Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Nasturtium
Tropaeolum majus 'Empress of India'

Family: Tropaeolaceae
Genus: Tropaeolum (tro-PEE-oh-lum) (Info)
Species: majus (MAY-jus) (Info)
Cultivar: Empress of India

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

16 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade


Bloom Color:
Scarlet (Dark Red)

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse
Direct sow as soon as the ground can be worked
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Weezingreens
Thumbnail #1 of Tropaeolum majus by Weezingreens

By Weezingreens
Thumbnail #2 of Tropaeolum majus by Weezingreens

By Crimson
Thumbnail #3 of Tropaeolum majus by Crimson

By jmarks74
Thumbnail #4 of Tropaeolum majus by jmarks74

By joegee
Thumbnail #5 of Tropaeolum majus by joegee

By bmuller
Thumbnail #6 of Tropaeolum majus by bmuller

By bmuller
Thumbnail #7 of Tropaeolum majus by bmuller

There are a total of 11 photos.
Click here to view them all!


7 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive katznjam On Jun 9, 2012, katznjam from Washington, MO wrote:

This plant does not like direct sunlight here in Washington, Mo. but grows extremely well in partial shade. Do not fertilize as the result will be more foliage and less flowers, which are a stunning crimson red making a superb contrast with the blue-green water lily-like leaves. I use both the leaves and flowers in salads, and make a champagne vinegar with both. Mighty tasty and lovely to look at.

Positive krissy_p On Apr 3, 2008, krissy_p from Pipe Creek, TX wrote:

I like this plant, even the leaves are pretty and it is sooo easy to grow from seed.

Neutral berrygirl On Mar 5, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

Classic Victorian plant with dark blue-green foliage and crimson-scarlet flowers. Plants seldom get over 12-14" and are great for containers. Flowers and blooms add a peppery flavor to salads.

Neutral Sharma_gochis On May 22, 2006, Sharma_gochis from Clinton, MT wrote:

I too grew out "Empress of India" from seed and had an extreme variety of colors. One yellow, one scarlet, and the rest were oranges and red. Beautiful, but not the seed I paid for from a "reputable" seed company. By the way, they clone easily. At least I know what I'm getting with cloning.

Positive jmarks74 On May 11, 2006, jmarks74 from Loganville, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

I grew Nasturtium 'Empress of India' from seed. It propogated easily. Transplanting was an issue for some of the plants but the majority of them have done well.

Positive punaheledp On Jun 25, 2004, punaheledp from Kailua, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

The color is striking and the plant is more compact than most nasturtiums. Nice addition to my garden.

Neutral suncatcheracres On Jan 19, 2004, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I generally love nasturtiums, but I planted Empress of India in a suburb of Atlanta and all of the flowers were orange, not the beautiful red in these pictures, so I was very disappointed. From reading the above it seems the seeds I had might have already hybridized with other nasturtiums where the seeds were grown. Perhaps I will try again, as I would love to use these red flowers in a salad.

Positive Flit On Jan 18, 2004, Flit from Santa Cruz, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This has a neater and smaller habit than most of the nasturtiums I've grown, and the foliage is beautiful in its own right. It's a little less robust than some of the others, too, but it re-seeds freely like all of them.

One note: if you grow it near other nasturtiums it will hybridize, and the striking red bloom color seems to be recessive. I've found plants with Empress of India foliage and dark red-orange flowers. Also striking but not the original. It's been a nice addition to the unnamed nasturtium that came with the house, though, that was colored about like the Whirlybird mix (yellow, orange, yellow-orange.) Combined, they now give me flowers in every color of the rainbow including cream, salmon, dark magenta, and interesting variegations. I can't ever predict what will happen in any given year but I like the results!

Positive lupinelover On Jan 27, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

'Empress of India' clambering up a viburnum made a show-stopper in my yard.

Positive Weezingreens On Aug 19, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

Empress of India has dark crimson flowers and dark green leaves tinged with a red edging. The unusual leaf color makes it an interesting plant even before it begins to bloom. As with all nasturtiums, the flowers and leaves are edible, having a spicy taste that is a welcome addition to salads or may be used as a wrap for appetizers.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

San Anselmo, California
San Diego, California
Santa Cruz, California
Thomasville, Georgia
Kailua, Hawaii
Kingfield, Maine
Takoma Park, Maryland
Danvers, Massachusetts
Washington, Missouri
Clinton, Montana
Bayville, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bucyrus, Ohio
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Lafayette, Tennessee
Pipe Creek, Texas
Roanoke, Virginia
Freeland, Washington
Spokane, Washington

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