The nasturtium plant (Tropaeolum) is a representative of the nasturtium family of the same name. This genus includes almost a hundred different species that live in Central and South America. This flower is loved not only in its homeland - nasturtium has successfully spread throughout the world. Unpretentiousness, original appearance and the ability to use the plant in cooking and medicine make nasturtium one of the most famous garden flowers.
The thermophilic plant came to Russia from Holland. The Europeans called the unusual bush "Capuchin", linking the shape of its flowers with the hoods of monks from the order of the same name. The Latin name of the plant was invented by Karl Linnaeus, to whom the rounded leaves on long shoots reminded of the trophy shields of the ancient Romans. The very same word "nasturtium" most likely appeared due to an error. The flower came to European countries as a vegetable that the Indians used to make salads. Therefore, the plant temporarily "borrowed" the name of watercress - Nasturtium officinale, but even after correcting the oversight and renaming both plants, the word "nasturtium" was still assigned to the flower. Translated, it means "cutting nose".
Nasturtium is grown to decorate flower beds and borders, grows well in flowerpots, balcony boxes and hanging pots, and in addition to decorative purposes, it can be used as a vegetable or medicine.
The genus of nasturtium includes both annuals and perennials. They usually look like vines with climbing succulent stems, but they can also be in the form of dwarf shrubs. The foliage is most often arranged alternately and can have different shapes. The flowers have a pleasant aroma. Their most characteristic shape is irregular, with 5 (or more) petals and the same number of sepals. The funnel-shaped tube contains nectar. Flowers can be yellow, red or orange. They are simple or have varying degrees of terry.
After flowering, fruits with rounded seeds are tied on nasturtium. Almost all parts of the plant can be eaten, and also have certain beneficial properties that allow them to be used as a medicine.
Nasturtium: growing and care
The table provides a brief summary of the rules for growing nasturtium in the open field.
|Landing||Direct sowing is carried out from mid-May, when frost is completely bypassed. Seedlings are transferred to the beds in early June.|
|Lighting level||For growing nasturtium, a sunny corner, sheltered from the cold wind, is best suited.|
|Watering mode||The first time after planting, the bushes will need regular abundant watering.|
|The soil||The flower prefers nutritious light soils of a slightly acidic reaction.|
|Top dressing||A flower growing in nutritious soil does not need frequent feeding.|
|Bloom||Flowering lasts from early summer to late autumn.|
|Pruning||Withered flowers are advised to be removed, leaving only individual ovaries for subsequent collection of seeds.|
|Pests||Caterpillars, black aphids.|
|Diseases||Bacterial wilting, mosaic, rust, gray mold, ring spot.|
Most often, nasturtium is grown from seeds - due to their large size, this process is not difficult. Direct sowing is carried out from mid-May, when frost is completely bypassed. For this, small (2 cm deep) holes are prepared, keeping a distance of 25-30 cm between them. 3-4 seeds are placed in each hole. Seed material does not need mandatory preliminary preparation, but to accelerate germination a day before sowing, the seeds can be soaked in water or a solution of a growth stimulator.
If it gets noticeably colder at night, the beds with crops for this period are covered with a film. For watering nasturtium, it is advisable to use only warm water heated in the sun. In such conditions, seedlings should appear within a couple of weeks.
Nasturtium. Seedlings of nasturtium.
To get blooming nasturtiums earlier, the seeds should be sown on seedlings. To facilitate future transplantation, they are immediately placed in peat or seedling cups with a removable bottom. Sowing is carried out in the middle of spring, sowing 1-3 seeds for each container. Containers with seedlings are covered with foil and kept at a temperature of about 20-22 degrees. Every day, the film must be slightly opened for airing. As with direct seeding, the sprouts should appear within 2 weeks.
After the seeds germinate, they need to provide sufficient lighting (at least 12 hours) - otherwise the sprouts will stretch out and take longer to recover after transplanting to the garden. If it is not possible to add light to the flowers, you can try to lower the temperature - the heat can also help stretch. Watering is carried out at the root, so that water does not fall on the leaves. In order not to damage the fragile roots of nasturtium, the picking of such seedlings is not carried out, so they try to immediately sow the seeds in a separate glass. The bushes are transplanted to a permanent place along with a soil clod, trying to disturb the root system as little as possible.
Seedlings are transferred to the beds in early June. For growing nasturtium, a sunny corner, sheltered from the cold wind, is best suited. In shade, nasturtium will bloom much weaker.
The flower prefers nutritious light soils of a slightly acidic reaction, and also does not perceive stagnant water well. To prevent the bushes from rotting, you must take care of the presence of a good drainage layer before planting. An excess of organic matter in the soil can have a bad effect on the formation of flowers - all the energy of the plant will be spent on the development of foliage. If the leaf blades of nasturtium are too small, and the shoots seem bare, the soil for its cultivation is too poor and needs to be fertilized.
Seedlings of nasturtium are planted in the beds, transferring the bushes along with a lump of earth or directly in a peat cup. The distance between individual plants is calculated based on the size of the variety. Usually it is from 20 to 40 cm. At first, it is recommended to cover delicate bushes at the risk of nighttime cold snaps. Such nasturtiums will begin to bloom approximately 1-1.5 months after planting.
Nasturtiums are very unpretentious and are content with standard grooming procedures. The first time after planting, the bushes will need regular abundant watering, as well as systematic weeding. Mulching the root area of the bushes will help to reduce the number of these procedures. With the beginning of flowering, the number of waterings is reduced, carrying them out only as the soil dries up. Constant soil moisture during this period will activate foliage development to the detriment of bud formation. To prolong flowering, it is advised to remove wilted flowers, leaving only individual ovaries for the subsequent collection of seeds.
Nasturtiums growing in nutrient soil do not need frequent feeding. Before flowering, they are periodically fertilized with potassium-phosphorus compounds, trying to avoid nitrogen, which stimulates the development of foliage.
In addition to seed propagation, nasturtium can be cuttings. Usually, this method is used to preserve double or very rare flower varieties in order to preserve all the characteristics of the mother bush. The cuttings are rooted in water or wet sand.
Nasturtium has good resistance to pests and is even able to scare them away from neighboring crops. Taking advantage of this property, nasturtium bushes are often planted next to vegetables or other flowers to combat green aphids, whitefly, Colorado potato beetle or cabbage butterfly. But sometimes the flower does not drive away pests, but simply lures them over to itself. For example, caterpillars or black aphids can damage bushes in this way. Insecticides should be used against them.
The plant is considered a good green manure. Flowers are often decorated with trunks of garden trees and bushes, distributing 2-3 bushes per 1 sq. m. After the autumn withering of non-wintering nasturtiums, their roots attract earthworms. The plant is also able to eliminate pathogens of some fungal diseases, as well as protect neighboring plantings from late blight and nematodes. On the beds after nasturtium, you can safely plant annuals.
But some diseases still affect nasturtium. Among them is bacterial wilting. Diseased bushes wither, starting from the lower foliage, while it begins to curl. Sometimes mosaic streaks or rust appears on the foliage, which manifests itself in the form of dark or brown specks. Another possible fungal disease of bushes is gray rot. In this case, dry brown spots appear on the leaves. With ring spotting, the foliage is covered with light brown stains and deformed. Often such diseases are borne by aphids - this is precisely its main danger to the flower.
With early symptoms of fungal diseases, the bushes are treated with a solution of Bordeaux liquid or another fungicide. Bacterial wilting and ring spot are not cured. To prevent healthy nasturtium bushes from becoming infected, the affected plant will have to be removed from the garden, and the rest of the plantings should be sprayed with an appropriate drug for prevention.
If nasturtium not only serves as a garden decoration, but is also used for food, it should be treated with chemicals with caution, waiting for the necessary time and strictly following the instructions for preparing chemical compositions. To prevent nasturtium from getting sick, you need to follow the basic rules of agricultural technology. For sowing, use only proven seeds and cuttings. The soil in pots or in the beds is disinfected with a solution of potassium permanganate or copper sulfate. The soil near the bushes should not be waterlogged. They try not to disturb the roots of the plant with transplants unless absolutely necessary. To maintain health, the bushes are fed at least once a season with a potassium-phosphorus composition.
Nasturtium seeds ripen after the flower wilts. Their color changes from green to light whitish, after which they fall to the ground. The size of the seeds allows them to be collected even from the surface of the soil, but this is not always convenient, so it is recommended to collect them in a timely manner. The harvested seed can be stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags.
Not all plant species have time to ripen seeds before the onset of cold weather. So from foreign nasturtium they are harvested still green, ripening at home.
After the end of flowering, the number of waterings is gradually reduced. Nasturtium is able to overwinter only in warm regions, therefore it is usually grown as an annual. In the fall, after collecting the seeds, the bushes are removed from the beds, destroying all plant residues, and the earth is carefully dug up.
Most types of nasturtiums are perennials, but due to their thermophilicity in horticulture, they are used only as annuals. Of all the types of this flower, the following are most often found in culture:
South American view. Tropaeolum peregrinum (canariense) forms light green shoots up to 3.5 m in length. They can quickly wrap around supports, so such plants are often used to decorate fences and trellises. Their small foliage can have 5 or 7 lobes. Flowering lasts from mid-summer until frost. It forms small, bright yellow flowers with wavy petals and green spurs. In the regions of the middle lane, the seeds of such plants do not ripen, so they are removed in advance.
The most common type. Tropaeolum majus has bare branched stems up to 2.5 m long. They do not curl, but spread along the ground, but sometimes they can be erect. Such plants grow up to 70 cm in height. Their rounded foliage has an asymmetrical thyroid shape. From the outside, the leaf is painted green, and from the inside - bluish. The leaves are kept on long petioles, and the size of the plates reaches 8 cm in diameter. Flowering of this species begins in June, ending in late autumn. Large nasturtium produces good self seeding. Its seeds remain viable for about 4 years. Of the variety of varieties, compact nasturtiums growing in a bush are very popular. For example:
This group of nasturtiums includes hybrids of large and shield-bearing species. Tropaeolum cultorum has highly leafy shoots. The leaves are thyroid and are green or greenish-purple in color. Varieties belonging to this species can have different shapes and heights, dividing into:
Among the most common varieties of such nasturtiums:
Thin shoots of this species reach 35 cm in height. Tropaeolum minus has small, rounded thyroid foliage located on long and thin petioles. The velvety flowers are up to 3 cm across and are yellow in color. Three out of five petals have a pointed edge, and are also complemented by red spots. The flower spurs are curved. The flowering period lasts from June to mid-autumn. Common varieties:
Plants of this species are semi-shrubs with creeping shoots. Tropaeolum peltophorum forms fragile long stems of dark green color. Their length reaches 4 m. The thyroid foliage is also dark green. Against this background, dark red flowers look very impressive. Flowering of this type lasts from June until frost, while the seeds ripen successfully on time.
One of the most famous varieties is Lucifer. It forms bushes up to 25 cm tall, the stems are greenish in color, and the rich green foliage has a burgundy tint. Flowers up to 6 cm wide are painted red-orange.
In addition to the listed species, nasturtiums such as:
These species are considered more rare.
Nasturtium is distinguished not only by its beauty, but also by an impressive list of useful properties. All parts of the bush, with the exception of the roots, are considered edible. So flowers and leaves of young bushes are used for cooking, giving them a piquant flavor. They are included in meat and vegetable dishes, soups and salads, and are also used to decorate meals. Pickled green fruits taste similar to capers.Thoroughly dried and ground seeds serve as a fragrant seasoning that can replace black pepper. This property of the flower was widely used during the war.
Nasturtium has long been used in folk medicine. This flower is rich in vitamin C: in this indicator, it is 10 times superior to salad. At the same time, the plant contains phytoncides and provitamin A. Nasturtium is used to activate hair growth, in the treatment of skin rashes, anemia and vitamin deficiency. The flower is included in drugs that help with kidney stones, as well as scurvy. Dishes prepared with the use of nasturtium help with atherosclerosis and improve metabolism in the elderly. The rhizomes of the flower, which are not considered edible, can also serve as a medicine - they can lower testosterone levels.
Nasturtium can be used as a laxative and diuretic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, as well as an expectorant.
However, nasturtium medications should not be taken without consulting a doctor. In addition to individual intolerance, excessive amounts of such medications, teas or decoctions can lead to health problems. If drugs containing nasturtium are taken too often, irritation of the gastrointestinal tract mucosa, nausea or vomiting may occur. It is not recommended to be treated with this plant for gastritis or stomach ulcers. In addition, external use involves eye protection - formulations with a flower have a slight pungency.
In some recipes, capers are mentioned. Not everyone has tried this exotic product. And it is not sold in every store, it is expensive. But many have heard about the fact that exotic capers have a domestic “analogue”. I even thought for a while that capers are pickled buds of nasturtium.
Nasturtium is not only beautiful but also edible. Leaves and flowers are used for cooking, which are added to salads and sandwiches. Buds and unripe fruits are also used. They are pickled or salted, then cooked and eaten like real capers.
For colds, a special infusion of dry nasturtium leaves is prepared. For its preparation 1 tbsp. medicinal raw materials must be poured with 200 g of boiled water. It should be insisted for 30 minutes. After that, the ready-made infusion must be drained. For colds, take approximately 70 g three times a day for lung diseases, as well as for possible colds, which are accompanied by a severe cough.
You need to take a 1 liter jar and fill it tightly with fresh nasturtium leaves, which are collected during the flowering period of this plant. Pour these leaves with dry white wine so that the wine completely covers the leaves, and leave for 2 weeks at room temperature, but only in a dark place. After the expiration of this period, the infusion must be filtered. Should take 1 tsp. three times a day just before meals.
Crushed and pre-dried all parts of the plant 1 tbsp. you need to fill in 0.5 l. boiling water and put in a water bath. This liquid should be boiled for 15 minutes, and then leave for 45 minutes. And only then strain. You need to take this broth three times a day at regular intervals, regardless of food intake for 1 tbsp. (this is about 200-250 g).
With bronchitis, especially chronic bronchitis, it is recommended to take an alcoholic tincture, which can be prepared from nasturtium on your own. To prepare it, you need to take 2 tbsp. medicinal raw materials from nasturtium and pour 1 tbsp. vodka. Insist for 2 weeks in a dark but warm place. The contents of the container must be shaken periodically. After that, the infusion should be filtered. Take 25 drops three times daily for chronic bronchitis.
Fresh juice from the leaves and shoots of this medicinal plant is used as an excellent remedy for hair loss, dandruff, and baldness. To do this, fresh nasturtium leaves must be passed through an ordinary meat grinder with a mesh, in which there are small holes, and then squeeze the resulting gruel through the fabric. The resulting juice should be rubbed into the scalp every other day, 2 weeks. After completing this course, you need to take a break for 10 days and repeat the procedure. During the season, 3 two-week courses of rubbing this juice into the scalp should be carried out. But with this therapy, juice should be avoided in the eyes, as it can provoke the development of inflammatory processes in the eye.
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For cultivated soil cultivation in the middle lane, the following varieties of nasturtium are suitable:
Other types of nasturtium (beautiful, ciliated, tricolor, azure and others) are also distinguished by their external attractiveness, but growing them in middle latitudes is associated with certain difficulties.