Growing Nasturtiums

Latest Update 16th October 2016.

  • I grow nasturtiums as a companion plant for apple and pear trees.
  • I also eat the leaves and flowers for their health giving properties.
  • They attract pollinators, but deter leaf eating insects, and they look good.

  • Binomial Name:                                       Tropaeolum majus.
  • Family:                                                   Tropaeolaceae.
  • Garden bed type:                                     Drip line irrigated. 
  • Plant Spacings (centres):                          500mm. 
  • Climate:                                                  Warm Temperate.
  • Geography:                                             Southern Hemisphere. 
Growing Conditions:
  • They need full sun.  
  • Minimise soil disturbances to maintain a natural soil structure. 
  • Highly fertile soil will result in less flowers and more lush leaf growth.
  • They will propagate from seed best in soil fertilised the previous season for other flowering plants.
  • They are propagated from seed and will self seed endlessly in the same spot or wherever it's seeds manage to get to.
  • All parts of the plant are edible. 
Feed the Soil.  
    Do not feed the soil every year for Nasturtiums.  They will grow healthy and lush but with few flowers.  It's better to sow new seed every year in soil fertilised for a previous crop.
Growing Instructions  
  • They can be propagated by sowing seed, and will self seed once established.
  • Dont remove or dead head the flowers unless you are harvesting them, they will set seed and replace themselves every year.
  • Spray the foliage with aerated compost tea every month when the edible plants are sprayed.
Organic Pest Control.
  • Caterpillars. 
    • I use aerated compost tea as a foliar spray on all my ornamental plants.  It strengthens foliage and provides a biological barrier to plant pathogens.
    • As a last resort use bacillus thuringiensis (Dipel in Australia) as a foliar spray it becomes a potent (organically certified) killer of caterpillars.  When ingested by leaf eating caterpillars it kills them by releasing toxins into their gut.  They stop feeding and die within a few days.
  • General:
    • Regular foliar sprays of aerated compost tea boosts the natural defences of plants by colonising the leaf surfaces with beneficial microbes.  These microbes defend the plant against airborne pests and diseases.
    • Similarly, proper soil preparation including annual applications of home made compost boosts the community of beneficial microbes, which defend the plant's roots against pathogens.

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