Nasturtium 'Alaska' - it's a blurry photo, but it gives a much better idea of how they really work in a real garden than the photos in seed catalogs. This was planted in a pretty shady spot and it didn't flower much (the flowers are verbena). These round leaves looked fresh and bright in this late September photo.

Nasturtium 'Alaska' - it's a blurry photo, but it gives a much better idea of how they really work in a real garden than the photos in seed catalogs. This was planted in a pretty shady spot and it didn't flower much (the flowers are verbena). These round leaves looked fresh and bright in this late September photo.

 

Nasturtium 'Alaska' Seeds

Everyone loves to plant seeds, but it's pretty easy to be disappointed. 

The Perfect Seed

It' not to late: nasturtium seeds can be planted in May and give lovely results. A lot of seeds really need to be started before May but won’t germinate in cold soil. Nasturtium are big seeds with big seedlings which are easy to see (and not accidentally kill). Also, they produce viable seed, but they won't self seed and become a nuisance (it's too cold here, they are a nuisance in San Francisco).

The Perfect Plant

You can grow this plant anywhere: containers, flower beds, and herb gardens (leaves and flowers are edible)

They grow well in full sun or part shade. They flower more in full sun, but the heat will slow down their growth (but they will rebound nicely in September when it gets cooler). They flower a little less in shadier spots, but their marbled, circular leaves are enough reason to grow this plant.

They grow about 10" tall and wide. By itself it makes a tidy ball, but it will twine itself amongst other plants for a less formal look. The flowers are slightly muted sunrise colors (red, orange, and yellow. Imagine Jackie Kennedy in an orange suit - they're that color). The leaves are really special. Their marbling and distinct shape adds a bright spot of texture, the flowers are a tasty (sweet and spicy) bonus.

To plant:

Cover the seeds with soil. Water well. They will germinate faster if you soak the seeds for an hour or two, or if you start them inside. Inside, they will start germinating in about a week, outside it may take two or three weeks.