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Nasturtium 'Empress of India'

Tropaeolum majus

Family: Tropaeolaceae
Genus: Tropaeolum (tro-PEE-oh-lum) (Info)
Species: majus (MAY-jus) (Info)
Cultivar: Empress of India
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade





Foliage Color:




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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Scarlet (dark red)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Worcester, 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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


On Mar 5, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 w... read more


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.


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.