow and harvest nasturtiums in your garden for color, companion planting benefits, and for so many culinary purposes.
Planting and Growing Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums are a bright orange flowering plant, beautiful as a stand-alone plant, and an easy option for beginner gardeners. If you’re looking for a wonderful and beneficial plant in the garden, with many other benefits, be sure to plant nasturtium in your garden this season.
These beautiful flowering plants are annuals in most zones. However, if you live in zones 9, 10, or 11, you can grow them as a perennial.
Soil and Sun Requirements
Nasturtiums prefer to be planted in a shady or partially shaded location. They can adapt to all kinds of soil types as long as the soil is well-drained. These flowering plants do better without fertilizer as it will allow the leaves to grow in abundance, but your plant will not flower.
These plants need to be sown directly into the soil. Nasturtiums do not tolerate being transplanted well. Even with careful handling, disrupting the roots will stunt their growth, if not kill them altogether.
Seeds take about 14 days to sprout with a germination rate of 80-90 percent. Space your seeds about 8 inches from one another when sowing. I usually plant two seeds in one location, in case birds or mice eat some of the seeds.
Nasturtiums love moderate to heavy watering. It’s best to plant them in a place where they can retain some of that water during the heat of summer, which is why planting in a shady spot is ideal for nasturtiums. However, these flowering plants do not like to be soaked in heavy, clay-like soil. Water frequently and heavily in well-drained soil for the best result.
Companion Planting with Nasturtiums
Using nasturtiums in the garden is a great way to help other plants too! Nasturtiums are a great trap crop, which means they attract certain pests to them, which lures them away from other plants in your garden. They also attract pollinators to the garden as well as hoverflies, which eat aphids.
Plant your nasturtiums with: cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, kale, radishes, zucchini, squash, potatoes, pumpkin, tomato, strawberries, parsley, and sunflowers.
Do not plant nasturtiums near plants with soil requirements that hurt this plant, such as dry or compacted soil, or next to plants that require direct sunlight.
Harvesting and Using Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums have edible flowers, but their leaves and seeds are also edible! Add them to a salad or even pickle the seeds for a wonderful addition to your cuisine. Harvesting these wonderful plants is a great way to add extra vitamins to your diet.
These plants should be harvested using your hands, or with sharp scissors, as they are very delicate. Leaves and flowers should be harvested when they are on the younger side for better flavor and softer texture. When harvesting seeds, also do this by hand.
Eating the Seeds
These seeds have a spicy hot flavor to them, similar to mustard or pepper. They are great used in this way. Most people pickle them and use them in the place of caper. They are also good in tuna or chicken salad, to add some extra flavor.
Eating the Leaves
Nasturtium leaves have a flavor similar to spinach and are also packed with vitamins vitamin C, as well as Zinc, Iron, and a few other nutrients. They are a great addition to any salad, added to sandwiches, or stuffed into a burrito!
Eating the Flowers
The delicate flowers add a ton of color to any plate, whether you use them as a garnish for a cocktail, or add them as decor for a formal cake. They have a peppery, broccoli-type flavor, and add a little oomph to a boring salad. These flowers go great atop steamed vegetables, you can also try them as a garnish on soup or added to rice.
Holistic Benefits to Nasturtiums
Nasturtiums are also known to have many other benefits, like uses in teas and tinctures for certain ailments. These benefits include: antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, helps with minor cuts and scrapes, skin healing properties, also help with digestive issues, and promote hair growth.
Making your own tea with dried flowers can provide a host of benefits, from the above list, while adding vitamins and nutrients to your diet.
You can also add this flower to your homemade skin salves for helping to heal dry or itchy skin.
Adding this wonderful plant to your garden is a great way to bring in pollinators, add color, and add wonderful benefits to your kitchen. Planting, growing, harvesting, and using nasturtiums is beneficial to your garden and home while being an easy-to-grow plant for beginners.
Want more growing tips?
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