Nasturtium flower (Tropaeolum majus) is a semi-trailing annual with orange and yellow flowers. They give a peppery taste similar to watercress. Nasturtiums are not only easy to grow, they also add colorful flavor to your bird’s menu. These small flowers require very little attention to thrive in your garden; they just need soil, water and room to grow.
Nasturtium seeds are edible when they are immature and green and are similar to to capers when pickled.
Here’s what you’ll need to sow your own Nasturtium garden.
Seeds: Nasturtiums come in many varieties including climbing, variegated leaves and dwarf. Colors range from a vanilla white to fiery red and even multi-colored.
A place to grow: Dwarf varieties make great edging plants, and the climbing varieties are ideal on a back fence or in pots with trellises. Cascading varieties are good for hanging baskets.
Nasturtiums grow best in semi-neglected areas. If you over-water them, they will grow huge and green but will lack many flowers.
The seeds are pretty hard, so to expedite sprout time, soak them in warm water overnight and then plant. Nasturtiums are annuals, so plant the seeds in spring. Nasturtiums will grow in partial shade, but this will be mostly foliage. For plentiful flowers, a sunny location is your best bet.
These bright flowers make for colorful salads and happy birds.
Although the nutritional qualities of flowers haven’t been as researched as other edibles, flowers are rich in nectar and pollen, and studies have shown pollen to be nutritious with vitamins and minerals. Roses and especially rose hips, are very high in vitamin C. Dandelion blossoms are high in vitamins A and C, and the leaves are loaded with iron, calcium, phosphorous and vitamin A and C. Marigolds and Nasturtium are rich in vitamin C.
Both nasturtium flowers and leaves are safe for your bird as long as you don’t use pesticides or insecticides.
Learn more about bird-safe plants here:
Bird-Safe Edible Flowers