How To Plant Nasturtium Seed [ Full Guide ]

Nasturtiums are popular annual flowering plants that are known for their vibrant, long-lasting blooms and edible, peppery-flavored leaves and flowers. They are easy to grow, making them a favorite among gardeners, especially for beginners. Nasturtium seeds can be planted directly in the ground or in containers, and with the right conditions, they germinate and grow into stunning flowering plants. This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully plant nasturtium seeds and ensure a bountiful display of colorful blooms in your garden.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Nasturtium Seeds

  • Choose a sunny location with well-drained soil.
  • Select the right nasturtium variety for your garden.
  • Plant the seeds directly into the ground or in containers, 1 inch deep and 10-12 inches apart.
  • Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Watch for germination in 7-10 days, and enjoy beautiful blooms in 50-60 days.

Selecting The Right Nasturtium Variety

When it comes to planting nasturtium seeds, the first step is to select the right variety for your garden. Nasturtiums come in a range of colors, sizes, and growth habits, each with its unique charm. There are three primary types of nasturtiums to consider:

Dwarf Varieties

Dwarf nasturtiums are perfect for small gardens, containers, or hanging baskets. They grow to a height of 6-12 inches and produce an abundance of small, delicate flowers in various colors, making them an excellent choice for adding a pop of color to any space.

Bush Varieties

Bush nasturtiums are slightly larger, reaching a height of 12-18 inches, and they have a more compact growth habit. They are well-suited for borders, edging, or as a ground cover, creating a dense carpet of blooms that can enhance the visual appeal of any garden.

Climbing Varieties

Climbing nasturtiums are the tallest of the three types, with vines that can reach up to 6 feet in length. These varieties are perfect for trellises, fences, or any vertical structure, where their vibrant flowers and trailing foliage can create a stunning display.

Consider your garden space and the desired visual impact when choosing the right nasturtium variety. Additionally, you may want to explore the wide spectrum of colors available, from bright oranges and yellows to deep reds and maroons, to find the perfect fit for your garden’s color scheme.

Understanding Nasturtium Seed Germination

Understanding the germination process is crucial for successfully planting nasturtium seeds. Before sowing the seeds, it’s essential to consider their germination requirements and the conditions that promote healthy seedling development.

Ideal Germination Conditions

Nasturtium seeds germinate best in warm soil, with the optimal temperature range falling between 65-75°F (18-24°C). The seeds should be planted in a location that receives full sun, as adequate sunlight is essential for promoting robust growth and vibrant blooms.


Nasturtium seeds have a tough outer shell, and to enhance germination, scarifying the seeds can be beneficial. This involves gently nicking or filing the seed coat to break through the hard outer layer, allowing moisture to penetrate the seed more easily. While scarification is not mandatory, it can help expedite the germination process, especially for seeds with particularly hard coatings.

Soaking Seeds

Another technique to promote faster germination is soaking the nasturtium seeds in water for 12-24 hours before planting. This softens the seed coat and jump-starts the germination process, leading to quicker emergence of seedlings.

By understanding the germination process and implementing these techniques, you can set the stage for healthy and vigorous nasturtium seedlings.

Preparing The Soil For Planting Nasturtium Seeds

Preparing the soil is a critical step that directly influences the growth and development of nasturtium seeds. Nasturtiums are relatively tolerant of different soil conditions, but they thrive in loose, well-drained soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0-7.0.

Soil Amendment

Before planting nasturtium seeds, enrich the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its texture, fertility, and moisture-retention capacity. Organic matter not only provides essential nutrients for seedling growth but also enhances the soil structure, promoting aeration and drainage.

Avoiding Rich Soil

While nasturtiums appreciate fertile soil, it’s important to avoid excessively rich soil, as this can lead to lush foliage at the expense of flower production. Therefore, avoid heavy applications of nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as they can cause the plant to prioritize leafy growth over blooming.

Soil Ph Adjustment

If necessary, conduct a soil pH test using a simple kit available at garden centers or through soil testing services. Adjust the pH as needed to fall within the optimal range of 6.0-7.0, using either agricultural lime to raise the pH or elemental sulfur to lower it.

By creating a favorable soil environment, you can provide the ideal foundation for successful nasturtium seed germination and robust plant growth.

Where And When To Plant Nasturtium Seeds

The location and timing of planting play a pivotal role in the success of growing nasturtiums from seed. By selecting the right planting site and timing the sowing correctly, you can optimize the growing conditions for your nasturtium seeds.

Planting Location

Choose a planting site that receives full sun, as nasturtiums thrive in bright, direct sunlight. Whether you’re planting directly in the ground or in containers, ensure that the chosen location provides at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day. Adequate sunlight not only promotes healthy growth but also encourages prolific blooming, resulting in a vibrant and visually appealing display of flowers.

Planting Time

Nasturtium seeds are best sown directly into the ground in the spring, after the last frost date has passed and the soil has warmed to the appropriate temperature for germination. In regions with mild winters, nasturtium seeds can also be sown in the fall for early spring blooms.

Sowing Depth And Spacing

When planting nasturtium seeds, sow them approximately 1 inch deep into the soil. Space the seeds 10-12 inches apart to provide ample room for the plants to spread and develop. If planting in containers, choose pots or hanging baskets with sufficient drainage holes and fill them with quality potting mix, then sow the seeds at the recommended depth and spacing.

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Soil Moisture And Care

After sowing the seeds, gently water the soil to ensure adequate moisture, but avoid overwatering, as excessively wet conditions can lead to rot and other issues. As the seeds germinate and grow into seedlings, maintain consistent moisture to support healthy development, but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings to prevent waterlogged conditions.

Supporting Climbing Varieties

For climbing nasturtiums, install trellises, fences, or other vertical supports at the time of planting to provide the vines with the necessary structure for upward growth. Training the vines as they grow can help create an attractive and orderly display of climbing nasturtiums.

By carefully selecting the planting location and timing and providing the appropriate care, you can set the stage for successful nasturtium seed germination and robust growth.

Planting nasturtium seeds is a rewarding and straightforward process that yields beautiful, colorful blooms and edible leaves and flowers. By selecting the right variety, understanding the germination process, preparing the soil, and choosing the ideal planting location and timing, you can ensure the successful growth of these charming flowering plants. Whether you’re a novice gardener or an experienced green thumb, the tips and techniques outlined in this guide will empower you to cultivate flourishing nasturtiums and enjoy the delightful beauty they bring to your garden. With proper care and attention to detail, you can look forward to a spectacular display of vibrant nasturtium blooms gracing your outdoor space.

Planting Nasturtium Seeds Indoors

Nasturtiums are beautiful and vibrant flowers that are easy to grow from seeds. They are not only ornamental but also edible, with their leaves and flowers adding a peppery taste to salads and other dishes. Nasturtium seeds come in a variety of colors and sizes, making them a popular choice for gardeners looking to add a splash of color to their gardens.

Planting nasturtium seeds indoors allows you to get a head start on the growing season. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to successfully grow nasturtiums from seeds indoors:

  1. Start by selecting a container or seed tray that has drainage holes. Fill it with a good quality seed-starting mix or potting soil. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

  2. Sow the nasturtium seeds about 1 inch apart and cover them with a thin layer of soil, approximately ¼ inch deep. Gently pat down the soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.

  3. It is important to provide a warm and sunny environment for the seeds to germinate. Place the container in a location that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Alternatively, you can use a grow light to provide adequate lighting.

  4. Keep the soil consistently moist by watering gently with a spray bottle or by placing the container in a tray filled with water, allowing the soil to absorb water from the bottom. Be careful not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to damping off, a fungal disease that affects seedlings.

  5. Germination usually occurs within 7-14 days. Once the seedlings have emerged, remove any excess seedlings to ensure proper spacing. Thin them to about 6-12 inches apart to allow for adequate airflow and growth.

  6. Continue to provide ample sunlight and water as needed. As the seedlings grow, you may need to water more frequently to prevent the soil from drying out. Monitor the moisture levels and adjust accordingly.

  7. When the last frost date has passed and the seedlings have grown to a size of about 4-6 inches, they can be transplanted outdoors. Harden off the seedlings by gradually exposing them to outdoor conditions over a period of 7-10 days before planting them in the garden.

Direct Sowing Nasturtium Seeds In The Garden

If you prefer to sow nasturtium seeds directly in the garden, follow these steps for successful germination and growth:

  1. Choose a location in your garden that receives full sun or partial shade. Nasturtiums can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, but they prefer well-draining soil.

  2. Prepare the soil by removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Loosen the soil with a garden fork or tiller to a depth of around 8-10 inches. Smooth the soil surface with a rake, ensuring there are no clumps.

  3. Prior to sowing, you can presoak the seeds overnight in warm water to help speed up the germination process. This step is optional but can increase the chances of successful germination.

  4. Sow the seeds directly into the prepared soil. Space the seeds about 6-12 inches apart, depending on the variety. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil, approximately ¼ inch deep, and gently pat down the soil.

  5. Water the newly sown seeds thoroughly to ensure good soil contact. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to rotting. It is important to keep the soil consistently moist during the germination process.

  6. Germination usually occurs within 7-14 days, depending on the temperature and soil moisture. Once the seedlings have emerged, thin them to the desired spacing, allowing enough room for each plant to grow and spread.

  7. After thinning, continue to water the seedlings regularly, keeping the soil evenly moist. As the plants grow, their water needs may increase. Pay attention to the weather conditions and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Tips For Sowing Nasturtium Seeds

Here are some helpful tips for sowing nasturtium seeds to increase your chances of success:

  1. Timing: Nasturtiums prefer warm soil for germination, so it is best to sow the seeds when there is no longer a threat of frost and the soil temperature is consistently above 60°F (15°C). In most regions, this is typically in the springtime.

  2. Scarification: Nasturtium seeds have a hard seed coat that can sometimes inhibit germination. To increase the chances of successful germination, you can scarify the seeds by gently rubbing them with sandpaper or nicking them with a sharp knife, being careful not to damage the embryo inside. This process helps water penetrate the seed coat, allowing for quicker germination.

  3. Presoaking: As mentioned earlier, presoaking the seeds overnight in warm water can help soften the seed coat and promote faster germination. This step is particularly beneficial if you live in a cooler climate or have heavy soil.

  4. Proper Spacing: Nasturtium plants have a sprawling growth habit, so it is important to provide them with enough space to spread. Adequate spacing allows for better air circulation, reducing the risk of disease and pest infestation. Make sure to follow the recommended spacing guidelines for the specific variety you are growing.

  5. Harvesting Seeds: Nasturtiums produce seed pods after they finish blooming. If you want to collect seeds for future planting, allow the seed pods to dry on the plant. Once the pods have turned brown and are dry, carefully remove them and store the seeds in a cool, dry place until you are ready to sow them.

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Watering And Fertilizing Nasturtium Seedlings

Proper watering and fertilizing are essential for the healthy growth of nasturtium seedlings. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Watering: Nasturtiums have shallow roots, so they require regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist. However, they are also sensitive to overwatering, which can cause root rot and other diseases. It is important to strike a balance and avoid letting the soil become waterlogged. Monitor the moisture levels by checking the top inch of soil before watering. If it feels dry, water thoroughly, ensuring the water reaches the root zone.

  2. Fertilizing: Nasturtiums are relatively low-maintenance plants that do not require excessive fertilization. In fact, too much nitrogen can result in lush foliage and fewer flowers. It is best to use a balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer when preparing the soil before sowing the seeds or transplanting seedlings. This will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth throughout the growing season. Avoid overfeeding, as it can lead to weak plants and decreased flowering.

  3. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants can help conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and provide some nutrient enrichment. Use materials such as straw, wood chips, or compost and spread them evenly around the plants, leaving a small gap around the stems to prevent rotting.

  4. Deadheading: To encourage continuous blooming, it is beneficial to remove spent flowers, also known as deadheading. This process redirects energy towards the growth of new blooms rather than seed production. Regularly check the plants for faded flowers and trim them back to the main stem or pinch them off.

Planting nasturtium seeds is a rewarding and relatively simple process. Whether you choose to start indoors or sow directly in the garden, following the proper techniques and guidelines will ensure successful germination and growth. Nasturtiums are not only beautiful flowers but also a versatile addition to your edible garden. Their vibrant colors and peppery flavors can enhance both your garden and your meals. So go ahead, grab some nasturtium seeds, and enjoy the beauty and taste they bring to your outdoor space.

Transplanting Nasturtium Seedlings

Nasturtiums, with their vibrant orange, yellow, and red flowers, are a popular choice among gardeners. Not only are they visually appealing, but they also offer a range of benefits for the garden. These easy-to-grow flowers attract pollinators, deter pests, and are even edible! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced gardener, planting nasturtium seeds is a simple and rewarding process.

The first step to planting nasturtium seeds is to start them indoors as seedlings. This will give them a head start and ensure a successful germination rate. Here is how you can transplant nasturtium seedlings:

  1. Fill a seed tray or small pots with high-quality seed starting mix. Ensure that the mix is moist but not soggy.

  2. Place one or two nasturtium seeds in each container, about one inch deep. If you choose to sow more than one seed per container, thin them out once they sprout, selecting the healthiest plant to keep.

  3. Cover the seeds lightly with the seed starting mix and gently pat it down.

  4. Place a plastic cover or a clear plastic bag over the tray or pots to create a mini greenhouse environment that retains moisture. This will help with germination.

  5. Keep the seedlings in a warm and bright location, but out of direct sunlight. Nasturtium seeds usually germinate within 7 to 14 days.

  6. Once the seedlings have two sets of true leaves, it is time to transplant them into larger pots or your garden. Fill a larger pot or a prepared garden bed with well-draining soil.

  7. Gently remove the seedlings from the seed tray or pots, being careful not to damage the tender roots. If the roots are tangled, gently tease them apart.

  8. Plant the seedlings in the soil at the same depth as they were in the seed tray or pots. Ensure that the soil is firmly pressed around the roots to eliminate any air pockets.

  9. Water the newly transplanted seedlings thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.

  10. When all danger of frost has passed and the seedlings have adjusted to their new environment, they can be moved to a sunny spot in your garden or flower bed, preferably with well-draining soil.

Nasturtium Seedling Care And Maintenance

Once your nasturtium seedlings are transplanted and established in the garden, they will require some care and maintenance to ensure healthy growth and vibrant blooms. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Watering: Nasturtiums prefer well-drained soil that is kept slightly moist. Water the plants thoroughly when the top inch of soil feels dry, but be careful not to overwater as it can lead to root rot. Regular watering during dry spells and hot summer months is crucial.

  2. Fertilizing: Nasturtiums are generally low-maintenance plants that do not require heavy feeding. However, you can apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the growing season to promote healthy foliage and abundant blooms.

  3. Mulching: Applying a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants can help retain moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain a consistent soil temperature. Use materials like straw, shredded leaves, or wood chips for effective mulching.

  4. Pruning: Nasturtiums are known for their vigorous growth, and occasional pruning can help maintain their shape and encourage more blooms. Remove any dead or damaged foliage and spent flowers to promote continuous blooming.

  5. Support: While nasturtiums are generally low-growing and do not require support, certain varieties might benefit from a trellis or stakes. If you have cascading or climbing nasturtiums, provide them with a support structure to prevent sprawling and achieve a more organized growth habit.

  6. Pests and Diseases: Nasturtiums are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, keep an eye out for aphids, slugs, and snails. These can be controlled through organic methods like handpicking or spraying with insecticidal soap. Powdery mildew can occasionally affect the foliage, especially in humid conditions. Proper spacing between plants, good air circulation, and avoiding overhead watering can reduce the risk of this fungal disease.

  7. Companion Planting: Nasturtiums are excellent companion plants and can provide various benefits to neighboring plants. They repel pests like aphids, whiteflies, and squash bugs, making them a great addition to vegetable gardens. Nasturtiums also attract beneficial insects like ladybugs and pollinators, which can help improve the overall health of your garden.

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Harvesting Nasturtium Seeds

One of the unique aspects of growing nasturtiums is that not only are they beautiful flowers, but they also produce edible seeds and flowers. Harvesting the seeds can be a rewarding activity, allowing you to save seeds for future planting or use them in culinary endeavors. Here’s how you can harvest nasturtium seeds:

  1. Wait until the flowers begin to fade and the petals fall off. This indicates that the seeds are ready for harvesting.

  2. Locate the seed pods at the base of the faded flowers. The pods are small, green, and round with a slightly wrinkled texture.

  3. Gently twist or snip the seed pods from the stem. Place them in a paper bag or envelope to allow further drying.

  4. Store the bag or envelope in a cool, dry place for about two weeks to allow the seeds to fully dry.

  5. Once the seed pods are dry, gently crush them to release the seeds. Separate the seeds from any leftover debris or chaff.

  6. Store the dried nasturtium seeds in a cool, dry place in an airtight container. They can remain viable for several years if stored properly.

Troubleshooting Nasturtium Seed Planting Issues

While growing nasturtiums is generally trouble-free, there are a few potential issues you may encounter during the planting process. Here are some troubleshooting tips for common nasturtium seed planting issues:

  1. Poor Germination: If you have experienced poor germination rates, it could be due to old or low-quality seeds. To increase your chances of success, ensure you are using fresh seeds from a reputable supplier. Additionally, providing optimal growing conditions, such as maintaining proper moisture levels and temperature, will help promote germination.

  2. Damping-Off: Damping-off is a fungal disease that causes seedlings to wilt and eventually die. To prevent damping-off, use sterile seed starting mix and pots, and avoid overwatering. Good air circulation and proper spacing between seedlings can also help prevent this issue.

  3. Leggy Seedlings: Leggy seedlings occur when plants grow tall and spindly due to inadequate light. To prevent this, provide your seedlings with adequate light, such as placing them near a sunny window or using grow lights if necessary. Once they have grown a few inches tall, you can also pinch back the top of the seedlings to encourage bushier growth.


Planting nasturtium seeds is an excellent way to add beauty and functionality to your garden. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can successfully transplant seedlings, care for your plants, harvest seeds, and troubleshoot any potential issues. Nasturtiums are not only visually appealing, but they also attract pollinators, repel pests, and provide edible seeds and flowers. So, get your hands dirty and enjoy the benefits of growing these versatile and vibrant flowers in your own garden.


What Is The Best Time To Plant Nasturtium Seeds?

Nasturtium seeds should be planted in the spring, after the last frost has passed.

How Deep Should I Plant The Seeds?

Nasturtium seeds should be planted 1/2 inch deep in well-drained soil.

How Far Apart Should I Space The Seeds?

The seeds should be spaced 10-12 inches apart to allow enough room for the plant to grow.

Do Nasturtium Seeds Need Special Preparation Before Planting?

No, nasturtium seeds do not require any special preparation. They can be planted directly into the soil.

How Often Should I Water The Seeds?

Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, until the seeds germinate. After that, water the plants deeply once a week.