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The much-loved Nasturtium

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are loved for their rich jewel-like colours. Although generally thought of as annuals, most varieties can be grown year-round in warmer areas.

One of the easiest of all annuals, nasturtiums do best in poor soil. If given rich soil, especially soil with high nitrogen content, they produce plenty of leaves, but few flowers. Sow seeds in direct sun or very light shade.

Traditionally grown as creepers the jewel variety (available in separate colours) has a dwarf habit of growth and the flowers are borne well above the foliage, making them ideal for massed bedding or edges. They can also be successfully used for hanging baskets, troughs, tubs, containers and as ground cover.

Nasturtium is a good choice for children to plant as the seeds are easy to handle and grow. Best sown in situ in early spring, germination id from five days. Grow singly or in clumps at 20-30cm

Having luxuriant foliage and bright flowers, nasturtiums are as easy as can be to grow.

Having luxuriant foliage and bright flowers, nasturtiums are as easy as can be to grow.

intervals, depending on variety. In cool areas, sow in late spring and early summer. Once plants are established water heavily every seven to ten days. Avoid over-watering.

Nasturtiums will flower from late spring through summer and in some areas, well into autumn. Nasturtiums are good for cutting and frequent picking helps promote a longer flowering season.

Nasturtiums have no real problems. They have been known to attract aphids. However, aphids can be easily treated with effective insecticidal soaps.

Nasturtiums will usually self-seed and you will often find new plants coming up under the old ones. When plants have flowered and seeded and perhaps look too untidy, pull them out.

Eating Nasturtiums

One of the best features of nasturtiums is that all parts of the plant including seeds, leaves and blooms are edible. The leaves of nasturtiums are a rich source of vitamin C and the seeds include high iron content.  Nasturtium blooms make wonderful garnishes for your salads and vegetable platters. The young leaves are sometimes used as spicy pepper substitute, and can also be pickled as a substitute for capers.