Are you looking for a flowering ground cover for that neglected corner of the garden? Do you want a pest-repelling companion plant that's also edible, ornamental and valued as an herbal remedy?
Double Gleam nasturtium, for all its delicate beauty, is a tough contender for the gardener who wants their plants to pull their weight. Fast growing and hardy, nasturtiums thrive in poorer soils. They're happy to sprawl along garden borders and, from late spring until first frost, benefit neighboring plants as well as your summer menu.
What's different about Double Gleam?
The ruffle-textured double- and semi-doubled petals of this variety set Double Gleam apart from standard smooth-petaled nasturtium. Our Double Gleam mixes help you bring warm, vibrant hues of reds, yellows, and golds to your landscape and vegetable garden.
Like all nasturtium, Double Gleam's large, round matte green leaves and delicate tendrils provide layers of color, shape, and shade to edgings. Nasturtiums are annuals that can spread up to 60" in any direction; they make excellent climbers, cascades and lateral ground covers.
Few things are as beautiful as a drift of bright green nasturtium leaves holding perfectly round beads of rain after a summer shower.
How to use nasturtium in the garden
Ground cover: Nasturtium thrives in average, sandy, dry soils. Do you have a spot in full sun or partial shade you haven't gotten around to cultivating? Once established, you can continue to neglect those out-of-the-way spots; these bright, spreading plants will do just fine with sparse watering. Avoid overly damp soil, as this will reduce flowering on your nasturtium plants.
Pest repellant: Plant nasturtium around your vegetable beds to help repel whiteflies, beetles, and squash bugs. They're known to attract aphids away from more sensitive plants, and some report that aphids die after munching on nasturtium. Some gardeners make infusions from nasturtium leaves and soap flakes to spray on aphid-infested plants.
Cascading container plants: As they're not as sensitive to drying out as many other ornamentals, nasturtium does well in container plantings and rock gardens. Add drama to group plantings by allowing nasturtium's 24 to 60 inch vines to cascade over rock walls or over the lip of large pots.
Climbing cover-up: Do you have an unattractive wall or fence you'd like to hide? Nasturtium will climb rough or trellised surfaces without overly aggressive suckering. They soften corners in enclosed outdoor areas, especially vegetable gardens fenced for deer.
Nasturtium in the kitchen
Nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible, with a mild, peppery flavor often related as "hot watercress". Add them to salads, or as a garnish to summer drinks. Look online to find out how to stuff fresh blooms with your favorite herbed cream cheeses, or to select among many nasturtium leaf "pesto" recipes.
The broad, round leaves can be stuffed similar to dolmas, but with a more delicate texture.
Are your nasturtiums thriving beyond your expectations? Clip the tender shoots at the ends of vines to add crunch to salads, sandwiches, and soups.
Finally, "poor man's capers" are the nickname for pickled nasturtium seeds.
Nasturtium's herbal qualities
Nasturtium is native to Peru and Chile, where its long been cherished as a medicinal plant. It's known to ease respiratory and urinary infections and is widely used as a topical antiseptic. Teas made from leaves or flowers are traditionally used as an expectorant and laxative.
According to AnthroMed Library article Portrait of a Medicinal Plant - Tropaeolum majus L. - this South American vine contains high amounts of Benzyl isothiocyanate, which "inhibits or kills gram-positive and negative bacteria and fungi." Nasturtium is also used for acne, skin and mouth lesions.
As with all herbal remedies, use caution, and check with your doctor to make sure concentrated infusions of nasturtium won't conflict with your current medications or physical condition.
- Type: Flower
- Color: Mixture
- Height: 8" to 14" Tall
- Width: 60" Spread
- Season: Annual
- Zones: 3 to 10
- Environment: Full Sun
Sowing The Seed
Nasturtium seeds have a tough outer shell, which can be scarified to improve germination. Nick the seeds with a knife, or sandpaper and soak them in warm water overnight. Once this has been done, you can sow the seeds either indoors, or directly outdoors. If started indoors, sow the seeds in peat pots, 6 to 8 weeks prior to the last forst. Peat pots will help prevent root shock when transplanted. Sow the seeds at a depth of 1/2” under topsoil. Transplant entire pots, or direct sow outdoors when the weather has warmed and all danger of frost has passed.
Nasturtium will thrive in areas of full sunlight, with temperatures of at least 65F or higher. They require poor soils, which will promote more blooms. The sowing medium should be well drained as well. To increase your drainage, we recommend that you add a light compost to any areas containing hard, compact soil. Water the seeds daily until germination has successfully occurred.
Germination & Growth
Nasturtium seeds typically take anywhere between 7 and 10 days to germinate. The plants will grow to a mature length of 60 inches long. The plants can be spaced about 18 to 24 inches apart from one another. The 3 inch, colorful blooms will attract an array of beneficial insects to the garden, such as bumblebees, honeybees, butterflies & hummingbirds as well. The leaves, seeds & flowers are all edible.