5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (2024)

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (1)

Nasturtiums are an extremely useful and attractive flowering plant that deserve a space in every garden.

This is the common name for Tropaeolum – the only genus in the plant family Tropaeolaceae.

These flowers gained their common name because of their similarity to watercress (Nasturtium officinale).

As you will learn in this article, there are plenty of reasons to grow nasturtiums in your garden – they are incredibly useful in the garden itself, and also when harvested for culinary use.

Read on to learn more.

How To Grow Nasturtiums

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (2)

Nasturtiums can be sown inside in pots or outside where they are to grow between March and May. They will flower from summer through to the autumn.

Nasturtiums are very easy to grow from seed and are hassle free, especially if you are not in a rush and just direct sow as soon as the risk of frost has passed in your area.

If you want to get earlier blooms then you can start the seeds indoors, though to prevent transplant shock it is best to grow them in biodegradable containers (toilet roll tubes work well) so you can just pop the whole thing into the garden.

The large seeds are easy to handle and so are the perfect way to introduce children to gardening.

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (3)

Nasturtium seeds will germinate in a sunny spot in 10-12 days. Remember to harden off plants grown inside before planting them out.

Where to Place Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums will prefer a sunny and relatively sheltered spot.

Nasturtiums will thrive even in relatively poor quality soil as long as they are watered regularly. Try to keep the area around them free of weeds to reduce competition, and do not over-fertilize as fertile soil can cause plants to produce fewer blooms and more foliage.

Caring for Nasturtiums

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (4)

Theseplants are fairly hardy but make sure that you water them well duringdry weather. Pay attention to watering, especially with plants inpots or window boxes, which can dry out more quickly. Let the soildry between waterings but not too much or for too long.

Cuttingoff finished or faded flowers will encourage the plant to keepblooming for longer throughout the growing season. As you will learnlater, however, you may wish to harvest the flowers (and leaves) fora range of culinary uses rather than allowing them to fade.

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums in Your Garden

Nasturtiums are an attractive plant that can bloom abundantly. They can bring colour and visual appeal to your garden. But there are also a number of very practical reasons why growing these flowers is a good idea.

You can, for example, use nasturtiums to:

1. Attract Beneficial Insects

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (5)

Nasturtiums will attract a range of beneficial insects to your garden – including bees and other pollinators.

Adding nasturtiums in your outside space is one way to help honey bees and other bee species that are under threat due to climate change and human activity.

We need bees for our very survival on this planet. So it is vitally important that as gardeners and growers, we all do our part to protect and aid them. Of course, having pollinators in your garden will also help make sure you get a great fruit harvest each year, if you grow your own food.

2. As A Companion Plant For Your Fruits & Veggies

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It is not only pollinators that will be attracted to nasturtiums. These plants also attract pest insect species such as aphids, weevils and beetles making the nasturtiums a brilliant companion plant in the vegetable garden.

This might not immediately seem like a good thing – but since these pests are attracted to the nasturtiums, they will leave your fruits, vegetables or other crops alone. Nasturtiums, therefore, are known as a trap crop.

As a trap crop, they are an excellent choice for keeping pests away from beans, tomatoes, fruiting trees and brassicas (plants in the cabbage family).

You can learn all about trap crops and how to use them in your garden here.

How to Utilize Trap Crops To Save Your Garden From Pests

Anotherthing to bear in mind is that by attracting their prey, and in otherways, nasturtiums are also excellent at attracting predatory insects,which will help to keep pest populations in check.

Nasturtiums act as a brilliant companion plant for squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits because their smell repels or confuses many of the common pests by which these plants are bothered.

3. For Ground Cover

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Companionplanting is not an exact science, and the many ways in which plantsinteract with one another and with garden wildlife is not entirelyunderstood. Nonetheless, it is clear that nasturtiums can help otherplants through their interactions with various insect species.

But this is not the only way in which nasturtiums can help nearby plants.

These drought-tolerant plants can also be excellent ground cover. This can be extremely beneficial – especially in drier, warmer areas, as it will reduce moisture evaporation and help to protect the fragile soil ecosystem. Their thick coverage and quick spread can also help crowd out weeds.

Asground cover, nasturtiums can also be used to feed poor soil overtime. When used as a sort of green manure, these plants can improvethe soil in a given area by adding nutrients when left to decomposein place at the end of the growing season, or chopped and dropped.

4. To Cover Unsightly Walls or Fences

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The quick growing nasturtium can also be handy to improve the visual appeal of your garden, as it can be used to trail down unsightly walls or fences.

This can turn an unattractive and useless part of your space into a beautiful and bountiful part of the garden.

5. For Their Yield

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Many people are surprised to learn that nasturtiums are edible.

These plants not only aid other plants in your kitchen garden, they can also be an incredibly useful edible crop in their own right.

As an edible crop, these plants can really justify their place in your kitchen garden.

The flowers, leaves and flower buds can all be used in a wide range of recipes. Some of the best examples are given below:

10 Edible Recipes Using Nasturtium Leaves, Flowers & Seeds

Theseare just some of the best ways to use nasturtiums in your kitchen:

1. Nasturtium Salads

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (10)

One of the easiest and most obvious ways to eat nasturtium flowers and leaves, which have a peppery, watercress-like taste, is in salads.

Their peppery bite is perfect when paired with milder lettuce or other leaves, and you can even enliven your salad with a nasturtium vinaigrette. (This can be made, if you wish, with a nasturtium vinegar – like the one described below.)

Nasturtium Salad with Nasturtium Vinaigrette @ KitchenLane.com

2. Nasturtium & Black Pepper Vinegar

Both the flowers and leaves can also used to infuse vinegar.

This example uses white wine vinegar as the base, though you could also consider using a home-made apple cider vinegar for this purpose.

This vinegar can be added to a range of cooked dishes for peppery tang, or used to make a vinaigrette to grace a wide range of home-grown salads.

Peppery Nasturtium Vinegar @ EdibleCommunities.com

3. Nasturtium Stir Fry

Nasturtium leaves also lend themselves well to a range of stir fry recipes – so you can use them to whip up an impressive meal in next to no time.

Slightly wilted, the leaves lose a little of their fiery watercress flavour, and become a far more versatile and nicely flavoured green leaf vegetable.

4. Nasturtium Pesto

5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (11)

Leaves can also be used in the same way as basil and other popular herbs to make a somewhat less-traditional pesto.

You can use your pesto in sandwiches, pasta, or to add flavour to a wide range of other dishes.

Nasturtium Pesto @ GardenBetty.com

5. Nasturtium Soup

There are also plenty of soup recipes that include nasturtium.

The leaves, blended with other ingredients, can be used for their watercress pepperiness as the star of the show, or simply added to a mixed vegetable soup as a pot herb or additional leafy green. One great soup recipe can be found below.

Nasturtium Soup @ LarderLove.com

6. Nasturtium Omelette

Another idea is to add those leaves and flowers to an omelette – or, by extension, to any other egg-based dish, such as a quiche or a frittata.

An example of a delicious omelette can be found here:

Herbed Omelette with Griddled Zucchini, Halloumi & Nasturtiums @ TheSeasonalTable.co.uk

7. Nasturtium Fritters

Like so much other home-grown garden produce, nasturtiums can also be turned into delicious fritters.

Nasturtium Chickpea Batter Fritters @ Victory Gardens For Bees

8. Nasturtium Dolmades

The leaves can grow rather large later in the growing season. These can be used in the same way that you might use vine leaves or cabbage leaves – to wrap other ingredients – as in these dolmades.

Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves @ Attainable Sustainable

9. Nasturtium Pizza

Or, for a super easy family meal, you could consider simply adding some to the top of a pizza.

Nasturtium White Pizza @ Healthfully Ever After

10. Caper Substitute

Nasturtium seed pods can also be used as a caper substitute.

Nasturtium Capers @ SplendidTable.org

Make Room For Nasturtiums

Whether you grow nasturtiums for their visual beauty or benefits for your garden, or if you plan to turn your nasturtiums into one of the above delicious recipes, there’s no doubt you should make room for this versatile flower in your garden.

Get yourself this pack of 350 nasturtium seeds and enjoy growing these beautiful flowers for yourself.

Read for more ways to use this delicious flower.

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5 Reasons To Grow Nasturtiums & 10 Delicious Nasturtium Recipes (2024)


Why should I grow nasturtiums? ›

Nasturtiums are plants that are often used as trap crops for attracting aphids or squash bugs. Nasturtium companion plants can draw such pests away from vegetable plants like tomato and squash. They also attract good bugs such as pollinators and hoverflies, a predator of common pests like aphids.

What are the benefits of eating nasturtiums? ›

The nasturtium contains a lot of vitamin C, providing excellent protection against colds. The flowers are a delicious, edible decoration. Because their taste is much mellower, they are often used to garnish desserts or sweets. It is certainly worth growing nasturtium at home.

Where is the best place to plant nasturtiums? ›

Nasturtiums need sunshine for at least half the day in order to grow well. A free-draining soil is essential; nasturtiums flower best on poor soils. Fertile soil results in lots of leafy growth at the expense of flowers and flowers that are buried beneath the foliage.

Does nasturtium come back every year? ›

In most parts of the United States, nasturtiums are planted as annuals so they will die after a freeze. However, they self-seed freely so you may have plants returning when the soil warms in the spring. In warm climates—zones 9-11—nasturtiums are perennial and will return from year to year.

What plants benefit from nasturtium? ›

Nasturtium companion planting works particularly well with several vegetables, including Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and beans. They are also great companions for squash, acting as a trap crop for pests like squash bugs and cucumber beetles. Planting nasturtium seeds under fruit trees is another great strategy.

What plants do nasturtiums help? ›

Since nasturtium is known to help repel insects, it is naturally a good choice for growing near your cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, and various species of melons. Nasturtiums will help to deter many of the most troublesome pests, including cucumber beetles, vine borers, and squash bugs.

Who should not eat nasturtium? ›

Children: Nasturtium is LIKELY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth. There isn't enough reliable information to know if nasturtium is safe for children when applied to the skin. Stomach or intestinal ulcers: Don't take nasturtium if you have stomach or intestinal ulcers. It might make ulcers worse.

Is nasturtium a natural antibiotic? ›

- DID YOU KNOW... They are one of THE most powerful antibacterial plants readily available, the leaves,flowers and seeds are all edible and have a beautiful slightly warm peppery taste.

Can you eat nasturtium leaves raw? ›

Some flowers have leaves that are edible and can be used to add flavor or color to salads or other dishes, while others may be poisonous or inedible. For example, the leaves of nasturtiums, pansies, and violets are all edible and can be used as a garnish or as an addition to salads.

What is the best month to plant nasturtium? ›

Since they are very sensitive to cold temperatures, do not plant nasturtiums outdoors until after the last frosts have passed, roughly in mid-May. If you want to start nasturtiums inside, you can sow them indoors as early as mid-April. Nasturtiums need darkness to germinate, so cover the seeds with about 2cm of soil.

What month do you plant nasturtiums? ›

Plant nasturtiums in well-drained soil in full sun. They will grow in partial shade but will not bloom well under those conditions. Sow seed directly in the garden in late spring to early summer once all danger of frost has passed or start indoors in peat pots 4-6 weeks before the average date of last frost.

Can nasturtiums grow in hot weather? ›

Nasturtiums do best in cool climates with a good amount of sun but this adaptable plant can tolerate high heat and poor soil as well. Both the leaves and flowers are edible raw and add a sweet and spicy kick to salads.

Are nasturtiums poisonous to dogs? ›

Garden nasturtiums are a vibrant addition to any garden, but dog owners might worry about their pets snacking on these plants. While nasturtiums are not toxic to dogs, preventing ingestion is still a smart move to avoid any potential stomach upset.

How big will one nasturtium plant get? ›

Semi-trailing nasturtium varieties are medium-sized plants with vines that grow 2 to 3 feet long, making them ideal for baskets or pots. They look lovely trailing over the edges of the container. Climbing nasturtium varieties are large plants that grow vines reaching as tall as 12 feet.

How long do nasturtiums live? ›

How long do nasturtium plants live? In most climates, nasturtiums are considered an annual and only last for one growing season.

Do nasturtiums keep bugs away? ›

Nasturtium repels whiteflies, squash bugs, aphids, several beetles, and cabbage loopers. This one will help other plants in your garden, too. It produces an airborne chemical that repels insects, protecting not only themselves but other plants in the grouping.

Do nasturtiums help the soil? ›

Nasturtiums will break down and decompose at the end of their life, adding nutrients to your soil. Nasturtiums are especially useful under fruit or feature trees where they can be grown as a living carpet of mulch producing lots of leaves where soil is well fertilised.

Where should I plant nasturtium in my vegetable garden? ›

They prefer sandy soils but do fine anywhere as long as it's a well-draining area. Usually the poorer a soil is, the more flowers you'll get. Full sun to part shade is the best exposure for nasturtiums. Plant nasturtiums in the early spring and by June you'll have blossoms for salads.

Will nasturtiums choke out other plants? ›

They are a Xeriscape plant, so ideal for a dry spot you want a pop of colour or for everyone that forgets to water their hanging baskets! Most vine like crazy, and they will climb, but don't choke out others.

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