Growing Guide
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Annual Flower, Herb

Also known as Garden Nasturtium, Indian Cress
Tropaeolum majus
Tropaeolaceae Family
Synonym: Tropaeolum nanum

Nasturtium's orange, yellow or red flowers provide powerful garden color, while the round leaves (variegated in some varieties) provide foliar interest. Flowers also add zest and flavor to salads. Prefers warm, dry conditions.

Site Characteristics
  • full sun

Soil conditions:

  • tolerates droughty soil
  • requires well-drained soil
  • tolerates low fertility
Prefers poor, sandy soil. Overly rich soil deters flowering.

Special locations:

  • outdoor containers
Plant Traits

Lifecycle: annual

Ease-of-care: easy

Height: 0.8 to 1.5 feet

Spread: 0.8 to 1.5 feet

Bloom time:

  • early summer
  • mid-summer
  • late summer
  • early fall
  • mid-fall

Flower color:

  • red
  • orange
  • yellow

Flowers are vividly colored, either in single shades of these basic colors, or striped/mottled.

Foliage color:

  • medium green
  • variegated

Bright green. Some varieties have white or cream colored variegation.

Foliage texture: coarse

Round leaves look like small umbrellas.


  • cushion, mound or clump
  • climbing / vine

Some varieties are vining while others form mounds.

Shape in flower: same as above

Special Considerations
Special uses:
  • cut flowers
  • edible flowers
  • edible landscaping - Leaves and flowers have a spicy flavor and can be used in salads and soups and as garnishes.
  • direct-seeding
Growing Information
How to plant:

Propagate by seed - Plant seeds outdoors where desired after frost danger has passed, or start them indoors 4 weeks before the last frost date. Indoor sowing is not recommended, as Nasturtiums do not transplant well. The seeds need darkness to germinate.

Germination temperature: 55 F to 65 F

Days to emergence: 7 to 10

Maintenance and care:
Train vining varieties onto supports.

More growing information: How to Grow Annuals

Spider mites
Tarnished plant bug
Bacterial leaf spot
Bacterial wilt
Fungal leaf spot
Look for varieties with different flower colors/striping/mottling, various foliage colors, and vining or mound-forming shapes.

'Whirybird' Series: 1’ tall bushy plants with semi-double flowers in shades of pink, yellow, red and orange. Flowers do not have the typical Nasturtium spur which forces them to rest at angles on their stem. Flowers sit flat on stem tops and are ruffled and showy.

'Alaska' Series: 1’ tall plants with green leaves mottled with white/cream.

‘Tom Thumb Mixed’: dwarf variety (8 to 10” tall) with bright yellow, red and orange flowers on compact, mounded plants.

‘Jewel Mixed’: glowing shades of red, pink, yellow and orange flowers over compact, mounded green leaves.

‘Tip Top Alaska’ Series: an improved version of 'Alaska' Series. Green leaves are mottled and spotted with creamy white, flowers are bright shades of yellow, red and orange.

'Empress of India': burgundy-green leaves and crimson flowers on 1' tall plants.