The most exciting part of growing a nasturtium is to witness its vibrant flowers in bloom. Nasturtiums are one of the easiest flowering annuals to grow, and we all probably cannot wait to enjoy their gorgeous blossoms as part of our wall or garden decor.
So, when do nasturtiums actually bloom? Let us find out below!
Nasturtium plant care – overview
At some point, you have probably envied someone else’s garden that is adorned with beautiful nasturtium blooms. And now, perhaps, you have decided to embark on your own journey of growing this plant, to add some life to your boring lawn.
But what exactly are nasturtiums, and how do you grow and care for these plants?
Nasturtiums, whose botanical genus is Tropaeolum, can be both perennial or annual plants that produce vibrantly colored flowers. Although they come in different varieties, they are often identified as a bush type (Tropaeolum minus) or a trailing type (Tropaeolum majus).
The bushy nasturtiums, or dwarf nasturtiums, are the best choice to plant in gardens with limited space. For wall decor or hanging baskets, the trailing nasturtiums are often preferred.
Aside from being lovely plants, nasturtiums are also widely used for companion planting. The sweet fragrance of their flowers can draw damaging pests like aphids away from valuable garden crops, making them one of a gardener’s best friends. Nasturtiums are pretty good at attracting beneficial pollinators, too, such as butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.
But nasturtiums are more than just a pretty face! Every part of the plant is edible – the leaves, flowers, stems, and young seed pods. In fact, their mustard-like flavor makes a great addition to salads. Overall, this makes nasturtiums very versatile compared to most vegetables and flowering plants.
To succeed in growing a nasturtium plant, keep in mind that proper watering and favorable soil conditions are extremely important. The rule is simple – do not overwater your nasturtiums and make sure to plant them in well-draining, sandy soil. It is also discouraged to use nutrient-rich soil, as this can result in overly abundant foliage growth at the expense of flowers.
Lastly, keep in mind that full sunlight is an important ingredient to promote vigorous growth of these flowers. Avoid planting your nasturtiums in shady areas if you want them to bloom profusely.
When do nasturtiums bloom?
The most awaited moment, after spending weeks caring for a nasturtium plant, is seeing its beautiful, brightly-colored flowers. And, like most flowering plants, nasturtiums do have a certain time of the year when they tend to produce more blooms.
If you are like most curious gardeners, you probably have a few questions about your nasturtium’s blooming period. Check out the commonly asked questions below to learn more about this flowering plant.
1. In what month do nasturtiums bloom?
As mentioned previously, nasturtiums thrive in warm climates, so it should not be a surprise that their pretty flowers bloom more profusely during the warmer months. This means you will likely see your nasturtiums flowering from May until September. Make sure to provide them with the best possible care during these months, so that you can enjoy more blooms in your garden.
2. How long does it take for nasturtiums to bloom?
Nasturtiums are one of the easiest and fastest-flowering plants to grow. They typically start to flower about four to six weeks after planting, and the blooming period tends to last fairly long. Since nasturtiums prefer warmer temperatures, they are best planted after the threat of frost has ended.
3. Will nasturtiums come back every year?
Although nasturtiums are considered perennials in zones nine to 11, they are more generally considered annuals. Hence, at the end of their growing cycle, nasturtiums can re-seed themselves and come back every year. Their seeds can germinate quickly, too!
Nasturtiums typically produce beautiful blooms within a month or two after the seeds have successfully germinated. However, they might not flower throughout the year since they favor the warmer months to bloom.
Common reasons nasturtiums do not bloom
Many gardeners are huge fans of nasturtiums, thanks to their beautiful, showy flowers. But what if your plants are not producing the blooms you expected? We have listed the most common reasons below:
1. Soil is too fertile
Contrary to what many might think, nasturtiums thrive best in poor soil; fertile soil will not promote blooming.
You might still grow your nasturtiums in nutrient-rich soil, but this will lead to bushier growth of the leaves instead of the flowers – and most gardeners grow nasturtiums for their gorgeous blooms, rather than the foliage!
To encourage your nasturtiums to bloom, choose a free-draining sandy soil as a growing medium. Do not add fertilizers, especially those high in nitrogen, as this can hinder flower production.
2. Low temperatures
Nasturtiums tend to produce more flowers during the warmest months of the year. So, if you are not seeing your plants bloom, it may be because the cold months are not yet over! Wait for the summer months to arrive and, as the temperatures begin to rise, your nasturtiums are sure to display their sweet, jewel-toned flowers.
3. Lack of sunlight
Nasturtiums are sun-loving plants, and for best results they need about six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day.
If your nasturtiums are not producing their pretty blooms, could it be that they are not receiving sufficient sunlight? They might still grow in partial shade, but they would be very unlikely to produce flowers.
Knowing the importance of full sunlight exposure, you should therefore relocate your nasturtiums to an area where they can get enough of it. Just make sure to slowly acclimatize them to the brighter location to avoid temperature stress.
4. Improper pruning
Nasturtiums do not necessarily need regular pruning, but in some cases they might benefit from pruning and deadheading to maintain their size and shape.
If you are growing your plants in a container or hanging basket, pruning them from time to time might be best to manage their size. The trailing varieties can also become leggy and messy, and cutting them back is the best way to prevent them from invading the space of other plants in your garden. Trim the stems by about six to 12 inches to keep them shapely and within your desired size. For the bush varieties, you can pinch off spent flowers and dried leaves to promote new growth.
However, you should only cut them back after your nasturtiums are done flowering – preferably around late spring. Severe pruning might also prevent them from flowering, so make sure to prune only when necessary.
5. Your plants need more time to flower
Sometimes, all you need is a little patience to see your plants produce their beautiful blooms. Nasturtiums need about four to six weeks to grow from seedlings to fully-established plants. Under the right growing conditions, you should be able to enjoy their flowers around the sixth week after planting.
Nasturtiums prefer warmer conditions to thrive, so expect them to flower during the summer months until autumn. While waiting for the beautiful flowers to arrive, make sure that your plants receive the best possible care for faster and healthier growth. And, most importantly, have patience! Under favorable conditions, your efforts will surely be rewarded with gorgeous blooms that you can enjoy as garden decor or an addition to your salads!
Image: istockphoto.com / Quasarphoto