The Trick To Nasturtiums In The Desert Zone 9A

In late September 2015, when it looked like the prefect time to grow cucumber plants again, I did the thing. And it looked like the weather would permit nasturtiums to grow in between those cucumbers. Let me tell you about these nasturtiums real quick. They sprouted in September/November, grew to a certain size, and just decided to grow very, very slowly, until this spring. In late January, they exploded.

See!? I did it! You could see the flower if it weren’t for this rude butterfly.

 So here is my advice for planting nasturtiums: Specifically for Tucson, and zone 9a, plant in late fall or early winter, before the threat of frost. Let them overwinter underneath the cover of a tree to prevent frostbite. Anywhere else, start them in the greenhouse early.

Update: If you’re seeing this in spring, the best thing you can do for nasturtiums now is to give them at least a foot and a half of depth for their roots. That way you’ll have great foliage and a dazzling array of flowers all season.And don’t forget the compost.

What’s more:

Make sure they get a half days’ worth of full sun. Water sparingly, checking the soil for moisture once every three or four days. They will explode in very early spring, COVERING your yard in beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges (flowers that is). Note that this is along the same lines as planting indoors. But, in this case, if they are allowed to accumulate a ton of sugar (energy) in roots over the winter, that will give them that edge when spring rolls around.

After planting 6 or 8 seeds, here it is April, and the plant has given me 11 seeds back so far. You read correctly, I’m excited to have harvested more seeds than I sowed! Not bad for a first time. This is only because nasturtiums don’t grow well from seed during late spring due to the heat, and I had “mixed results” the last time I tried. That’s business lingo for it didn’t work! Now to make a salad with the greens, and add the seeds to hummus!

What’s your favorite use of nasturtiums?


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