Nasturtium, Garden - Tropaeolum majus L.

Nasturtium Flower © K. Jackson 2013

Fig. 1

Nasturtium flower 

Nasturtium Flower Side View Credit: Starr 2003

Fig. 2

Nasturtium flower side view

Nasturtium Flowers and Foliage © K. Jackson 2013

Fig. 3

Nasturtium flower opening

Nasturtium Seedlings © K. Jackson 2013

Fig. 4

Nasturtium seedlings

Nasturtium Plants. Zone 10a © K. Jackson 2013

Fig. 5

Nasturtium plants. Zone 10a

Nasturtium grown as an edible flower in a vertical system Credit: University of Florida

Fig. 6

Nasturtium grown as an edible flower in a vertical system

Nasturtium Flower and Seed Credit: Starr 2010

Fig. 7

Nasturtium flower and seed

Nasturtium Flowering habit spreading. Maui Credit: Starr 2011

Fig. 8 

Invasive flowering habit spreading
Maui, Hawaii

Nasturtium Flowering Habit Climbing Trees Credit: Starr 2009

Fig. 9 

Invasive flowering habit

climbing trees, Maui, Hawaii

White and orange blossom Credit: University of California 2015

Fig. 10

Orange and white flower

Yellow blossom Credit: University of California 2015

Fig. 11

Yellow flower

Bright orange blossom Credit: University of California 2015

Fig. 12

Orange flower

Common Names

Chagas  (Portuguese), Capuchina or Mastuerzo (Spanish), Cresson d'Inde or Grande Capucine (French) Han Jin Lian (Transcribed Chinese), Indian Cress (English), Indiankrasse (Swedish), Kapuzinerkresse (German), Kapuċinella or Kabuċinella (Maltese), Mexican Cress (English), Peruvian Cress (English), and Pohe Haole (Hawaii)  1,2


Cardamindum majus (L.) Moench, Nasturtium indicum Garsault, T. elatum Salisb., T. hortense Sparre, T. hybridum L., T. pinnatum Andrews, T. quinquelobum Bergius, T. majus (L.) Kuntze 11



Trailing stems grow to 3 ft (1 m) or longer. T. minus L. will grow to 1 ft  (30 cm)

Peltate; round smooth pea-green leaf is attached at its center to a slender round petiole

Polypetalous; five-petaled yellow, orange, and red flowers, sometimes frilled; eight stamens and a long nectar spur at the rear

Round, ridged longitudinally, three segmented seed pods, about 1/3 in. (1 cm) diameter

Plant during Spring zones 4-8 and Autumn zones 9-11; can be annuals or perennials


Seed pods develop about four months after sowing

USDA Hardiness Zones

4 -11
Light Requirement

Full sun to part shade


Light sandy soils, well drained, medium to low fertility
Drought Tolerance

Responds well to supplemental irrigation
Cold Tolerance

Frost tender; it will not survive the heat of a South Florida summer

Invasive potential *

Not considered invasive in Florida, however, in some areas T. majus L. is listed as invasivemore...

Pest Resistance

There are few pests to bother the plants 1

Reading Material

Nasturtium, Garden — Tropaeolum majus L. from the University of Florida pdf

Nasturtium (Tropaeoleum majus) A WaterWise Annual from Oregon State University pdf

Nasturtium is native to the South American Andes from Bolivia to Columbia. 3


The plant is a succulent, climbing annual. Each round smooth pea-green leaf is attached at its center to a slender round petiole. Leaves range from 2 to 5 inches in diameter. It produces numerous five-petaled yellow, orange, and red flowers. These develop into round, ridged seed pods that are about 1/3-inch in diameter. 1


To name a few: Alaska - variegated leaves, Dwarf Jewel, Empress Of India - scarlet flowers, Flame Thrower, Globe Of Fire, King Theodore - mahogany-red flowers, Milkmaid - pale cream flowers, Moonlight - butter lemon flowers, Orange Troika, Peach Melba, Phoenix, Tip Top Apricot, Vesuvius, Whirlybird Gold.


4-6 in. apart


Preferring dryer areas, water during the dry season, but do not over water.


Grows well in poor soils, fertilizer and excess water will generally encourage luscious leaves and less flowers.

Propagation by Seed

Nasturtiums are easy to grow. Plant the seeds from spring through fall throughout Florida, year-round in South Florida. Sow the seeds about ½ to 1 inch deep, spaced 2 to 3 inches apart. When plants of the tall type are about 7 inches tall, place a stake or trellis near them for support. It is not necessary to stake or trellis the dwarf type T. minus L. The plants respond to the same general cultural practices used for most garden vegetables. Pods develop (Fig. 7) about 4 months after seeding. They can be started indoors, although seedlings can be difficult to transplant. Allow seven to fourteen days for germination. 1

Propagation by Cuttings

The Royal Horticultural Society suggests propagating by stem tip cuttings.


Harvest flowers when young. Young leaves are more succulent than those which are mature, they also have a stronger flavor than the flowers. Pick green immature seeds for pickling; allow seeds to dry on the vine for saving to plant next season.


Leaf miner.

Common Weed Hosts of Insect-Transmitted Viruses of Florida Vegetable Crops from the University of Florida pdf 12 pages

Nematode Management for Bedding Plants from the University of Florida pdf 11 pages

Susceptibility Of Flowers And Bedding Plants To Root Knot Nematodes from the University of Florida pdf 7 pages

Companion Plants

Nasturtiums are also considered widely useful companion plants. They repel a great many cucurbit pests, like squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and several caterpillars. They have a similar range of benefits for brassica plants, especially broccoli and cauliflower. They also serve as a trap crop against black fly aphids. They also attract beneficial predatory insects. 8

Food Uses

All parts are edible. Leaves, flowers, and seed pods have a peppery taste. The flowers and young leaves are frequently used to mix in salads, and the seeds, gathered while young and green, are used for pickling and as an excellent substitute for capers.10

Nasturtium Recipe from Kittee's Blog, Cake Makers To The Stars


The flowers of T. majus are ... excellent food sources of lutein and the leaves good sources of both lutein and the provitamin A β-carotene. Violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, zeaxanthin, zeinoxanthin, β-cryptoxanthin, α-carotene, and β-carotene were also detected at very low levels. 9

Medicinal Uses **

The juice of T. minus L. is listed for use in herbal medicine: Allergenic, Antibacterial, Antipyretic, Antiscorbutic, Antiseptic, Depurative, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Fungicide, Laxative, Rodenticide, Rubefacient, Stimulant, Vulnerary. Avoid for infants or small children and patients with gastrointestinal ulcers or kidney disease. Irritation of the mucous membrane of the gastrointestinal tract. 5

The leaves are strongly antiseptic. As an internal cleanser, this plant is of special benefit to the blood and the digestive system.12

Invasive  Status

Described as weedy; quick maturing, produces many viable seeds, smothering habit and rapid growth. Tolerates salt, wind, hot to cold, semi-shade, damp, damage, and poor soil. Smothers low-growing habitats and prevents the establishment of native plant seedlings. 6

In some areas T. majus L. is listed as invasive:

Australia (Pacific offshore islands) Lord Howe Island,
Chile (offshore islands) Juan Fernández Islands,
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands): Isabela Group, San Cristóbal Group, Santa Cruz Group,
State of Hawaii: Hawai‘i (Big) Island, Kaua‘i Island, Maui Island, Moloka‘i Island,
New Zealand (offshore islands): Kermadec Islands. 7

General ext. link
Edible Flowers - Have Your Flowers and Eat Them Too from the University of Florida
Flowering Vines for Florida from the University of Florida pdf 19 pages
Nasturtium Art

List of Growers and Vendors


1 Stephens, James M. "Nasturtium, Garden - Tropaeolum majus L." This document is HS632, one of a series of the Horticultural Sciences Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date May 1994. Revised Mar. 2009. Reviewed Feb. 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.
2 "Tropaeolum majus L." USDA National Plant Germplasm. 2008.Web. 11 Dec. 2014.
3 Christman, Steve. "Tropaeolum majus L." 2005. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.
4 Duke, James. A. et al. Handbook of medicinal herbs, Second Edition. Boca Raton: CRC Press Llc. 2002. Print.
5 "Tropaeolum majus L." Plants For A Future. N.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2104.

6 "Tropaeolum majus." N. D. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

7 "Tropaeolum majus L. Tropaeolaceae." 2011. Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER). Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

8 "Tropaeolum majus." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2104

9 Niizu, P.Y. and Rodriguez-Amaya, D. B. (2005). "Flowers and Leaves of Tropaeolum majus L. as Rich Sources of Lutein." Journal of Food Science, 70: S605–S609. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2621.2005.tb08336.x. 31 May 2006. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

10 McIntosh, C. The Book of the Garden. 2:170. Edinburgh, London, 1855. Print.

11 "Tropaeolum Majus L." Web. 1 Jan. 2015. 

12 Conway, David. The Magic of Herbs. Glasgow: Collins, 1975. Print.


Fig.1,3,4,5 Jackson, Karen. "Nasturtium Series." 2013. JPG file.

Fig.Tropaeolum majus (Garden nasturtium). 2003Ulupalakua, Maui. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Fig.6 Nasturtium grown as an edible flower in a vertical system. 2012. Alternative Greenhouse Crops - Florida Greenhouse Vegetable Production Handbook, Vol 3. University of Florida. Web. 19 Dec. 2014.

Fig.7 Tropaeolum majus (Garden nasturtium). 2010 Alii Kula Lavender Farm Waipoli Rd, Maui. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Fig.Tropaeolum majus (Garden nasturtium) Flowering Habit Spreading. 2011. Shibuya Farm Kula, Maui. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Fig.Tropaeolum majus (Garden nasturtium) Flowering Habit Climbing Trees. 2009. Kula, Maui. Web. 18 Dec. 2014.

Fig.10 Reynolds C. Orange and white flower of nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus. 2007. UC Statewide IPM Program, Regents, University of California.  Web. 1 Jan. 2015.

Fig.11 Reynolds C. Yellow flower of nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus. 2007. UC Statewide IPM Program, Regents, University of California.  Web. 1 Jan. 2015.

Fig.12 Reynolds C. Orange flower of nasturtium, Tropaeolum majus. 2007. UC Statewide IPM Program, Regents, University of California. Web. 1 Jan. 2015.

UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-native Plants in Florida's Natural Areas
** Information provided is not intended to be used as a guide for treatment of medical conditions.

Published 18 Dec. 2014 KJ. Last update 12 Nov. 2016 KJ
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