A Comprehensive Guide on How to Grow Nasturtium from Seed
If you’re looking for a vibrant splash around your garden or want to add a peppery twist to your salads, nasturtiums are the perfect option. Known for their fiery blooms and easy-to-grow nature, these plants add a dash of magic wherever they are grown. So, why not start growing nasturtium from seed and bring a vibrant splash to your garden or home?
1. Understanding Nasturtium and Seed Selection
Growing a plant successfully starts from understanding its needs and characteristics. Nasturtium, with its dazzling flowers and trailing growth, is native to South America. The plant prefers a sunny spot and well-drained soil. When it comes to choosing nasturtium seeds, there’s a variety to pick from. Dwarf Jewel Mix, Alaska Mix, and Gleam Hybrids are among the popular ones.
Seeds can be purchased from local gardening stores or online. Make sure to choose a trusted seed brand for the best results. Remember, good-quality, healthy seeds are the cornerstone to a flourishing nasturtium plant.
2. Preparing the Seeds
Once you have your nasturtium seeds in hand, the next step is preparing them for planting. One technique that improves seed germination rate is scarification. This essentially involves gently filing the seed coat to allow water to penetrate more easily. Using nail clippers or a file, scratch the surface of the seeds being very careful not to damage the seed inside.
Next, soak the seeds in water for 12-24 hours. This process softens the hard coating of the seeds and speeds up the germination process. Ensure to change the water after a few hours to prevent any bacterial growth.
3. Planting the Seeds
Now you’re ready to sow your prepared nasturtium seeds. Choose a suitable potting mix – one that is well-draining. You can sow seeds directly in the garden or in containers; they’re not picky as long as they get ample sunlight. Cover the seeds with an inch of soil, water them gently, and wait for the magic to happen.
Remember to provide them with a support if you’re growing climbing varieties. A trellis or a few sticks can serve the purpose. It usually takes 7-10 days for nasturtium seeds to germinate. Water regularly, but avoid waterlogging as these plants prefer relatively dry conditions.
4. Caring for Nasturtium Plants
Once you see the first signs of life- the initial sprouting from the soil, you’ll need to provide your nasturtium plants with appropriate care. This includes regular watering, especially in dry conditions, but remember, nasturtiums prefer to remain on the drier side.
Also, while nasturtiums can tolerate a variety of soil conditions, they thrive in less fertile soil. Too much fertiliser will promote leafy growth at the expense of blooms. Pruning regularly helps to prevent overgrowth and encourages more flowering.
5. Enjoying and Utilizing Your Nasturtiums
Once nasturtiums start blooming, you’ll have a riot of colors in your garden. And the best part is, not just the flowers, but the leaves and seeds of nasturtiums are also edible. They add a peppery kick to salads and make a delightful garnish.
Additionally, nasturtiums are known for their companion planting benefits. They can help deter a variety of garden pests. They are ideal companions for vegetables like cabbage and tomatoes as they can lure pests away from these plants.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Nasturtiums Survive Winter?
Nasturtiums are frost-sensitive and do not winter well. In colder regions, it’s better to grow them annually. However, in milder climates, they can grow throughout the year.
2. When should I sow Nasturtium seeds?
You should sow nasturtium seeds in spring or early summer. They prefer warmth and will germinate when the soil temperature is around 15-18°C.
3. How can I use Nasturtium flowers in cooking?
Nasturtium flowers can be used to prepare vinegar, syrups, and can also be stuffed with cream cheese or guacamole for an elegant appetizer. Their leaves can be added to salads for a peppery zest.