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Nose-Tweaker Tropaeolum majus

Previously known as:

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

A warm-weather annual with long stems, parasol-like leaves, and spurred 5-petaled flowers.  Popular in various types of gardens.  Available in both climbing and bushy forms.  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.

Grows well in poor to average, well-drained soil in full sun, but with some afternoon shade in hot summers. 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.

Grow climbing types on a trellis. Watch for aphids, mealybugs, and whiteflies. Resistant to deer.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alaska hybrid'
    dwarf-bushy, up to 12” tall, white spotted leaves
  • 'Jewel of Africa'
    climbing; up to 8' tall; red, yellow, orange, and cream flowers, white spotted leaves;
'Alaska hybrid', 'Jewel of Africa'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#red#white#sun#yellow#partial shade#annual#drought tolerant#orange#pink flowers#fall interest#summer flowers#spring interest#pollinator plant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Alaska hybrid'
    dwarf-bushy, up to 12” tall, white spotted leaves
  • 'Jewel of Africa'
    climbing; up to 8' tall; red, yellow, orange, and cream flowers, white spotted leaves;
'Alaska hybrid', 'Jewel of Africa'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#red#white#sun#yellow#partial shade#annual#drought tolerant#orange#pink flowers#fall interest#summer flowers#spring interest#pollinator plant#problem for cats#problem for dogs#problem for horses
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tropaeolum
    Species:
    majus
    Family:
    Tropaeolaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Edibility:
    All parts but the roots; has a spicy flavor
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • 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 Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    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 Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fragrant
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    long-stalked, spurred, funnel-shaped, 5-petaled flowers (2.5” wide); red, orange, yellow, pink and cream
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Variegated
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Rounded, long-petioled, parasol-like; peltate (petioles attached near the center of each leaf); may be variegated
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Poor Soil
    Problems:
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses