Are you looking for an easy and vibrant addition to your garden? Look no further than nasturtiums! These delightful flowers not only add a splash of color to your outdoor space but also serve as a tasty addition to your culinary creations.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, growing nasturtiums is a breeze. In this article, I’ll guide you through ten simple steps to help you successfully grow and enjoy these beautiful and versatile plants. From seed selection to care tips, get ready to embark on a journey of gardening joy with nasturtiums!
Easy Steps to Grow Vibrant and Versatile Nasturtiums
1. Choose the Right Seeds:
Start your nasturtium journey by selecting the right seeds. Look for a reputable seed supplier or local nursery that offers a variety of nasturtium cultivars. From vibrant oranges and yellows to stunning reds, you’ll find a range of colors to suit your taste.
Consider selecting both climbing and dwarf varieties to add height and ground cover to your garden. Remember, nasturtium seeds are large and easy to handle, making them perfect for beginner gardeners.
2. Prepare the Soil:
Nasturtiums are adaptable and can thrive in various soil conditions. However, they prefer well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level.
Before sowing the seeds, prepare the soil by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller to improve drainage and create a loose texture, ensuring healthy root growth.
3. Sow the Seeds:
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty! Nasturtium seeds can be sown directly in the ground once the frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Make small holes, about an inch deep, and space them 8 to 12 inches apart. Place one seed in each hole and cover it with soil.
Alternatively, you can start seeds indoors in biodegradable pots a few weeks before the last frost date and transplant them once the seedlings have developed.
4. Water Wisely:
Nasturtiums require regular watering to keep their foliage lush and vibrant. Water the plants deeply once or twice a week, ensuring the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged. Be mindful not to overwater as this can lead to root rot.
During hot and dry spells, increase the frequency of watering to prevent wilting. Remember, a happy nasturtium is a hydrated one!
5. Provide Sun and Shade:
Nasturtiums thrive in full sun but can also tolerate partial shade. Aim to provide them with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. If you live in a particularly hot climate, some afternoon shade can help protect the plants from scorching heat.
Nasturtiums are flexible, so don’t worry too much about finding the perfect spot in your garden—they’ll adapt and brighten up any corner!
6. Support Climbing Varieties:
If you’ve opted for climbing nasturtiums, provide them with the support they need to reach new heights. Install trellises, fences, or other structures that can help the vines climb and create a stunning vertical display.
You can even train them to grow along a balcony railing or arbor. Just imagine a cascading waterfall of colorful blooms!
7. Deadhead and Harvest Regularly:
To keep your nasturtium plants blooming profusely, regularly deadhead spent flowers. Simply pinch off the faded blooms to encourage new ones to emerge. Plus, you can enjoy the added bonus of using the blossoms in your culinary adventures.
Nasturtium flowers have a slightly peppery flavor, perfect for garnishing salads or adding a unique twist to your favorite dishes.
8. Combat Pests Naturally:
Nasturtiums are known for their ability to repel certain pests, making them an excellent companion plant in your garden. Aphids, caterpillars, and whiteflies are just a few of the critters that nasturtiums can deter. However, occasionally, your plants may attract some unwelcome visitors.
Combat pests naturally by using organic methods like handpicking or spraying with a mixture of water and mild dish soap. Your nasturtiums will thank you for keeping their surroundings pest-free!
9. Enjoy Edible Leaves and Seeds:
Did you know that nasturtiums are not just about pretty flowers? Their leaves and seeds are also edible! Add a peppery punch to your salads by incorporating the young leaves or use them to garnish your favorite dishes.
Additionally, the seeds can be pickled and used as a caper substitute. What a delightful way to enjoy the fruits of your gardening labor!
10. Save Seeds for the Next Season:
As the gardening season comes to a close, don’t forget to save some nasturtium seeds for the next year. Allow a few flowers to mature and develop seed pods.
Once the pods turn brown and dry out, carefully collect the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place. With your saved seeds, you can continue the cycle of growing beautiful nasturtiums year after year.
Nasturtium Care Tips: Keeping Your Blooms Radiant and Healthy
Caring for nasturtiums is a breeze, but a little extra attention can go a long way in ensuring healthy and vibrant plants. Here are some care tips to keep your nasturtiums flourishing:
Nasturtiums are not heavy feeders and can thrive in nutrient-poor soil. However, if you want to give them a little boost, apply a balanced, organic fertilizer sparingly. Too much fertilizer can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers, so use it in moderation.
Weed Around the Plants:
To keep your nasturtiums happy and healthy, keep the surrounding area free from weeds. Weeds compete with your plants for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Regularly remove any unwanted plants to ensure your nasturtiums have the space they need to flourish.
Monitor for Disease:
While nasturtiums are generally resilient, they can occasionally fall victim to diseases like powdery mildew or black spot. To prevent the spread of disease, remove any infected leaves and ensure good air circulation around the plants. Water the soil rather than the foliage to minimize humidity and reduce the risk of fungal infections.
Mulch to Retain Moisture:
Applying a layer of organic mulch around your nasturtiums can help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature. Use materials like straw, shredded leaves, or compost to create a protective layer around the base of the plants. Just be careful not to bury the stems, as this can lead to rot.
Prune for Optimal Growth:
To encourage bushier and more compact growth, consider pruning your nasturtium plants. Pinch back the tips of the vines or stems when they reach about 8 inches in length. This will promote branching and result in fuller plants with an abundance of blooms. Don’t be afraid to get a little snippy with your nasturtiums—they’ll thank you for it!
Protect from Extreme Heat:
While nasturtiums generally tolerate warm temperatures well, extreme heatwaves can cause stress to the plants. If you live in an area with scorching summers, provide some shade during the hottest parts of the day, especially for varieties that are more susceptible to heat stress.
Consider using shade cloth or strategically placing them near taller plants that can provide some relief from the intense sun.
Watch out for Slugs and Snails:
Slugs and snails can be a common nuisance in gardens and can munch on your precious nasturtium leaves and flowers. To keep these slimy creatures at bay, try natural deterrents such as crushed eggshells or diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants.
You can also set up beer traps by burying shallow containers filled with beer near the nasturtiums, as slugs and snails are attracted to it.
Attract Beneficial Insects:
Encourage a healthy ecosystem in your garden by attracting beneficial insects that can help control pests and pollinate your nasturtiums. Plant companion flowers such as marigolds, alyssum, or zinnias nearby to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.
Ladybugs and lacewings are also natural predators that feed on aphids and other garden pests. By creating an inviting environment for these beneficial insects, you’ll have a natural pest control team working alongside your nasturtiums.
Preserve the Beauty of the Blooms:
While nasturtium flowers are known for their vibrant colors, they are also delicate and can fade quickly if not properly cared for. To extend the lifespan of the blooms, avoid overhead watering that can cause the petals to become saturated and prone to rot. Instead, water at the base of the plants.
Additionally, if you plan to use the flowers in culinary preparations, harvest them when they are fully open and at their most colorful.
Share the Joy of Nasturtiums:
Nasturtiums make wonderful gifts for fellow gardening enthusiasts or friends who appreciate the beauty of nature. Consider saving some seeds or propagating new plants through stem cuttings to share the joy of growing nasturtiums with others.
You can create small potted arrangements or seed packets to spread the love and add a touch of cheer to someone else’s garden.
Growing nasturtiums is a delightful and rewarding experience that adds both beauty and flavor to your garden. By following these ten simple steps, you can successfully cultivate these vibrant blooms and enjoy their peppery leaves and edible seeds.
Remember to choose the right seeds, prepare the soil, provide adequate water and sunlight, and support climbing varieties. Additionally, embrace the benefits of natural pest control, harvest regularly, and save seeds for the next season.
With a little care and attention, your nasturtiums will thrive, bringing a burst of color and joy to your outdoor space.