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Gardening Articles: Flowers :: Annuals

Durable, Delectable Nasturtiums (page 2 of 3)

by Charlie Nardozzi

How to Grow Nasturtiums

How to Grow Nasturtiums

Not only are nasturtiums versatile and colorful, but they also are easy to grow and thrive on neglect. The large seeds germinate within a week and begin to flower about a month later, making them great choices for children or beginning gardeners. Sow in the garden about a week before the last frost date for your area. They can also be started indoors, but their taproots make them difficult to transplant. If you do grow them indoors, start them in peat pots, and when roots show through the pots' drainage holes, transplant the seedlings into the garden still in their pots.

Nasturtiums love cool, damp conditions and flower best in full sun. However, mine have also done well in part shade. In hot-summer areas, provide some afternoon shade, or cut them back in midsummer and allow the plants to regrow for a fall flower show.

For best flowering, grow nasturtiums in well-drained soil. They don't like excessive fertilization, especially nitrogen. If the soil is too rich, the plants will respond with large leaves and fewer flowers. Aphids are the main pests, but they seldom harm the plants unless it's a major infestation. Check the undersides of leaves for aphids, and eliminate them by spraying the plants with insecticidal soap.

Some Favorites

  • 'Apricot Twist' 3-4 ft. Apricot-orange splashed with raspberry red Camellia-like double flowers.
  • Canary creeper (T. peregrinum) 8-10 ft. Canary yellow, fringed 1-2 in. across. Unique five-lobed, 2-in. leaves on a vigorous climbing vine.
  • Glorious Gleam mix 6-8 ft. Mix includes gold, scarlet, and orange. Vigorous rambling vines can be trained as climbers; All-America winner.
  • 'Hermine Grashoff' 3-4 ft. Red-orange. Camellia-like double flowers.
  • Jewel of Africa mix 4-6 ft. Mix includes yellow, red, cream, and pink. Variegated leaves on trailing vines.
  • 'Moonlight' 7 ft. Pale yellow. Unusual color.
  • Tall Trailing mix 8-10 ft. Mix includes rose, yellow, and orange. Most vigorous of trailing types; can be trained to climb.
  • 'Empress of India' 1-2 ft. Bright scarlet. Blue-green leaves, large 2 1/2-in. flowers; somewhat trailing habit.
  • 'Peach Melba' 10 in. Cream with raspberry red throat. Bicolor flowers
  • 'Salmon Baby' 12 in. Salmon. Striking flower color.
  • 'Strawberries & Cream' 12 in. Pale yellow with splashes of strawberry red. Bicolor flowers.
  • Tip Top Alaska mix 10 in. Mixed yellow, crimson, orange, cherry, and salmon. Variegated leaves.
  • Whirlybird mix 12 in. Available as a mix or separate colors such as cream, salmon, gold, and cherry rose. Semidouble, 2 1/2-inch flowers face upward.

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