Nasturtium, Mastuerzo, Indian Cress

Tropaeolum majus

Family: Tropaeolaceae
Genus: Tropaeolum (tro-PEE-oh-lum) (Info)
Species: majus (MAY-jus) (Info)
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Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

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:



Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall




Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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


Auburn, Alabama

Benson, Arizona

Alameda, California

Fair Oaks, California

Fallbrook, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California

San Leandro, California

Santa Cruz, California

Simi Valley, California

Denver, Colorado

Washington, District Of Columbia

Bartow, Florida

Frostproof, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Miami, Florida

Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)

Brunswick, Georgia

Zachary, Louisiana

Worcester, Massachusetts

Belmar, New Jersey

Tuckerton, New Jersey

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Ogdensburg, New York

Asheville, North Carolina

Brookings, Oregon

Greensburg, Pennsylvania

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Sumter, South Carolina

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Mcallen, Texas

Red Oak, Texas

Norwich, Vermont

Blakely Island, Washington

Spokane, Washington

Parkersburg, West Virginia

Delavan, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 9, 2016, RicoF from den haag,
Netherlands wrote:

I guerrilla garden them every year here in Holland, on places I walk by that are without any vegetation and could use some easy and fast growing plants to cheer up the area! Also always used them in our vegetable garden under the bean stakes, the lice will spare your beans then and will go for the tropaeolum because they are one of their favorite foods!

I've used the leaves and flowers in salads as well, theyre great to give it a touch of spice, you could compare it with rocket salad flavor, they could be distant family flavor wise!

the leave's can also be added to a summery soup for some green coloring and extra spice once again. You can also use them together with a vegetable mix and stir fry them!

One time I remember now, i've also used th... read more


On May 1, 2010, nomosno from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

I think it is safe to say that this plant has naturalized on the Pacific strip of the Western US. It grows in untended areas all over San Diego, covering city-block size areas. I have seen large and established colonies of this plant as far north as San Francisco (which is certainly not Zone 10b). It can actually become a bit of a nuisance in gardens but it is easy to control and beautiful. It seems to adapt to different levels of sunshine by growing larger leaves in shady areas and smaller ones in full sun.


On Aug 21, 2008, donicaben from Ogdensburg, NY wrote:

Probably best to direct sow these. I tried growing them indoors first and only got one to take off out of the ten I tried...but one is all I needed!

It's nearing the end of August and that one has trailed along the ground at least ten feet. It is growing like our butternut squash (and kind of resembles it on a smaller scale).

I have red flowers all over the vine. Since it's in my front yard I don't get to stare at it very often, but I wouldn't doubt that this flower probably attracts a bunch of hummers. I might try planting it in my backyard next year and see if my theory is correct. :-)

All in all, a great plant. I let my flowerbed get overrun with weeds (I have a couple of toddlers and no time!) and this one plant just flourished. It cl... read more


On Jun 22, 2008, kryistina from Springfield, MO wrote:

These will flower madly in poor soil, need little watering, and have a slight peppery flavor added to salads. May also be floated on soups, or cooked down into any savory dish as a seasoning. The flowers are also a beautiful garnish with a few sprigs of parsley on the side of a steak platter.


On Jul 11, 2007, rebecca101 from Madison, WI (Zone 5a) wrote:

I'm not really fond of nasturtiums, although I grow them every year because they are so darn easy! They are easy to germinate (direct sowing) and fast to grow from seed. They always look a bit of a mess in my garden though - flopping all about and with the flowers mostly hidden among the leaves. I'm not fond of the colors either. Harsh and flat. Not the most attractive garden plant, in my opinion. Maybe they need a more hot dry climate.


On Jun 27, 2006, Debndal from Coppell, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is a great herb! In NCentralTX I plant in late February and cover if there is a freeze. They bloom almost continuously from April to mid June. I have them spilling over a retaining wall - I love the round leaves. I guess the heat in Texas is too much - I just pulled them up last week, but I replant every year. Have never had any seedlings from previous years come up.


On Mar 23, 2006, Galop from Washington, DC wrote:

At first I watered it regularly and got nothing. Then I left it on its, watering only about every 10 days. Flowers like crazy. I planted it in ordinary soil, not too fertilized. Kept blooming after all the other annuals had stopped. Very beautiful, and carefree. It's supposedly edible, but I'd rather look at them than eat 'em.


On Jun 21, 2004, merlino from Tarquinia (VT),
Italy wrote:

How should I cook or use my Nasturtium in an edible way?
I know it is positively planted near beans in biological gardening.


On Apr 19, 2004, RichSwanner from Citrus Heights, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

These were some of the most beautiful Nasturtiums I have ever seen. They were growing in Stinson Beach Ca. It doesn't freeze there, except for a freak, once in ten year's type of thing. They are most likely perennial, but I listed the bloom time from Spring to mid-winter, as they go dormant when it gets into the low thirties.They seem to not be annual,as they have grown to cover a vast amount of space.The leaves are up to six inches across and look almost like lily pads in size.


On Jul 28, 2003, Anya29 from Sherbrooke,
Canada wrote:

Hello - I started from seed a little late (June), and now have lots of foliage but not one flower, and I have about 5 plants.


On May 18, 2003, Lavanda from Mcallen, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

This plant is a heat-loving annual. Flowers are used as an ingredient in salads and other dishes.

To make "capers" from the seeds, one should pickle them in a vinaigrette/brine solution.

The seeds are extremely easy to harvest, and this is a good candidate for beginning gardeners from children to adults.


On May 18, 2003, PaulRobinson from Torrance, CA wrote:

The leaves, stems, flowers and seeds of all varieties of Nasturtium are edible They have a pleasant, "peppery" flavor when added raw to salads, etc. The seeds can be especially "hot", but with a unique flavor. Use judiciously. The lower end of the "funnel" shaped flower can be bitten off and a tiny drop of nectar sucked out, much as with honeysuckle flowers.

Naturtiums here n So. California grow easily, bloom luxuriantly, require almost no attendance, and can reseed invasively. The invasiveness is simple to control, however. Pruning or uprooting is quick and easy.


On Apr 28, 2003, lft wrote:

Thanks for the great pictures of this plant. I'd like to know if all varieties of Nasturtium are edible.


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

Grow in low-fertility soil or few flowers will appear. Nasturtiums also make great houseplants. If you provide extra light, they will bloom indoors all winter.


On Aug 8, 2001, Evert from Helsinki,
Finland (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant is edible and you can use the seedpods as capers.