Tractorlady63January 30, 2012

I want to plant nasturiums throughout my garden. Last year, few came up and those that did withered right away. Any tips or tricks? Are they heat sensitive? I planted them kinda late last year. When is the best time to plant them?

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

They are very heat sensitive, and they are frost-sensitive, so it can be difficult to get them planted, up, growing and flowering before the summer heat arrives. Some years mine start burning up in the heat in June, but in cooler years they hang on throughout the summer, although they don't necessarily look great, but then do well again in the fall when cooler temps return.

I usually start the seeds indoors in plantable pots in February and transplant them out into the garden around my last frost date (March 28th) or a week or so later. I will cover them up with floating row covers if frost threatens.

In a typical year, if I had them in the ground in March, they're blooming by May. May really is their month when they look just spectacular. June can be pretty good, especially in a cooler, wetter year. In July and August I just try to keep them alive so they can look good again in the fall.

Nasturtiums do best for me if they have morning sun and afternoon shade, and the hotter it gets, the more they appreciate the afternoon shade. I scatter them around the garden, and try to place them where larger plants like squash, tomatoes, okra, etc. can shade them. Or, I put them at the base of taller flowers like lion's tail, swamp mallow, Malva sylvestris 'Zebrina' or hollyhocks so they can shade the nasturtiums as the season goes on and those other plants get tall.

I normally plant the shorter bush types, not the vining ones.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Hmmm.. Maybe I should move them to the new Front Yard garden plots going in on the North Side of the house... Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Don't forget, Nasturtiums are veerrry popular with the Cabbage White butterflies, too!

So expect to see the larvae munching on the foliage.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


That's interesting because I have lots of trouble with cabbage worms and cabbage loopers on my cole crops, and have never seen them (or anything else) on the nasturtiums. Now that I said that, the cats probably will descend upon my nasturtiums and eat every last one.

The hummingbirds sure do like the nasturtiums though. That's one reason I plant them.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 10:31PM
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Another hint to get them started - soak the seeds for 24 hours up to 3 days. It softens the outer coat of the seed to enable it to germinate faster....kinda like okra.

And yes, they prefer some..ok, LOTS of shade. They just really don't like our OK heat.


    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 11:07PM
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