Yes, You Can Eat Nasturtiums!

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Nasturtiums are not only a great filler and/or spiller plant for containers—they’re also edible.

With their bright, cheery flowers and adorable leaves that are shaped like little lily pads, Nasturtiums are a great choice for a mixed container planting (as seen in the picture, planted with purple Petunias, red Geraniums, yellow Bacopa, and blue Lobelia).

Nasturtiums flower in a range of colors, from pastel peach and cream to bold yellow, orange, and red. They are often sold as annual flowers at nurseries, but color choice is more limited with the old-fashioned yellow and orange most commonly available. There are two major types of Nasturtiums, trailing (Tropaeolum majus) and bush types (Tropaeolum minus). Both kinds are good for the edge of a container planting.

Eating Nasturtiums

Older leaves may be overpowering in flavor, especially in the heat of summer when the flavor intensifies. They may be used in salads, paired with cheese spreads, added to tea sandwiches, cooked into stir-fries and pastas, or, if you’re feeling really ambitious, the flowers can be stuffed by piping in finely chopped guacamole, chicken salad, or seasoned cream cheese mix.

In other words, throw them in any dish that could use burst of zesty pepper flavor and eat your flowers!

Growing Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are easy to start from seed and can be started indoors three to four weeks before your last frost date, or sown directly outdoors one week before your last frost date. Starting plants from seed is not only budget-friendly; it also broadens the number of colorful varieties available to you.

Nasturtiums flower best in full sun, but will also grow in part-shade with ease, though they will flower less. They don’t like fertilizer or fancy soil, just water when soil is dry to the touch. In areas with hot summers, Nasturtiums like cool temperatures and may start looking a little bedraggled by mid-summer. It’s fine to cut them back to rejuvenate growth—they will look great again by fall.

Both the leaves and flowers of Nasturtiums are edible and have a zingy pepper flavor. The flavor is best in young leaves, flower buds, and freshly opened blooms.

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