How to Grow Nasturtiums

Tips for growing and caring for Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are easy-to-grow annuals that have beautiful, bright edible flowers.

They can be grown directly in the garden or planted in containers, hanging pots or window baskets.

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Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are native to Peru and have pale green, round leaves with long stems.

They have bright orange, yellow and red flowers and bloom in summer and fall.

There are about 80 different species of Nasturtium including dwarf, trailing and bushy types. [1]

Nasturtiums are popular annual flowers because they’re edible, fast-growing and attract beneficial insects including butterflies and lacewings  to the garden. They’re also a great companion plant.


Best Soil for Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums thrive in poor quality soil and produce more flowers in poor soil than in rich, well-fertilized soil.

How much sunlight do Nasturtiums need?

Nasturtiums prefer to grow in a position that is in full sun or partially shaded in the afternoon. It hot areas they can become scorched in very hot afternoon sun.

Nasturtium flowers

How long do Nasturtiums take to mature?

Nasturtium plants begin to bloom in 5 to 7 weeks and will flower from summer to fall.

RELATED: 10 Fast Growing Flowers

How tall do Nasturtiums grow?

There are many different varieties of Nasturtium that range from small dwarf plants that grow only 6 inches (15 cm) high to climbing varieties that can grow 8 to 10 feet (2.3 to 3 m).

How much space is needed between plants?

Each plant should have at least 10 inches (25 cm) space in all directions.

Growing Nasturtiums from Seeds

Nasturtium seeds are fairly large and can be planted directly in the garden after the last frost of the season. They sprout best in warm soil.

In colder areas, or to get an earlier start, you can plant the seeds in containers indoors and transplant them to the garden in spring.

Nasturtium seeds are usually planted 1/2 inch (about 1.5 cm) deep and about 10 inches (25 cm) apart.

It usually takes about 10 to 14 days for nasturtium seeds to germinate.

Soaking seeds in water overnight prior to planting may speed up germination.

RELATED: 10 Easy Annuals To Grow From Seed

Nasturtium edible flowers

Nasturtium varieties to try in your Garden

Growing Nasturtiums from Cuttings

Nasturtiums can be propagated from cuttings, but the most common method is from seed.

To propagate nasturtiums from cuttings, take a 3 inch (7cm) section of stem and trim off the lower leaves.

Place the cuttings in moist perlite or sand and roots will form in two to three weeks.

Watering Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums need to be watered regularly throughout the growing season, especially in hot weather, but be careful not to over-water your plants.

Let the soil dry out a bit between watering.

Fertilizer for Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums flower better in poor soil, so they don’t need fertilizer.

Nasturtiums growing in a garden

Pests & Diseases

Nasturtiums can be affected by aphids, slugs and caterpillars.

Pruning Nasturtiums

If the plants get a bit untidy or overgrown, prune them back to a manageable size and they’ll quickly produce new growth.

Regular deadheading of flowers will also prolong blooming.

Companion Planting

Nasturtiums spread out over the ground, so they help to suppress weeds and shade the soil when grown near taller plants like tomatoes, sweet corn and sunflowers. [2]

They attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and lacewings to the garden and when planted in a vegetable garden they can be used as an aphid trap so that the vegetable plants won’t be affected by aphids.

Harvesting and Using Nasturtiums

The best time to pick Nasturtium flowers is in the morning. The flowers and leaves can be used in salads or as a garnish or decoration.

Nasturtiums have a peppery taste, similar to watercress.

The seeds can be left to dry out on the vine and stored in an envelope to replant the next year.

Nasturtiums growing in garden

Common Questions

Can Nasturtiums Grow in the Shade?

Nasturtiums are best grown in full sun where they produce the most flowers, but they will also grow in partial shade.

Are Nasturtiums Frost Tolerant?

Nasturtiums aren’t frost tolerant so it’s best to make sure the risk of frost has passed before planting seeds outdoors.

Where Do Nasturtiums Grow?

Nasturtiums grow well in most areas, except for cold, mountainous areas.

Final Thoughts

Nasturtiums are one of the easiest annual flowers for beginner gardeners and kids to grow.

You can eat the entire plant and they’re great for hanging pots, window boxes and ground covers.

Nasturtiums don’t need much ongoing care so it won’t matter if they’re a bit neglected.

Here’s a quick video about growing Nasturtium flowers that I think you’ll enjoy.


Have you tried growing Nasturtiums in your garden? Let me know in the comments below.

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How to grow nasturtiums

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. GiGi Eats

    Great to know considering my track record with plants – NOT so great, LOL!

  2. Brianne Tursi Manz

    Being that these can be grown in window baskets, I could grow these in our apartment! I think they will brighten up the area.

    1. Kelly Martin

      You sure can Brianne, Nasturtiums are great for hanging baskets and window boxes.

  3. Nigar Rahman

    My hubby is a passionate lover of gardening and we have also a huge collections of flowers. I have learned some new tips from here. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Heather =

    When it comes to flowers, I have the worst luck. I’ve never heard of Nasturtiums but they are beautiful!

  5. Emman Damian

    This is the first time I heard about Nasturtiums. It looks so amazing! I hope I can plant some at home.

  6. Erin Knight

    I love to grow nasturtiums in my garden. I am slack at watering plants and it’s nice to know that nasturtiums are not a high-maintenance one.

  7. Ave

    I remember that we had Nasturtiums in our garden when I was a kid and my grandmother had big hanging pots full of them on her balcony. We never used them for eating, though.

  8. Nick Tuma

    I never knew about all these things plants need. I thought you just plant them and that is it but it seems I have been missing the nasturtiums. Thanks for the info and I will reconsider next time I am gardening.

  9. Annemarie LeBlanc

    Beautiful flowers! I have flowering plants in pots and the blooms really give me such happy feelings. Although last week was sad for me because a neighbor’s cat dug up my chrysanthemum seedlings! Ugh.

  10. Ronnie

    We were just gifted a pot of these, so thanks for the great resource. We’ll take good care of them with your help!

  11. Sara |

    I’ve never heard of these beautiful flowers! Wow! Thank you for showing us how to care for them ♡

  12. Melanie williams

    There are some really fab piccys here for sure. I would love to grow some of these beautiful flowers…they look amazing x

  13. Steph S

    Beautiful flowers! I didn’t know Nasturtiums were quite easy to grow! They’re so bright and cheerful. I definitely will be adding some come spring!

  14. Shannon Gurnee

    These are some pretty flowers. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  15. littlemisadvencha

    ive never heard nasturtiums before this post. but, they are beautiful. maybe, we dont have one here growing in my country. lovely post, like the flower! 🙂

  16. Jessie

    This is so cool!!! Edible flowers?! Just blew my mind haha. My four year old wants to grow flowers so this may be a good one to try.

  17. Judy

    I love nasturtiums and have been growing them for years. I know they grow down, but could they grow up like in an obelisk?

    1. Kelly Martin

      Hi Judy, yes you can train nasturtiums to climb up a trellis or vertical structure.

  18. Tammy

    I am so excited about nasturtiums. I used to grow them as a child in the flower beds. I learned a few years ago that they are edible. Now you tell me they have a peppery taste. I am allergic to pepper so I am very excited that I have found a replacement for pepper in my foods. Can I cook with it, or should it remain raw?

    1. Kelly Taylor

      Hi Tammy, yes you can cook nasturtium leaves. They can be stir fried, stuffed or used to make pesto.

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