Nasturtium - Tropaeolum



Nasturtium makes for a delicious accompaniment to many different cuisines. The edible blooms and leaves have a peppery and moderately spicy flavor reminiscent of watercress. These blossoms can be used as a striking salad garnish since they add spicy flavor and visual appeal.

  • Plant Family: Tropaeolaceae
  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Monk’s cress, Garden nasturtium, Flame flower, Canary creep
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Leaves & Flowers
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About Nasturtium

Nasturtium (Tropaeolum) is a multipurpose blooming plant renowned for its unique botanical characteristics, culinary uses, and health benefits. The lovely round leaves and brightly colored flowers of this annual plant range from yellow and orange to red.

Nasturtium makes for a delicious accompaniment to many different cuisines. The edible blooms and leaves have a peppery and moderately spicy flavor reminiscent of watercress. These blossoms can be used as a striking salad garnish since they add spicy flavor and visual appeal. The leaves can also be used in place of basil or spinach in dishes like pesto, sauces, and soups. Additionally, the young seeds can also be pickled to make a sour condiment.

Apart from their culinary charm, nasturtiums have a rich history of medicinal usage. Traditionally, it is famous for its antimicrobial, diuretic, and expectorant properties. It contains certain substances with possible anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. According to some herbalists, nasturtium extracts can improve respiratory health and reduce the symptoms of congestion, coughing, and sore throats.

Recently, it has been found that nasturtium contains naturally occurring substances with antibacterial and antifungal effects, such as benzyl isothiocyanate and glucotropaeolin. These qualities make nasturtium extracts ideal candidates for topical treatments and natural cures, such as skin care and wound healing.


Nasturtium can be grown in spring, late summer, or early fall, depending on the climate of the region. In most regions, it can be grown in spring after the last frost date by directly sowing in the garden. It can also be planted in late summer or early autumn in regions with warm winters and no frost. By doing this, they can establish themselves before winter and bloom in the cooler months.

Nasturtium can be grown indoors too in order to receive its year-round supply. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun, but it can tolerate partial shade too.

Under favorable conditions, nasturtium seeds can germinate within 7 to 14 days. After around 8 to 12 weeks of sowing seeds, it begins to produce flowers. 

Nasturtiums have the ability to self-pollinate, which allows them to generate seeds without the aid of outside pollinators. They do, however, also draw the attention of a wide range of pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. While visiting the flowers to consume the nectar, these pollinators unintentionally spread pollen from one blossom to another, promoting cross-pollination. 

They have brightly colored flowers in shades of yellow, orange, and red, which are easily visible to pollinators. After pollination, it produces seed pods that contain seeds for future growth.



Nasturtium seeds can be harvested when the flowers have faded and the seed pods have formed. The seed pods should be allowed to develop and dry on the plant until they turn brown and start to separate. Its leaves can be harvested at any time during the growing season. When they are young and sensitive, they are normally at their best for culinary application. Its flowers are harvested when they are in full bloom.

Nasturtium seeds, flowers, and leaves are harvested all around the world. They can be either handpicked or harvested using sharp gardening scissors.

Drying nasturtium leaves and flowers is a great way to preserve them for culinary and medicinal purposes. Gently rinse the leaves and flowers and pat dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Gather them into a small bunch and tie the ends with a string. Hang the bunches upside down in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Make sure the bunches are spaced apart sufficiently to allow for adequate airflow. Within a week or two, the leaves will shrink and begin to dry, and the flowers will take around 2 to 3 weeks. 

Once completely dried, store them in airtight containers, such as glass jars or sealed plastic bags. Keep the containers in a cool, dark, and dry place to maintain their quality.


Nasturtium leaves that have been dried can be added to teas, soups, salads, or seasoning mixtures. Dried flowers can be used as edible decorations for cakes and pastries, as well as in potpourri and crafts. They are also used for medicinal purposes for the betterment of health.

  • Tincture - Fresh nasturtium leaves or leaves are macerated in high-proof alcohol using a 1:2 ratio for 4 to 6 weeks in a glass jar in a cool, dark, and dry place.
  • Tea - Dried nasturtium leaves are soaked in water for 5 to 10 minutes to form a cup of nasturtium tea.
  • Decoction - Dried nasturtium seeds can be decocted in boiling water for 20 to 30 minutes to formulate nasturtium decoction.
  • Salve - Use nasturtium-infused oil to stir in the melted beeswax to formulate a soothing topical salve.
  • Syrup - Nasturtium leaves or flowers can be simmered in a sugar solution for a few minutes to formulate a nasturtium solution.
  • Infused oil - Fresh or dried nasturtium leaves are added to coconut or olive oil and can be heated in a double boiler on a water bath for 1-2 hours, strained, and saved in a glass bottle for later use.