Nasturtiums in Central Texas
Nasturtiums are a cool-season annual in Central Texas and are easily grown from seed in pots or seeded directly in the garden. Native to the mountain regions of Central Mexico, Argentina and Chile, they thrive in cool temperatures, but do not tolerate freeze or frost. The plants will fade when it gets hot, so planting when it is cool is mandatory. Nasturtiums are easy to grow from seed, and are a fun project for late winter gardens.
Nasturtium seeds are large and have a hard seed coat. Soak the seeds overnight to soften the seed coat for faster germination.
Plant seeds ½”-1” deep in well-drained soil. The seeds must be covered, as they require darkness to germinate. Keep the soil evenly moist until the seeds have germinated.
Nasturtium seeds may be planted outdoors in pots or hanging baskets in late January-early February in Central Texas. The pots should be covered with frost fabric for a light frost or brought indoors for a freeze. They thrive in a well-drained potting soil, and will do best in sun to part sun. Fertilization should be minimal, as excess nitrogen will result in more foliage and less flowers.
Nasturtiums may also be ‘direct seeded’ in the garden in part sun and well-drained soil. We usually plant the seeds directly in the garden in early March, or just before the last frost. Soak the seeds overnight and plant them 1/2″-1″ deep. Keep the bed moist until they germinate. Since they will start to fade when the hot weather arrives, planting in early spring gives them a longer growing season. Remember, you will still need to cover them if we have a late frost.
Harvest leaves or flowers for their peppery flavor that is like Water Cress. Use in salads or snack as you go!