Department of Horticulture New York State Horticulture Study Guide for Youth 4-H Logo


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Cornell University

Garden Nasturtium
Tropaeolum majus
(tro-pay-o-lum may-jus)

What about it?

Nasturtium is an annual plant native to South America that will grow up to 12 inches tall. It has leaves from 2-7 inches across with 9 primary veins radiating from the petiole. The exotic-looking flowers are 1-3 inches in size and come in shades of yellow, red, scarlet, maroon, creamy-white, or vari-colored. The plant and flowers are edible, have a very spicy-hot taste, and make a great addition to a salad.

What is it used for?

The compact dwarf sized nasturtiums are used for edging and borders, while the vining varieties are used in hanging baskets or as a covering for bare banks and stumps. It has a long blooming period.

Where does it grow? How do we grow it?

Nasturtiums prefer a sandy, dry soil and full sun. They do best with little fertilizer- this encourages the flowers to remain above the foliage. They should be planted 6-12 inches apart.

What are its primary problems?

Aphids can be a problem for nasturtiums.

How do we propagate it?

Sow the seeds outdoors when the danger of frost has passed.

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Copyright, Department of Horticulture, Cornell University.