Tropaeolum

Common name: Nasturtium

This hardy annual has a climbing/trailing habit, which makes it a useful subject for hanging baskets, and for covering trellis, fences and banks.

It can, if allowed, trail out to distances of 2-2½ metres (6-8ft)

The bright orange five petalled funnel shaped flowers appear in June and generally continue into September /October.

Most varieties of nasturtiums prefer to be grown in direct sunlight, but will tolerate partial shade.

They are prolific self seeders meaning that regular deadheading is required to keep this situation under control.

All parts of the plant are edible.

The flowers can add a bit of colour to a salad.

They have a slightly peppery taste reminiscent of watercress.

They will also add a seasoned flavour to a vegetable stir fry.

Nasturtiums are useful as companion plants, it is said that they repel a great many cucurbit pests,e.g. squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and several caterpillars.

They have a similar range of benefits for broccoli and cauliflower.

They also attract aphids, in particular blackfly, and are sometimes used as a trap to attract these aphids away from other susceptible plant varieties.

That is when the blackfly infests the nasturtium the plants are removed along with the infestation and destroyed.

Because the nasturtium plants attract aphids this attribute can encourage beneficial predatory insects that feed on aphids to come into the area.

Cultivation

Week 13: Sow the seeds in pots /trays of seed compost and germinate at 13°-16°C (55°-60°F)

Germination should about a week to ten days.

Week 16: When the seedlings are large enough to handle, pot them singly into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Gradually harden them off in a cold frame until planting out time.

Week 21: Plant out in a sunny site, in poorish soil.

Note, rich, moist soil can cause leaves to develop at the expense of flowers.





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