Tropaeolum majus (60 days) Hailed as a “great novelty” when introduced in 1884, and still popular today. Dark purplish-green edible leaves and stems make a perfect background for the edible spicy-hot brilliant crimson-scarlet flowers that stand out in bold relief. A good contrast with other nasturtium varieties. Do not feed heavily. 16" plants. Annual. ②
5282 Empress of India
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Annual. The name literally means ‘twisted nose,’ from the Latin nasus for nose and tortus for twist. Edible flowers with a spicy sweet fragrance lend a peppery-sweet taste to salads, with each color adding contrast and subtle variations in flavor. Round leaves also edible, and seeds can be pickled to make “capers.” Formerly used as a remedy against scurvy.
Culture: Blooms keep coming if cut, needs moisture and cool temperatures for optimal blooming. Intolerant of frost. Germinates in 7–10 days at 65°. Cover the seed. Avoid excess nitrogen, but don’t relegate nasties to the worst soil. Likes full sun. Start indoors or direct seed after last frost.
All flowers are open-pollinated except where noted.
Days in parentheses after a variety indicate days to first bloom.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.