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Garden Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus

Previously known as:

  • Nasturtium officinale
Phonetic Spelling
tro-pay-OH-lum MAY-jus
Description

Tropaeolum majus is a warm-weather annual with long stems, parasol-like leaves, and spurred 5-petaled flowers.  It is popular in various types of gardens.  Available in both climbing and bushy forms.  The bushy dwarf types range from 12" tall and 2' wide.  Those are a great choice for beds, borders, ground covers, rock gardens or other mass plantings.  The climbing types that can grow up to 10' tall can quickly cover fences, trellises, and banks.  

The genus name comes from the Greek word tropaion meaning a trophy and the Latin word tropaeum named by Linnaeus for its resemblance to a classical trophy.

It grows best in poor to average, well-drained soil in full sun, but with some afternoon shade in hot summers. Fertilizing will increase foliage, however, will also decrease flowering. 

It is tolerant of both drought and neglect.

Leaves, buds, flowers, pods, and seeds are edible with a spicy, peppery taste. Flowers are a colorful addition to salads, and seeds can be used as a substitute for capers.  The buds contain mustard oil and are used as a seasoning.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Watch for aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Self-seeding can cause the plant to spread.  

More information on Tropaeolum.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alaska Hybrids'
    Dwarf-bushy, up to 12” tall, with white spotted leaves
  • 'Cherry Rose Jewel'
    Rose colored blooms, semi-double. Compact. 12-18"
  • 'Double Gleam Hybrids'
    Semi-double, fragrant, semi-trailing. 12"
  • 'Empress of India'
    Crimson/purple, compact, 12"
  • 'Gleam Hybrids'
    Mixed color, double green semi-trailing, 2"
  • 'Hermine Grasshof'
    Red, double green compact, 9-12"
  • 'Jewel Hybrids'
    Mixed color, marbled vine to 8'
  • 'Jewel of Africa'
    Climbing up to 8' tall. Red, yellow, orange, and cream flowers. white spotted leaves
  • 'Moonlight'
    Light yellow, green vine to 6'
  • 'Park's Fragrant Giants'
    Mixed colors, green trailing vine
  • 'Peach Melba'
    Yellow, red blotched, green, compact to 12"
  • 'Salmon Baby'
    Salmon pink, fringed green, compact to 12"
  • 'Strawberries and Cream'
    Yellow red blotched, green compact, 9-12"
  • 'Strawberry Ice'
    Gold, red blotched, bluish foliage, compact to 9"
  • Tip Top Hybrids'
    Mixed color, green foliage, compact to 8"
  • 'Tom Thumb Hybrids'
    Mixed color, green foliage, 8-10"
  • 'Whirlybird Cream'
    Creamy yellow, semi-double, green foliage, compact, 9-12"
  • 'Whirlybird Hybrids'
    Mixed color, semi-double, green foliage, compact, 9-12"
'Alaska Hybrids', 'Cherry Rose Jewel', 'Double Gleam Hybrids', 'Empress of India', 'Gleam Hybrids', 'Hermine Grasshof', 'Jewel Hybrids', 'Jewel of Africa', 'Moonlight', 'Park's Fragrant Giants', 'Peach Melba', 'Salmon Baby', 'Strawberries and Cream', 'Strawberry Ice', Tip Top Hybrids', 'Tom Thumb Hybrids', 'Whirlybird Cream', 'Whirlybird Hybrids'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#edible plant#white flowers#pink flowers#edible flowers#fall interest#summer flowers#deer resistant#spring interest#edible seeds#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible stems#dry soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alaska Hybrids'
    Dwarf-bushy, up to 12” tall, with white spotted leaves
  • 'Cherry Rose Jewel'
    Rose colored blooms, semi-double. Compact. 12-18"
  • 'Double Gleam Hybrids'
    Semi-double, fragrant, semi-trailing. 12"
  • 'Empress of India'
    Crimson/purple, compact, 12"
  • 'Gleam Hybrids'
    Mixed color, double green semi-trailing, 2"
  • 'Hermine Grasshof'
    Red, double green compact, 9-12"
  • 'Jewel Hybrids'
    Mixed color, marbled vine to 8'
  • 'Jewel of Africa'
    Climbing up to 8' tall. Red, yellow, orange, and cream flowers. white spotted leaves
  • 'Moonlight'
    Light yellow, green vine to 6'
  • 'Park's Fragrant Giants'
    Mixed colors, green trailing vine
  • 'Peach Melba'
    Yellow, red blotched, green, compact to 12"
  • 'Salmon Baby'
    Salmon pink, fringed green, compact to 12"
  • 'Strawberries and Cream'
    Yellow red blotched, green compact, 9-12"
  • 'Strawberry Ice'
    Gold, red blotched, bluish foliage, compact to 9"
  • Tip Top Hybrids'
    Mixed color, green foliage, compact to 8"
  • 'Tom Thumb Hybrids'
    Mixed color, green foliage, 8-10"
  • 'Whirlybird Cream'
    Creamy yellow, semi-double, green foliage, compact, 9-12"
  • 'Whirlybird Hybrids'
    Mixed color, semi-double, green foliage, compact, 9-12"
'Alaska Hybrids', 'Cherry Rose Jewel', 'Double Gleam Hybrids', 'Empress of India', 'Gleam Hybrids', 'Hermine Grasshof', 'Jewel Hybrids', 'Jewel of Africa', 'Moonlight', 'Park's Fragrant Giants', 'Peach Melba', 'Salmon Baby', 'Strawberries and Cream', 'Strawberry Ice', Tip Top Hybrids', 'Tom Thumb Hybrids', 'Whirlybird Cream', 'Whirlybird Hybrids'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#full sun tolerant#annuals#drought tolerant#edible plant#white flowers#pink flowers#edible flowers#fall interest#summer flowers#deer resistant#spring interest#edible seeds#pollinator plant#edible garden#edible stems#dry soils tolerant#partial shade tolerant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tropaeolum
    Species:
    majus
    Family:
    Tropaeolaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Central and South America
    Wildlife Value:
    Butterflies are attracted to this plant.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Colorful
    Easy to Grow
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Edibility:
    All parts, with exception of the roots, are edible. It has a spicy flavor.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Orange
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Long Bloom Season
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are long-stalked, spurred, funnel-shaped, 5-petaled flowers (2.5” wide); red, orange, yellow, pink and cream. They can be single or double.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Peltate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Rounded, long-petioled, parasol-like leaves with light colored veins. The shape is peltate (petioles attached near the center of each leaf). They may be variegated.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Patio
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses