Nasturtium dwarf is a plant native to Peru and came down to us in the seventeenth century through the Spanish conquerors, immediately finding great use throughout Europe.
Nasturtium has completely edible leaves and is rich in vitamin C. For this reason, it was used, as well as for aesthetic values, to treat scurvy and for its antibacterial properties.
Its original scientific name is Tropaeolum and derives from the Greek “tropaion”, which means trophy, with reference to the pole on top of which once hung the helmets and swords of enemies killed. For this reason, in the past its flowers were engraved on helmets, shields and swords to instil a fighting spirit in men in battle.
In the language of flowers, it symbolizes, in fact, the struggle and is given as a wish not to surrender to those who are faced with a difficulty.
Nasturtium Nano: Characteristics
Nasturtium dwarf is a beautiful bush with bright colors and delicate scent, which reaches a height of 30 cm.
It can be cultivated both in the garden and in pots. Even if it does not show the exact characteristics of the real climbing plants, in some varieties, and with the due help of supports and supports, it is also bred as a climber.
It has thin and fickle stems and round, shiny leaves.
It blooms from June to October with large, showy flowers, with bright yellow or orange tones.
It has a pleasant spicy smell, unfortunately particularly loved by bees.
The dwarf nasturtium is very simple to grow and for this reason is also suitable for those who are not very experienced in gardening or want to start to approach this practice.
Nasturtium Nano: Variety
- There are different varieties of dwarf nasturtium.
- Among the most common is the Peach Melba, with yellow and red flowers, used to dress salads.
Or there is Salmon baby, which has a color ranging from pink to orange.
Today, thanks to different hybridizations, it is also possible to choose from multiple color variations that allow you to indulge in decorating gardens and balconies.
- There is the Emperess of India, with a strong red color, dark and velvety.
- The Apricor Gleam, for the lovers of the soft colors, tending to the apricot orange, even to the cream.
- Mahogany Jewel, on the other hand, is brown.
- Three varieties are creamy yellow, almost white: Milkmaid, Primrose Jewel and Whirlybird Cream.
- Less common are the Whirlybird Cherry, a soft pink.
- And the Black Velvet, almost greyish.
Dwarf Nasturtium in the Kitchen
All parts of the dwarf nasturtium are edible.
The leaves are used as a substitute for the caper due to their delicately peppery taste.
They are perfect as a salad dressing and have a taste very similar to that of some common vegetables, such as watercress and rocket.
But their taste goes well with many combinations of dishes: perfect in a pan to skip first courses, taste them in pairs with sweeter green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, to compensate for the spicy taste, add leaves or petals in vegetarian sandwiches.
Flowers, on the other hand, are perfect for confectionery because they have a slight taste and smell of honey.
You can try them to make cakes and pastries, they are ideal with cupcakes, their colors give a pleasant effect even just as decoration.
Add to that that they’re also good for you.
The flowers, in fact, contain about 130 mg of vitamin C per 100 grams, almost the same amount of parsley. In addition, they contain up to 45 mg of lutein per 100 grams, which is the largest amount ever found in any edible plant.
How to Grow Dwarf Nasturtium
Nano nasturtium is very easy to care for and is suitable for all types of gardens.
It is ideal for those who have little space, as well as for rock gardens or simply for colorful vases or baskets to hang at the entrance of your home.
Dwarf nasturtium prefers full sun, however it needs to be protected from the summer heat, because too much sun damages the flowering.
The ideal location would be in the shade of other plants if it is planted on a balcony or a tree if it is grown in a garden.
The same applies if the plant is positioned indoors. It is necessary to place it near a window lit by the sun, because it requires at least two or three hours of heat.
Remember that dwarf nasturtium does not tolerate strong air currents, especially cold ones in winter.
Therefore, protect it from any draughts, to ensure its survival.
The dwarf nasturtium is to be planted in a drained soil and not too rich of nitrogen organic substance.
This is because if there is too much fertilizer in the soil, the nasturtiums will tend to produce more leaves than flowers.
The ideal is a light soil, of sandy nature, with a good level of drainage. A mix of common soil, sand and peat is excellent.
You can choose to grow dwarf nasturtium in a pot or directly in the garden to have a colorful flowerbed. In this case the plants must be spaced at least 30 cm apart.
Dwarf nasturtium needs water only when the soil is dry, because, like most plants, it fears water stagnation.
Therefore, it is sufficient to water it a couple of times a week, or, at least, when, pressing the fingers on the ground, it does not feel humid.
Water it only around the roots and never from above.
Do this in the morning, so that the plant dries up completely before the evening and does not risk to produce humidity, which would cause mold or proliferation of larvae.
The plant does not need fertilizer and avoid them especially if you also want to eat the leaves.
Curiosities and Last Tips
A particularity of dwarf nasturtium is that it has water-repellent leaves. In fact, if you pour water on the leaves, they do not get wet, but form droplets that slip away.
Since you do not like particularly fertile soils, it is better not to plant the dwarf nasturtium near other plants that will then need a lot of fertilizer, such as roses.
In autumn, prune your dwarf nasturtium and eliminate weeds, flowers and dead leaves, so that in the spring it blooms even more luxuriantly.