NASTURTIUM PLANT : Everything you need to know
Are you thinking of something versatile and attractive to plant in your landscape (garden) with some consumptive value too? Then probably Nasturtium varieties can be the best one for you!
Let’s try to explore all the facts on them related to how to grow, plant and care for them along with their benefits.
Nasturtium also called as Tropaeolum is a fascinating easy growing plant highly rich in vitamin C. This plant can be easily grown indoors and takes very little of your time to care and develop. They bloom with highly versatile vibrant flowers and their greener leaves make it more appealing.
These plants are the ordinary herbs but with high aesthetic values too apart from its culinary to medicinal benefits. All the parts (leaves, seed and flowers) are super beneficial to humans in many different ways. Mostly people only know nasturtiums for its pretty flowers and beautiful fragrances.
People often get confused in differentiating nasturtium with watercress. The perfect nasturtium that you might prefer in your backyards or flower garden could be Indian Cress (Tropaeolum).
It is better to sow the seeds of these plants rather than transplanting them because of their sensitive roots that might get damaged during transportation and create disturbance. If you are growing them indoors, make sure to sow the seeds 2 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost date. However, if you are growing outdoors sowing 1-2 weeks before will be more than enough.
Here are some simple steps that will guide you perfectly in growing these plants:
1. Site Preparation
– It’s very easy and less time consuming to prepare the suitable site for nasturtium as they generally don’t require an extra amount of nutrients (fertilizers) unless your soil is very poor.
– You could randomly sow your seeds but be aware to check if the soil is well-drained or not as it require well-drained soil.
– For better results, your planting site should be in a place where at least 6-8 hours of good sunlight is available( these can even grow on 3-6 hours of sunlight however the plants don’t bloom that well in that case).
2. Sowing Nasturtium Seeds
– The seeds should be sown about 10 – 12 inches apart and half inches deep into the soil.
– Plants will appear within 7-10 days.
3. Caring for the plants?
– Caring for these plants is as easy as growing them.
– All you have to check is if they are getting enough water and sunlight or not.
– Nasturtium plants can face drought but providing them water in their growing time is important but remember not to overwater.
– Cut the dead flowers during their growing process.
– In the case of growing them in containers, you need to keep trimming or thinning them for better foliage development during their growing phase.
– High heat can affect the flowers during summer so keep them hydrated but avoid overwatering.
4. Harvesting Nasturtium plants?
– Harvesting should always be done with the help of a scissors not with knife or hand plugging in order to avoid damage to the plant.
– You can start harvesting the leaves/flowers at any time however remember to harvest the seedpods before they get mature.
– If you want to replant your nasturtium, let the seedpods grow mature and use them to grow your favorite plants later again during spring.
– Store the seeds in a cold and dark place.
Since the nasturtium plants are edible and rich in vitamin C, they have even more health benefits that are described below:
– The traditional way of using these plants is in making tea and warm water tonics to treat colds and sore throats.
– This plant is highly rich in antioxidants and other nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron including vitamin C. A survey has found out that nasturtium contains 130 milligrams of vitamin C per 3.5 ounces serving.
– This edible species also help to strengthen the immune system.
– It contains about 45 milligrams of lutein per 100-gram serving that is the highest among any herb can provide. Lutein protects your eye and helps in skin health improving radical damage.
– These plants are found to have high easily digestible trace elements and bioactive compounds including Beta-carotene i.e. a form of vitamin A.
– High level of compounds like Anthocyanins and Polyphenols on this species promote treating of the respiratory and digestive systems related issues.
– The essential oils and compounds isolated from various parts of the Nasturtium plant have high antimicrobial, antifungal, hypotensive, and anticancer effects.
– The paste of nasturtium leaves can be used on your scalp to make your hair shiny and improve blood circulation.
– Since this plant has antiseptic properties, so this is considered as best for healing and cleaning all types of wound.
– This plant has a perfect solution to your stubborn acne at a very cheaper rate just by using the paste of its leaves.
– These are found to be rich in Tmajus ethanol Extractin(TME) that is believed to be best to treat obesity in human beings.
The other benefits of this plant that will generate insatiable desire in you to plant them are:
1. These edible species are very easy growing as they doesn’t require any kind of further nourishment apart from little amount of water and sunlight.
2. This plant attracts bugs thus, can be used as trap crops too.
3. These plants will left you in awe due to its mind-blowing aesthetic beauty beside its high medicinal values.
4. These also keeps the bugs away and protects your other favorite plants.
5. Bugs, insects and birds help in the pollination of several nasturtium seeds that your small garden has.
6. Sometimes cross-pollination may lead to some new type of growth as well which can have positive as well as negative aspects so should be little careful in that in case if you view something negative remove that species as soon as possible.
7. These plants reduce dominance of other additional weeds destroying your garden and make it very eco-friendly. Further getting rid of this plant is very easy than other weeds that may cause harm to your plants.
8. These are one of the versatile easy growing plants ever found which could be grown in poor soil too anywhere on ground or in hanging pots.
THINGS TO CARE ABOUT
Even though, this plant seems full of benefits but everything has 2 sides. Nasturtium plants are found to provide some sort of side effects. It is said to cause skin irritation and sometimes may upset your stomach or damage your kidney when used in higher quantity however there are yet no recorded evidential effects of it. So, recommended to not to take in high amount at a once.
How can we eat these plants?
– The smaller flowers that nasturtium grows can be eaten raw however there are some other ways it can be used in our daily routine too.
– The flowers can be chopped into small pieces and can be used as toppings of our salad
– The leaves of this species can directly be used as salad as well.
– The seedpods of nasturtium plants can be used as caper replication. These can be used in places where capers are used especially in pizza or salads.
The nasturtium seeds and leaves can also be used as;
1. Condiments when blended into smooth butter.
2. The flowers can be used to garnish our food to make it look more tasty and attractive.
3. The flower, and the leaves of this plant, can be used with sea salt to make it look more beautiful that also provides you a peppery flavor. Other ways to use it are by drying, crushing, and adding them.
4. Alcohol and vinegar can be infused with nasturtium flowers for a new unique and better taste and look.
5. The leaves can be used to replace spinach in a complete or partial way.
Problems that Nasturtium can suffer from (Pests and Diseases)?
Although this plant has multiple benefits and easy growing process but after all it’s a plant and there are still few problems it suffers;
1. Aphids and other bugs:
Most people plant nasturtium to protect their other plants from aphids and white bugs and this sometime leads themselves in trouble.
Symptoms: misshapen, curled, stunted, or yellow leaves, deformation of plant growth.
Solutions: Cutting off the colonies of aphids visiting your plant bed every 2-3 days and then feed it to the chickens or bury them or burn them. Another easy way to protect them from it is to spray the mild solution of dish soap and water.
2. Wilting of leaves
Sometimes lack of watering or disease attack to your favorite plant may cause wilting of leaves.
Symptoms: Curling of leaves, yellowish-white color on leaves, dying out of plants.
Solutions: Keep your soil moist evenly and do not let it dry out. Adding nitrogenic organic fertilizer to your soil can be helpful too.
Hope you have been able to generate handful knowledge on this species of great biological importance and will practice planting it soon by the way mentioned above. Don’t forget to share your results and how you feel after planting Nasturtium in your home garden. Thank you! keep reading and keep supporting us!