Originally from South America, Nasturtium is said to have been brought to Spain by Nicholas Monardes in the 17th century. Nasturtiums dominated European gardens immediately after their introduction. Nasturtium blooms come in various colors, including yellow, orange, red, and maroon.
It’s worth noting that nasturtiums were once considered vegetables rather than flowers.
Growing Conditions for Alaska Nasturtium
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If you want to spice up your garden with Alaska nasturtium, note that they are very easy to grow. They thrive in cool, warm climates.
They also prefer full sun or light shade for dwarf varieties. Plant them two weeks before the last expected frost date or grow them from transplants. These plants grow well in containers mixed with other plants.
Despite nasturtiums’ ability to thrive in sandy soils with less organic matter, for the best results cultivate them in well-drained soils rich in organic matter.
Remember, however, that the less fertilizer you use, the more flowers you’ll produce, and more fertilizer results in more leaves. Ensure that Nasturtiums are watered moderately once they are established.
Alaska nasturtiums also do well in containers making them good choices indoors.
Is nasturtium edible? Absolutely! The stems, leaves, flowers, and young seed pods of this plant are edible. The most distinctive feature of Nasturtiums is their peppery flavor, which is strongest in seeds and lighter in flowers, though the leaves also have a slightly bitter taste.
Flowers: Nasturtium flowers come in different shades. They are best picked in the morning. Wash the flowers thoroughly and dry them on a paper towel. Flowers make an eye-catching addition to leafy salads.
Stems: The stems of the nasturtium are crisp and resemble fresh chives. Others use the stems of this plant as an alternative to chives in recipes.
Seeds: Avoid picking mature seeds when they have already dried out as their seed is very hard and unpleasant.
Leaves: The leaves of the nasturtium are also edible and taste like a lot of salad greens with a distinct peppery bite. Even though smaller leaves are good for salads, larger ones are best for stuffing. For the best flavor, pick leaves when they are green and soft. This is a time when they have the strongest flavor.
The nasturtium, like other plants, has long been used in traditional medicine. The stem part is usually used as it contains anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.
Nasturtiums have been used to treat swollen airways, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, and cough.
Sometimes nasturtium is applied directly to the skin to alleviate mild muscular pain. It has been reported to have been used in the treatment of acne.
Note that nasturtium contains mustard oil which can irritate mucosal membranes in some people.
In Europe, Alaska nasturtiums were one of the first plants from the New World to gain popularity in flower gardens. The plant was introduced as a vegetable, not a flower. An easy-to-grow annual, nasturtium is great for adding a splash of color to the flower garden or indoors in containers.
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