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Noon Edition

Nasturtium Nostalgia

Orange and yellow nasturtiums in a flower bed.

Nasturtiums. (Andy Wright, flickr)

I have never had much luck growing nasturtiums, but I feel nostalgic when I see them, as they grew with abandon in my mother’s garden when I was a child in Australia.

They make pretty cut flowers if cut when in bud, once the bud is cracked and showing color. They will last 3-4 days in plain water, but 5-6 if you add floral preservative. Always add some leaves to the vase too.

The plants are not at all tolerant of frost and are only perennial where there are never any frosts. In frost-free climates, they bloom most of the year. They do not need too much richness in the soil or too much water, so can survive with benign neglect. Too much fertilizer and they produce only leaves.

One dwarf bush variety is called ‘Whirlybird’ and is suitable for growing in containers, as it has nice upright stems; however, vining types also do well in containers. Nasturtium seeds are large and wrinkled and should be planted ½ inch deep and 4-6 inches apart. If they are grown in a container, do fertilize if the leaves turn yellow, but use a diluted liquid.

Nasturtiums need full sun unless the summers are very hot. Without enough sun, these little beauties will not bloom. Their flowers, buds, and leaves are tasty additions to salads, so that is another good reason to grow them.

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