The Q&A Archives: My Nasturtiums are falling over in their pots

Question: I am extremely new to gardening & have very poor soil in my yard - so I've been doing alot of container planting. I sowed my nasturtium seeds in pots & they came up great - then I transplanted them to larger pots. Most of them are doing fine - but the ones that grew really fast & tall are starting to bend over, wilt & die. Do I need to stake the remaining upright plants in their pots or just leave them alone & see if they make it? Also - I keep getting conflicting info on whether they are a full sun or partial sun plant so I've placed pots in both locations & the ones that are getting only part sun seem to be doing way better than the full-sun plants, yet the seed package says full sun. I really need an answer as I've also sowed some Bachelors Button(not transplanted yet) & I understand they grow to be a pretty tall plant as well. Stake or not to stake the Bachelor's Button? Thanks in advance. Susan Hedrick(zone 5)

Answer: Nasturtiums do grow in full sunshine but new plants may be overly sensitive to direct sunshine. Sometimes it's easier on new little seedlings to be gradually exposed to full sun. I'd put the trays or pots outside in an area that recieves morning sun and afternoon shade, then move them into an area that gets morning and noon sun but protection from afternoon sun, then finally move them to a full sun site. This will allow the foliage to acclimate to the growing conditions. Nasturitums vary in their growth habits. There are trailing or climbing kinds and compact, bush, dwarf kinds which grow about 18" high and wide. If you have the trailing kinds, expect them to flop over and crawl along the ground. They look terrific if allowed to cascade down a wall. You can stake the trailing, climbing kinds to make them grow upright. The compact kinds will form a dense little plant without the long stems.

Bachelor's Buttons will grow tall and the stems are not always strong enough to hold themselves upright. You can use bamboo stakes - just install them in the planting hole when you plant your Bachelor's Buttons and gently tie the stems to the stakes.

Best wishes with your new annuals!

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