Are you looking for some new flowers for your garden? Have you considered planting nasturtium? These beautiful, cottage-core flowers will light up any living space and are perfect for an empty spot, whether it’s a corner in the garden or a window box.
But these flowers aren’t just good for aesthetics. They are one of the best companion plants for a vegetable and fruit garden, as they’re excellent insect repellents. Plus, they’re completely edible! The flowers come in the colors yellow, red, and orange. Hence, they look gorgeous on a fence!
This plant is native to central and south America and blooms from May to September. These winter annuals belong to the family Tropaeolaceae and their scientific name is Tropaeolum.
Gardeners have only now noticed that this plant has showy flowers that’ll spill beautifully over walls when used as edges and comes with a sweet scent. What more can a plant enthusiast want?
Types of Nasturtium
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There are three basic types of nasturtium:
This type is a small and bushy plant that grows up to 12 inches wide and 15 inches tall. They’re considered to be tidy plants as they stay where you plant them and don’t trail. If you’re looking for a flowering plant for a bed, border, or a tiny spot in the garden, this will be ideal.
These medium-sized varieties have vines that grow up to 3 feet long, which makes them the perfect plant for hanging baskets and pots.
This type has large vines that grow up to 12 feet long. These vines pull themselves upwards using leafstalks and are ideally planted next to a wall.
Varieties of Nasturtium
The following are some popular varieties of nasturtium:
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How to Plant Nasturtiums?
Nasturtium plants are usually started from seeds directly planted in the garden. It’s not a plant that transplants well. The seeds should be soaked as they have a large coating. You can soak it in lukewarm water overnight. This process is called nicking the seed.
Plant nasturtiums by keeping a couple of inches between each seed. This gives the root enough room to flourish in. Nasturtium plants can be mistaken for weeds and vice versa, which is why it is advised to label the seedlings. If the area you live in has a tropical climate, this means frost never comes. This means that you can plant them in the fall and get breathtaking blooms in winter.
How to Care for Nasturtiums?
Nasturtium plants are ideal for beginner gardeners because not only are they a treat to the eyes but they’re also extremely easy to grow and maintain. This flowering plant is great to start your gardening journey.
But certain care techniques must be applied to get maximum blooms. By following the instructions given below, you’ll achieve gorgeous, dramatic blooms:
Mulching is a process to keep the weeds down. Mulch is applied to the soil to maintain soil moisture, moderate soil temperatures, and protect bare soil.
Nasturtium plants require one inch of water per week. If the soil is left to dry, the plant will dehydrate and will stop blooming. But over-watering must be avoided as well, as it can lead to problems like root rot.
If you overfeed a Nasturtium, the plant will produce extra foliage and lesser blooms.
Deadheading is the process of removing old, faded flowers. This helps the plant focus its energy on new growth.
Nasturtiums prefer soil that is moist, but well-drained. If the soil has poor drainage, it will cause water to build up and make the soil soggy.
Light is a crucial element for the growth of any plant. Nasturtiums thrive in the full sun. six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day will be perfect.
Nasturtiums prefer around 70 degrees F daytime temperature, and they can even tolerate slight frost. But if they’re left in the cold for a long time, they’ll freeze to death.
If the humidity is too high or too low, your nasturtium might suffer. A humidity level between 30 and 50 percent will be ideal. If your plant is indoors, you can maintain the humidity using a humidifier.
Nasturtium as a Companion Plant
Nasturtium plants can be infested by pests like whitefly and cabbage caterpillars. Nasturtiums are also an excellent repellant for Japanese beetles. This is what makes them the perfect trap crop. They’re planted next to crops like tomatoes and the nasturtium attracts all the pests. This keeps the tomato crop safe and sound.
Spray the nasturtium with a hose to remove the aphid and whitefly, while the cabbage caterpillars can be easily picked by hand.
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