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Edible Blossoms For You!

Add the easy-to-grow garden nasturtium to your vegetable or flower garden!

Dress up a ho-hum salad with a vibrant blossom or two just like some of the high-end restaurants. The first taste you experience will be sweetness and then a pleasant peppery flavor emerges. Not only can you eat the flowers but the leaves can also be tossed into your salad and the immature seed pods can be pickled and eaten similar to capers.

Brightly colored garden Nasturtium

Photo courtesy of the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden

Garden nasturtium, known to botanists as Tropaeolum majus, is an annual that originated in the Andes of South America.  Seed and plants are commonly found in garden centers, although a greater variety is available when purchased from seed catalogues or online. A variety of cultivars are available, from dwarf bushy types to climbing or trailing types. Perky blooms in vivid shades of orange, yellow, pink and red are often produced in abundance.

This annual is easy and fast to grow from seed.  If transplanting from small potted plants, make sure not to disturb the delicate root system during the transplant process. Give them partial to full sun and regular watering, even though they are drought tolerant. They prefer a lighter, sandy, well-drained soil and don’t perform as well in dense, rich soils. Be careful with the fertilizer as too much nitrogen will produce lots of green foliage but few blooms.

 

[warning]Aphids like to feast on the succulent flowers and foliage as well, so be diligent in scouting for this pest. Control is usually adequate by dislodging them with a spray of water or insecticidal soap. Insecticidal soap will cause the aphid to try out and dessicate.  Be careful to spray the undersides of the leaves as well for complete control. Make sure to apply products that are safe for food crops and follow all label instructions.[/warning]

 

In the Florida panhandle, garden nasturtium can be a part of the garden year-round. However, they generally decline and stop flowering with the onset of the full brunt of the summer heat unless a bit of afternoon shade is available. When planted late in the fall, they are susceptible to frost damage but often will recover.

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For more information from the University of Florida, please see:

Garden Nasturtium, Tropaeoleum majus L.

Gardening in a Minute: Nasturtium

4 Comments on “Edible Blossoms For You!

  1. when you talk about them being edible ,are thinking of them just being used for salad and as garnish on a plate, or
    are you thinking of some recipes ?

    If you do have some recipes, please share with readers.

    • The only way I have seen nasturtium served is in a salad or as a cake decoration where the beauty of the delicate blossom can be enjoyed. The nasturtium in my garden do adorn my salads from time to time, but most are eaten on the spot as they are picked! You could consult some of the cooking websites for more creative uses. I am more of a gardener than cook (as my family will attest to!).

  2. The title of the article really caught my interest. I followed some of the links to other articles on edible flowers, but nothing substantive was readily available, just more “teaser” info. I will seek out more info containing uses and recipes. However, if you have knowledge of other good sites, please share them in your article. Bon appetit!

    • Thank you for the comments! That gives me an idea to do a future article on what other edible flowers we can include in our gardens. As for recipes, I will leave that to the chefs of the world. Please post a good recipe for nasturtium if you develop or find one!

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