With their bright and cheerful blooms, nasturtium flowers are a wonderful way to add a splash of color to your garden. These plants are easy to grow and have a big impact making them an excellent choice for anyone looking for low-maintenance flowers.
If you’d like to learn how to plant nasturtium, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about planting nasturtium, including how to start nasturtiums from seed, how to get the most blooms, when to plant them outside, and more.
Why Plant Nasturtium
Not only are they low maintenance and have attractive flowers, but planting nasturtiums also provides many benefits for gardeners.
They attract beneficial insects like bees and butterflies while repelling garden pests like squash bugs and cucumber beetles.
Nasturtiums are also edible! The leaves have a sweet and peppery taste similar to other greens. They’re tasty in salads or sauteed with whatever seasonings you like. The flowers have a bright, floral taste and add a unique flavor and lovely appearance to any dish.
Where to Grow Nasturtium
Nasturtiums do well in a variety of growing conditions and planting locations. They can be grown in pots, in the ground, in window boxes, or on a trellis.
Nasturtiums do best in well-draining soil. They like a neutral pH between six and eight but they’re not too picky.
Nasturtiums don’t need rich soil. In fact, they do better in poor, infertile soil. Rich soil leads to a lot of leaf growth and fewer flowers.
Nasturtiums bloom best in full sun. They tolerate partial shade, especially in hot climates but you probably won’t get as many flowers. To get the most blooms, plant nasturtiums in a sunny location with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.
Nasturtiums do best in warm temperatures. Plant them in late spring when daytime temperatures have warmed up to the 70s.
Nasturtiums can tolerate a very light frost but not a hard freeze. Since they don’t like cold, they’re grown as annuals in most growing zones in the United States.
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 9-11 you can grow Nasturtium as a perennial.
How to Plant Nasturtium From Seed
Starting nasturtium from seed is usually the best way to grow these beautiful flowers. It’s hard to find starter plants, even in the spring and summer so starting from seed is more practical.
Thankfully, nasturtium seeds are widely available and easy to find online. This Glorious Gleam mix or this Tip Top mix will add bright pops of color to your garden!
Starting the seeds is simple and doesn’t require any special skills. With the right tools and a few tips, you’ll be growing abundant flowers in no time.
Starting Nasturtium Seeds Indoors
Starting nasturtium seeds indoors is a good way to enjoy the colorful blooms as soon as possible. Seeds started indoors bloom weeks before seeds that are sown directly into the garden. Here’s how to plant nasturtium indoors.
To get started, it’s helpful to have some good seed starting equipment. High-quality equipment makes starting seeds easy and increases your chances of success. There are good options at many different price points, so you can find something that works for your budget.
Once purchased, you can use the same equipment over and over again to start seeds year after year. If you’re planning on starting more seeds, it’s well worth the investment!
How to Plant Nasturtium Seeds Indoors
Plant nasturtium seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last expected frost.
Nasturtiums are finicky about being transplanted so it’s best to start them in small pots or compostable containers. That way, you won’t have to disturb the roots too much when it comes time to plant them outdoors.
Fill your containers with seed starting mix. Place one or two seeds on top of each container and gently push them down into the mix. Seeds should be covered 1/2 an inch deep.
Water the seeds thoroughly and keep them moist as the seeds are germinating. A spray bottle is the most convenient way to water seedlings because the fine spray won’t disturb the seeds. Once they’ve grown a bit, a small watering can is more practical.
Set the containers on a growing tray and place the whole thing on a heating pad to keep it warm and help the seeds germinate faster.
As soon as seedlings start to emerge, put the tray in front of a sunny window or under a grow light to make sure the plants get plenty of light.
Once seedlings have their first set of leaves, thin the plants to one per container.
Planting Nasturtium Seedlings Outside
Once the weather has warmed up, it’s time to get ready to move your seedlings out to the garden. First, harden off the plants by setting them outside for a few hours each day. Slowly increase the time the plants are outside until they’re staying out overnight. The whole process of hardening off takes about 1-2 weeks.
Once the plants are hardened off, prepare a spot in the garden and plant them.
To plant each seedling, dig a hole in the soil and gently remove your seedling from the pot. Try not to disturb the roots. Place the seedling gently in the hole and fill in around it with soil.
If you used a compostable pot, gently peel off the bottom of the pot before planting the pot in the ground.
Space plants about ten inches apart. Water thoroughly after planting and keep the soil moist for a few weeks while the plants get established.
Direct Sowing Nasturtium
If the weather is right, you can plant nasturtium seeds directly into the garden. Choose a sunny location to plant in after all danger of frost has passed.
Poke several small holes in the soil about 8-12 inches apart. Plant 1-2 nasturtium seeds in each hole. Cover the seeds with soil to about 1/2 inch deep.
Water thoroughly and keep the soil moist while seeds are germinating. Seeds will emerge in about a week.
When seedlings emerge, thin the plants to one in each spot. Leave about ten inches between each plant.
Caring for Nasturtium Plants
Nasturtium plants are easy to care for. They thrive without much attention at all, making it easy for us gardeners! There are a few things you can do to keep your plants healthy and get the most blooms.
Water nasturtiums about once a week. They can handle periods of drought but may not bloom as well. For the most plentiful blooms, keep the soil moist.
Deadheading isn’t essential but it does have some benefits. It improves the appearance of the plants and encourages them to keep producing flowers.
To deadhead nasturtiums, use garden shears to cut off old flower heads after they begin to fade.
What about Fertilizer?
Since nasturtiums prefer poor soil, fertilizing them isn’t necessary. In fact, too much fertilizer leads to excessive foliage at the expense of blooms so it’s best not to fertilize nasturtiums.
Wrapping up How to Plant Nasturtium
Planting nasturtium is simple and so rewarding! With these tips on how to plant nasturtium, your garden is sure to be in full bloom this summer.
To learn more about growing flowers from seed, visit the Seed Starting page on our website. We’ve put together all the resources you need to start a garden from seed, including how to grow dozens of different flowers, vegetables, and herbs. You’ll find information on planting, caring for seedlings, and much more to get your garden off to a great start.