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! 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 winter, don’t worry about frost if planted under a tree or frost protection. Tucson specifically doesn’t get too many hard frosts, so they should do fine. Then, at just the right time that they choose, they’ll explode!

Anywhere else besides 9a, start them in the greenhouse at about the same time, earlier if the temperature looks nice in there.

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. Spread an inch on top when temperatures start getting into the upper 90’s.

Placement and watering:

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. Still not enough to add to hummus or something similar, but that’s alright. Space has been limited recently, and I’m working on that! Now to make a salad with the greens!

What’s your favorite use of nasturtiums?

Growing peppers? Have too many? Consider making Dried Chili Flakes!


  1. hi, i am new to tucson and found your blog when i was trying to find info about best time to sow nasturtiums, a garden favorite of mine for so many reasons. Sigh, I guess I have wait for autumn. Thanks for that tip! My favorite use of nasturtiums is to use the larger leaves to make tiny wrap sandwiches. Stay cool, fellow Zone 9Aer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Elise! Welcome to Tucson! Your wrap sandwiches sound delicious.. Fall can’t come soon enough. Look on instagram for (Mesa/Phoenix based). She posts lists of veggies and flowers you can sow for each month. September 30th says nasturtiums!


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