nasturtiums will take over your garden

Perhaps you have heard that nasturtiums are a great addition in the garden. They are said to be a ideal companion plant that attracts beneficial insects – especially pollinators. The leaves, blossoms and seeds are edible, too. Then there are the brilliant gem colored blossoms that are quite easy on the eye.

flower nasturtium (2)

What’s not to love?

Well, as it turns out nasturtiums can get really big. Enormous, actually. So large that they can crowd out an entire bed. Grower beware! My poor plants never knew what hit them. But, I know. It was the nasturtium plants that ended up being more than 2m/6ft long and 60cm/2 feet tall.

There are 5 tomato plants in there...
There are 5 tomato plants in there…

The flowers took over the Manitoba tomato beds and the pepper/eggplant beds. Of course, they were beautiful and the bees LOVED the plants, but I was so looking forward to boatloads of hot peppers and enough Manitobas to make buckets worth of sauce. I was wrong on both accounts. The poor heat loving plants just weren’t able to produce as much as I would have liked without full sun. Ah well.

nasturtium overgrown
nasturtium 2000

And I honestly had no idea that nasturtiums could be so gigantic or invasive. The plants that I have produced runners that not only enveloped the beds they where they were planted, but have started to take over the next bed over. The seed packet said that the plants should be grown in a 30cm2/1ft 2 space.

Lies – bold faced lies!

But, I am not really complaining. I think it has been a great learning experience and now I can save a whole bunch of seeds (see: saving nasturtium seeds: so easy a drunk person could do it).  Plus, they do add a nice pop of color in an otherwise green garden (not that green is bad!).

What I know now is that nasturtiums should not be planted in locations with nutrient rich soil. This was the cause of their gigantic stature. Instead, the plants are quite capable of growing in poor soil conditions and I would strongly recommend that be where they are grown. That or with heavy feeding plants, such as members of the Brassica family.

the nasturtiums that were grown with broccoli...
the nasturtiums that were grown with broccoli are a reasonable size…

And one last consideration – each of the nasturtium blossoms produces 3 seeds.  When the plants are so large, it is nearly impossible to collect them all.  As such, nasturtiums can easily reseed in the garden.  This can be good or bad, depending on what you are going for!

nasturtium seeds
3 seeds per blossom

4 thoughts on “nasturtiums will take over your garden

  1. Nasturtium are beautiful and their leaves are good in salads. They have a peppery taste. Chop them finely and sprinkle on soups. Once you start eating them, they stay in control. They are a great addition to a French potager style garden. Save seed for winter and sprout them inside. They do well in a sunny window and provide fresh greens.

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