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Tropaeolum majus

Tropaeolum majus
Alaska Salmon Orange
Tropaeolum majus
'Blue Pepe' has rich red flowers over small blue-green leaves

Common name nasturtium
Family tropaeolaceae
Life cycle annual/tender perennial
Flowers various colors (summer)
Size rambler
Light sun-part shade
From seed direct-sow in mid-spring
detailed seed-starting info below
Seed ripenslate October

All parts of this plant are edible, although the flowers are most commonly used. We don't grow it for its culinary properties, though - the elegantly shaped rounded leaves and its intricate, brightly colored flowers are reason enough for us. In recent years we've gotten back into the habit of starting nasturtiums, and I'm looking forward to trying some new varieties. Through the years, we've grown quite a few, including 'Vesuvius', with fresh blue-green leaves and prominently veined orangish-rose flowers; 'Alaska Salmon Orange', which sports spectacularly white-splotched leaves, with somewhat softer-tinted flowers; 'Blue Pepe', whose scarlet flowers are offset by a mass of small leaves with a strong blue tint; and 'Milkmaid', whose creamy yellow flowers appear among much larger leaves.

Alaska Salmon Orange foliage
Tropaeolum majus
'Milkmaid', an old-fashioned variety
A nice red-flowered one
Tropaeolum majus
'Black Velvet' - not quite as dark as some photos show, but a luscious contrast nonetheless
A red form from the seed mixture 'Caribbean Cocktail'
Tropaeolum majus
And a nice set of orange ones, same seed mix
Large seeds form in clusters of three; in my experience, only a small fraction of the flowers produce seed after fading, even with other nasturtiums growing in the vicinity

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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Seed-starting details for this plant

  1. Various varieties from '08 and '09 trades. All germinated at room temperature, at 67-83% in 5-20d (mostly within 5-6d, a few stragglers came along later
  2. 'Blue Pepe' from '08 trade, baggy 70F (60%G, 8-18d).
    'Black Velvet from '08 trade. Baggy 70F (57%G, 8d)
  3. 'Caribbean Cocktail' from '09 trade, baggy 70F (33%G, 10-12d)

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