How To Plant Nasturtium Seedlings [ Full Guide ]

Nasturtiums are popular flowering plants with vibrant, colorful flowers that can add beauty and charm to any garden. They are easy to grow and can be planted from seedlings. Planting nasturtium seedlings is a straightforward process that can be immensely rewarding. This comprehensive guide will provide detailed instructions on how to plant nasturtium seedlings, including selecting the right location and soil, choosing the optimal time for planting, preparing the seedlings for planting, digging the planting holes, and more.

Nasturtiums, scientifically known as Tropaeolum majus, are annual plants native to South and Central America. They are not only valued for their ornamental beauty but also for being edible, with both the leaves and flowers being edible and often used in salads. These plants are well-loved for their vibrant, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in shades of red, orange, and yellow. Nasturtiums are also known for their ease of cultivation and their ability to thrive in diverse environmental conditions.

Quick Answer: How To Plant Nasturtium Seedlings

To plant nasturtium seedlings:

  1. Select a location with well-draining soil and full to partial sun.
  2. Prepare the soil by amending it with organic matter and ensuring proper drainage.
  3. Choose the optimal time for planting, usually after the last frost in your region.
  4. Carefully remove the seedlings from their containers and gently loosen the roots.
  5. Dig planting holes according to the seedling’s root ball size and spacing requirements.
  6. Place the seedlings in the holes, backfill with soil, and water thoroughly.
  7. Mulch around the seedlings to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Following these steps will help ensure the successful establishment and growth of your nasturtium seedlings.

Selecting The Right Location And Soil


Nasturtiums thrive in locations with ample sunlight. When selecting a location for planting nasturtium seedlings, choose an area that receives full to partial sun. The ideal spot should receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Ensure that the chosen location has good air circulation to prevent issues such as mildew and other fungal diseases.

Soil Requirements

Nasturtiums prefer well-draining soil with a slightly acidic to neutral pH. They are not particularly demanding when it comes to soil fertility but do benefit from the addition of organic matter. Before planting seedlings, it’s essential to prepare the soil by amending it with compost or well-rotted organic matter. This helps improve soil structure, fertility, and water retention, providing a favorable environment for the seedlings to grow and develop strong root systems.

Choosing The Optimal Time For Planting

Frost Considerations

Nasturtiums are sensitive to frost, so it’s crucial to wait until after the last frost in your region before planting the seedlings. Planting too early can expose the seedlings to cold temperatures, which can stunt their growth or even cause damage. To determine the last frost date in your area, consult local gardening resources or the USDA plant hardiness zone map.

Seasonal Considerations

In most regions, nasturtium seedlings can be planted in spring once the risk of frost has passed. This timing allows the seedlings to benefit from warm soil temperatures and optimal growing conditions. However, in cooler climates, planting can be delayed until early summer to ensure that the seedlings are not subjected to cold, unfavorable weather.

Preparing The Seedlings For Planting

Acclimatizing Seedlings

Before planting, it’s beneficial to acclimate the nasturtium seedlings to their new environment. This process, known as hardening off, involves gradually exposing the seedlings to outdoor conditions, such as sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. This helps the seedlings adjust to the outdoor environment and reduces the risk of transplant shock.

To harden off nasturtium seedlings:

  1. About a week before the planned planting date, place the seedlings outdoors in a sheltered location for a few hours each day.
  2. Gradually increase the duration and exposure to outdoor conditions over the course of the week.
  3. Avoid exposing the seedlings to harsh midday sun or strong winds during the hardening-off process.

Gently Loosening The Roots

When preparing the seedlings for planting, gently remove them from their containers, being careful not to damage the delicate root system. If the roots are tightly bound or circling the root ball, gently tease them apart to encourage outward growth. This allows the roots to establish and spread into the surrounding soil once planted, promoting healthy growth and development.

Digging The Planting Holes

Hole Size And Spacing

Before planting the nasturtium seedlings, it’s essential to dig planting holes that accommodate the root ball size and spacing requirements of the seedlings. The holes should be dug to a depth that allows the seedlings to be planted at the same depth as they were in their containers. Proper spacing is also crucial to provide adequate room for the plants to spread and thrive.

Planting Depth

When determining the planting depth, it’s important to match the level of the seedling’s root ball with the surrounding soil. Planting too deep can lead to issues such as stem rot, while planting too shallow may expose the roots to drying out. Carefully place the seedling in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.

Planting nasturtium seedlings is a simple and rewarding process that can bring vibrant color and beauty to your garden. By choosing the right location with adequate sunlight, preparing the soil, selecting the optimal planting time, and carefully planting the seedlings, you can set the stage for the successful growth and blooming of these delightful flowers. The key lies in providing a favorable environment that allows the seedlings to establish strong root systems and flourish throughout the growing season. With the guidance provided in this comprehensive article, you can confidently plant nasturtium seedlings and enjoy their stunning flowers and foliage in your outdoor space.

Transplanting Nasturtium Seedlings

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are beautiful and easy-to-grow flowering plants that can add color and vibrancy to any garden. These versatile plants are known for their unique trumpet-shaped flowers and round, shield-like leaves. Nasturtiums come in a range of colors, from vivid oranges and yellows to soft pinks and reds, making them a popular choice for both beginners and experienced gardeners.

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While nasturtiums can be grown from both seeds and seedlings, planting seedlings can help speed up the growing process and ensure a more reliable and consistent outcome.

Transplanting seedlings is an essential step in the growth and development of any plant, and nasturtiums are no exception. Before transplanting the seedlings, choose a suitable location in your garden that receives full sun to partial shade. Nasturtiums thrive in well-drained soil, so make sure the soil is loose and fertile.

To begin transplanting your nasturtium seedlings, follow these steps:

  1. Water the seedlings thoroughly the day before transplanting. This will help minimize transplant shock and prepare the plants for the transfer.

  2. Dig a shallow hole in the soil that is slightly larger than the root ball of the seedling. Make sure the hole is deep enough to accommodate the roots without bending or crowding them.

  3. Gently remove the seedling from its current container, being careful not to damage the delicate roots. If the roots are tightly packed or tangled, you can loosen them slightly with your fingers.

  4. Place the seedling into the prepared hole, ensuring that the crown of the plant (the point where the stem meets the roots) is level with the surrounding soil. Avoid burying the crown too deeply, as this can lead to rotting or stunted growth.

  5. Backfill the hole with soil, firmly pressing it around the seedling to remove any air pockets. Ensure that the plant is secure and upright in the soil.

  6. Water the newly transplanted seedling thoroughly, making sure the soil is evenly moist. This will help settle the soil around the roots and promote healthy growth.

Proper Spacing And Planting Depth

Proper spacing and planting depth are crucial factors in the successful growth of nasturtium seedlings. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that each plant has enough room to grow and thrive.

Spacing: Nasturtiums generally require a spacing of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) between each plant. This spacing allows for good air circulation and prevents the plants from competing for nutrients and sunlight. If you are planting multiple rows of nasturtiums, ensure that there is at least 24 inches (60 cm) of space between each row.

Planting Depth: When transplanting the seedlings, it is important to plant them at the appropriate depth. The crown of the plant, where the stem meets the roots, should be level with the surrounding soil. Burying the crown too deeply can lead to rotting, while planting it too high can expose the roots and cause drying out. Carefully adjust the soil level to ensure the crown is at the right depth.

Watering Techniques And Maintenance

Proper watering techniques and regular maintenance are essential for the health and vitality of your nasturtium seedlings. Nasturtiums are relatively drought-tolerant plants, but they still require consistent moisture to thrive.

Follow these watering and maintenance tips to keep your nasturtiums in optimal condition:

  1. Watering Schedule: Nasturtiums prefer soil that is evenly moist but not overly saturated. Water the plants deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather conditions. During hot and dry spells, more frequent watering may be necessary.

  2. Watering Technique: When watering, direct the water flow around the base of the plant, avoiding wetting the foliage. Wet foliage can increase the risk of fungal diseases. Use a watering can or low-pressure hose attachment to control the water flow and prevent damage to the plants.

  3. Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to help retain moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weed growth. Wood chips, straw, or shredded leaves can all be used as mulching materials.

  4. Fertilization: Nasturtiums do not require heavy fertilization and can thrive in relatively poor soils. However, if you want to promote more abundant flowering and healthier foliage, you can apply a slow-release balanced fertilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to excessive foliage growth at the expense of flowers.

  5. Deadheading: Regularly remove faded or spent flowers to encourage continuous blooming. This process, known as deadheading, redirects the plant’s energy from seed production to flower production. Simply pinch off the wilted flowers at the base of the stem to promote new growth.

  6. Pest and Disease Management: Nasturtiums are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, aphids and caterpillars can occasionally be problematic. Monitor the plants regularly and remove any pests by hand or apply organic pest control methods if necessary.

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Providing Support For Climbing Varieties

Certain nasturtium varieties are climbing or trailing in nature and require support structures to grow and flourish. These climbing varieties can add vertical interest to your garden and create a beautiful cascade effect when trained against walls, trellises, or fences.

To provide support for climbing nasturtiums:

  1. Install Trellises or Fences: Install trellises or fences along the desired area where you want the nasturtiums to climb. Choose a sturdy, weather-resistant material, such as wood or metal. Place the support structure securely in the ground, ensuring it can withstand the weight of the climbing plants.

  2. Plant Adequate Distance from the Support: When planting climbing nasturtiums, ensure a suitable distance from the support structure. This will allow the plants to establish their root systems before they begin climbing. A spacing of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) from the support is generally sufficient.

  3. Training the Vines: Once the nasturtiums start growing, gently guide the vines towards the support structure. You can use soft garden twine or plant ties to loosely secure the vines to the trellis or fence. Avoid pulling the vines tightly or using materials that can damage the stem.

  4. Regular Maintenance: Check the climbing nasturtiums regularly to ensure they are properly trained and supported. Prune any excess growth or tangled vines to maintain an organized and visually pleasing appearance.

Planting nasturtium seedlings can be a rewarding gardening experience, providing you with vibrant flowers and lush foliage. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure the successful transplanting of your seedlings, provide adequate spacing and planting depth, apply proper watering techniques and maintenance practices, and support climbing varieties. With a little care and attention, your nasturtiums will bring a burst of color and beauty to your garden throughout the growing season.

Fertilizing Nasturtium Seedlings

Nasturtiums are beautiful and vibrant flowers that are easy to grow from seedlings. They are not only visually appealing but also have edible leaves and flowers, making them a versatile addition to any garden.

Nasturtiums are relatively low-maintenance plants that thrive in average to poor soil conditions. However, providing them with some extra nutrients can greatly enhance their growth and overall health. Before planting the seedlings, prepare the soil by incorporating compost or well-rotted manure to improve its fertility.

You can also use a balanced organic fertilizer to give your nasturtium seedlings an additional boost. Choose a fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10) to provide a well-rounded combination of nutrients. Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions, making sure not to overfeed the seedlings.

It’s important to note that excessive fertilization can result in lush foliage growth but fewer flowers. Therefore, it’s advisable to use a minimal amount of fertilizer for nasturtium seedlings, especially if you prioritize abundant blooms.

Protecting Seedlings From Pests And Diseases

Just like any other garden plant, nasturtium seedlings are susceptible to pests and diseases. However, with proper care and some preventive measures, you can minimize the risk of infestations and keep your plants healthy.

One of the common pests that can affect nasturtium seedlings is aphids. These small, soft-bodied insects feed on the plant sap and can cause damage if left untreated. To prevent aphid infestations, regularly inspect your seedlings and remove any visible aphids by hand or with a strong spray of water. Alternatively, you can use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control aphids.

Another pest that may target nasturtium seedlings is the cabbage looper caterpillar. These green caterpillars chew on the leaves, potentially causing significant damage. To deter cabbage loopers, you can implement physical barriers, such as floating row covers, or use organic insecticides containing Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

In terms of diseases, nasturtiums are generally quite resistant. However, powdery mildew can occasionally occur, especially in humid environments with poor air circulation. To prevent powdery mildew, avoid overhead watering and provide adequate spacing between plants to promote airflow. If powdery mildew does appear, you can treat it with a fungicidal spray specifically designed for powdery mildew control.

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Harvesting And Pruning Techniques

Nasturtiums are not only ornamental but also offer tasty and colorful edible flowers and leaves. Harvesting these delicate blooms can be done throughout the growing season, and pruning can help promote healthier growth and prolong blooming.

To harvest nasturtium flowers, wait until the blooms are fully open and vibrant in color. Grasp the base of the flower near the stem and gently twist it off. Avoid picking flowers that are wilting or have turned brown. Harvesting the flowers regularly will encourage the growth of new blooms.

Nasturtium leaves can also be harvested for salads or as a garnish. Choose young, tender leaves for the best flavor. To harvest the leaves, simply pinch or cut them off from the stem, being careful not to damage the plant. It’s recommended to harvest leaves in moderation to ensure the plant continues to grow and produce more foliage.

Pruning nasturtiums can help maintain a compact and neat appearance. Remove any dead or excessive growth to improve air circulation and prevent the spread of diseases. Additionally, pruning can encourage branching, resulting in more flowers. Use clean and sharp pruning shears to make clean cuts and minimize damage to the plants.

Troubleshooting Common Issues With Nasturtium Seedlings

Despite their resilience, nasturtium seedlings may encounter some common issues along the way. Understanding these problems and their solutions will help you address them promptly and maintain the health of your plants.

  1. Poor germination: If your nasturtium seeds fail to germinate, it could be due to several factors. Check the seed viability by performing a germination test before planting. Poor soil temperature, incorrect planting depth, and inadequate moisture are other possible causes. To improve germination, make sure to plant the seeds at the correct depth (about 1 inch deep), maintain adequate moisture levels, and provide the optimal temperature range, which is usually between 65-75°F.

  2. Yellowing leaves: Yellowing leaves can indicate a variety of issues, including nutrient deficiencies, overwatering, or exposure to cold temperatures. Conduct a soil test to determine if any nutrient deficiencies are present and address them accordingly. Ensure proper drainage to prevent overwatering, and protect the seedlings from cold temperature extremes.

  3. Stunted growth: If your nasturtium seedlings appear stunted, it may be a sign of overcrowding or nutrient deficiencies. Transplanting overcrowded seedlings to provide adequate spacing can help promote healthier growth. Additionally, fertilize the seedlings as mentioned earlier to supply them with the necessary nutrients for optimal growth.

  4. Lack of flowering: Nasturtiums are generally prolific bloomers, but if your seedlings fail to produce flowers, it could be due to excessive nitrogen or lack of sunlight. Reduce nitrogen levels by avoiding high nitrogen fertilizers and prioritize phosphorus-rich fertilizers instead. Ensure the seedlings receive at least six hours of direct sunlight daily to encourage flower production.

  5. Wilting or drooping: Wilting or drooping leaves can indicate underwatering or root rot caused by overwatering. Check the soil moisture levels regularly and water the plants when the top inch of soil feels dry. Avoid saturating the soil and aim for a moist but not waterlogged environment.


Planting nasturtium seedlings can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. By fertilizing the seedlings, protecting them from pests and diseases, implementing proper harvesting and pruning techniques, and troubleshooting common issues, you can ensure their healthy growth and vibrant blooms. With their beauty, edibility, and ease of cultivation, nasturtiums are an excellent addition to any garden or landscape. So don’t hesitate to try planting these delightful flowers and enjoy their many benefits.


What Is The Best Time To Plant Nasturtium Seedlings?

Nasturtium seedlings should be planted after the last frost date in your area. This is typically in early spring, but may vary depending on your location.

How Far Apart Should I Plant Each Nasturtium Seedling?

Nasturtium seedlings should be planted 12 inches apart in a well-draining soil. If planting in a container, make sure there is enough space for each seedling to grow and spread.

Do Nasturtium Seedlings Need A Lot Of Sunlight?

Yes, nasturtium seedlings prefer full sun, which means at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. However, they can also tolerate partial shade.

How Often Should I Water My Nasturtium Seedlings?

Nasturtium seedlings require consistent moisture, but not waterlogged soil. Water them deeply once a week, but adjust the frequency based on your environment and weather conditions.

Do I Need To Fertilize My Nasturtium Seedlings?

Nasturtiums are considered low-maintenance plants and do not require frequent fertilization. However, you can add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil before planting, or use a diluted liquid fertilizer every few weeks during the growing season.