Nasturtium (Tropaeolum sp.)
Nasturtiums are an annual that are grown for their cheerful flowers and ornamental leaves. They grow best in early summer and fall and should be kept watered during the hottest, driest part of the summer. There are two types of nasturtiums. Climbing nasturtiums can be trained to grow up a support or left to sprawl on the ground and a bush-type with a more compact growth habit.
Nasturtiums will grow in full sun but seem to do better in semi-shade. They grow best in well-drained soil that is not too fertile. Sow seeds outdoors after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has had a chance to warm up. Plant seeds according to label directions, or start with transplants.
It is best to use fresh young leaves and flowers and can be harvested throughout the season. When plants become stressed harvested leaves and flowers have a stronger flavor that can be off-putting.
Both the flowers and foliage have a peppery flavor and can be added to fresh salads. The flowers are used to decorate baked goods or fruit salads.