nasturtium closeup

Growing nasturtiums, an edible and ornamental bloom in the veggie garden

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One year, as I was snipping a few nasturtium blooms to decorate a dessert plate, I noticed a few seeds scattered on the deck underneath the pot. They looked like pale, shrivelled peas. There were also a few still hanging on to the plants, in bunches of two or three. I gathered them all up, dried them out on a paper towel, and then stored them away for the winter in a paper envelope. Besides saving nasturtium seeds, each year, there are also fun new varieties to try. I love growing nasturtiums, and add them to my seed list each year.

Nasturtiums are the perfect “spillers” in container arrangements. They’re also edible. Both the young leaves AND the blooms can be tossed into a salad with other garden greens. (Though before you dump in a handful, I’d take a little nibble to make sure you like them first. The leaves can be a bit peppery and too spicy for some.) I love topping salads and desserts with nasturtiums when I’m serving them to company or bringing them to a potluck. It’s amazing how many people don’t realize that they’re edible! Apparently the Incas ate them.

Growing nasturtiums from seed

Nasturtium seeds don’t need to be sown indoors until three weeks before your region’s frost-free date. I also like to pop seeds right into my raised beds once the soil has warmed up.

Here are a few varieties that I enjoy:

Hummingbird Nasturtiums ‘Aloha Mix’ from Renee’s Garden
* Alaska Mix from Burpee (has lovely variegated foliage—and great flowers, of course)
Black Velvet Nasturtiums from Botanical Interests
* Phoenix Nasturtiums from Park Seed (I love the serrated edges!)
Nasturtium Baby Rose, a 2019 All-America Selections winner

Do you have any nasturtium favourites that you can recommend?

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Growing nasturtiums: Edibles that are both edible AND ornamental

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5 Responses to Growing nasturtiums, an edible and ornamental bloom in the veggie garden

  1. Sue Gilmore says:

    I’ve got 5 varieties ordered. I tried one variety last year–planted them in my cinder block holes (all our beds are in cinder block, some holes are covered with pavers, but I strategically plant flowers and herbs in many holes). I just love how easy they grow, how beautiful they look, and tasty too!

    • savvygardening says:

      Ooh, which varieties, Sue? Love that idea of planting them in the cinder block holes. We have some blocks around our hot tub and they’re just filled with moss and weeds – lol! ~Tara

  2. Sue Gilmore says:

    I’m growing Cherries Jubilee, Alaska Mix, Moonlight, Empress of India, Vanilla Berry, and Whirlybird–so I guess there’s really 6 kinds. I can’t wait to see them all–climbing and trailing along the beds.

  3. I have the worst luck these! I have tried them 2 years in a row and have had less than 10% germinate. I bought new seeds this year from a different company and have my fingers crossed! Are there any tricks to starting them – soaking or heat mats? Light or dark? Maybe I missed something key…Thanks!

    • savvygardening says:

      Hmm.. good question! I grow about 50+ nasturtium plants each year in Nova Scotia and have never had an issue with germination.. However, I never start them indoors, but always direct seed the 3rd week of May. The soil is decent (maybe a bit heavy on the organics), very sunny, and I water every few days until the seeds germinate. I don’t plant too deep – about 1 to 1 1/2 CM. Voila! I get about 95% germination.. I know because I use them to line the pathways of my garden and I seldom get an empty spot. Hope this helps! – Niki

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