Controlling Nasturtium Plants: How To Stop Nasturtium From Self-Seeding


By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Nasturtiums are beautiful flowering plants in outside beds, but in warmer areas those with lots of blooms may become self-seeding. Nasturtiums can continue to grow when removed from your flowerbed if roots are still alive or if seeds drop from flowers.

Controlling Nasturtium Plants

While not too common, if spreading nasturtiums are smothering other flowers in your beds, you can remove and dispose of them or replant into other areas. Planting into a container is a good control measure. That way, you can still enjoy the beautiful blooms.

How to Stop Nasturtium Spread

If you truly want to get rid of all the nasturtiums in your landscape, you can dig them up. Get the entire root ball. Make sure to dispose of them by deep burying or burning. If you can put them in your out-going trash, that is a way to guarantee they will not return. However, you may see them decorating the landfill in years to come. Keep an eye on the area for new plants that may spring from dropped seeds. Pull these up as you see them sprout.

If you just want to limit the nasturtiums that grow, remove seeds before they drop. Seedpods develop as flowers fade. Removing seeds can become a laborious chore. Saving them for an edible use might cause you to be more inclined to keep up with it.

The seedpods are edible, with more of the mustard-like peppery taste. You may pickle them (use in place of capers), along with the blooms for use in salads and as additions to pasta dishes. Of course, you can just put dried seeds into a grinder as a peppery spice when cooking or adding to finished dishes.

You may also save them for planting in other areas where you might want them to grow again. Choose an area where it is acceptable for self-seeding nasturtiums to naturalize. These attract bees and other pollinators while adding beauty where they grow.

This article was last updated on

Read more about Nasturtiums


Best self-seeding plants: sow once, enjoy forever

Self-seeding plants are a cheap and easy way to bring life, colour and a touch of wildness to any plot, says John Walker

Which plants can you depend on for the following? Non-stop colour from spring to autumn hardy and easy to grow need sowing just once help boost populations of beneficial, pest-checking insects.

A cryptic clue: these are the same plants that will gently populate your garden, whatever its size, making the most of niches where other plants and crops fear or fail to grow.

The answer, of course, is a mix of “self-seeding” plants. When I began terracing the bracken-riddled bank that I am slowly transforming into my garden, the soil was crying out for new life. Lashings of compost and leaf mould have gone in. But I’ve also added the magic ingredient which, if the clouds of bees and hoverflies are anything to judge by, is working wonders.

Self-seeders are plants – usually annuals or biennials – that scatter copious amounts of seed into the soil. These germinate, often within weeks of being shed, and grow steadily, without fuss, eventually flowering, seeding, then doing it all over again, more or less forever. Because they sow themselves, they pop up in places we’d never dream of planting. They appear along the edges of borders and beds, in vegetable and fruit plots, in gravel paths and drives, and in nooks and crannies in paving and walls. Most self-seeders are blessed with blooms that beneficial insects find irresistible, tempting pollinators, predators and parasitoids to flood your garden.

Now’s a good time to set the self-seeding ball rolling. Hardy self-seeders sown now will make young plants before winter, and flower from next spring. You can buy seeds to start with (you’ll probably only ever need one packet of each), or cadge ripening seeds from friends.

Sowing is easy: amble around your plot, and sprinkle a few seeds here and there as you go.

1 Checks and balances

Your gardening instincts should intervene when needed. If a self-sown borage is swamping its neighbours, out it comes. As you get to know your self-seeders, you’ll develop a feel for which plants can be left to do their own thing. If you’ve masses of self-sown seedlings in one part of the garden, turn them into movable feasts. Transplant seedlings when young, keeping a clump of moist soil around their roots, any time from autumn to spring.

Foxgloves and honesty, both prolific self-seeders, are biennial. They germinate and produce plants during the summer and autumn, then sit tight over winter. In spring they start growing again, then flower. Biennial self-seeders can aid planning: note plants growing now, as they will flower in the same spot next spring.

3 Know your seedlings

It pays to get to know your self-seeders as juveniles. Being able to tell them apart from weeds means you can hoe off the latter, leaving any self-seeders intact. Some are easier to spot than others: the ribbed, bristly leaves of borage slightly tacky, glistening pot marigold leaves and the ferny, blue-green foliage of California poppy soon become familiar. One certain way of identifying self-seeders is to sow a pinch of each in a labelled row, and watch them grow.

Many edible crops will sow themselves. Since adding a handful of oriental vegetable seeds to my compost, I’ve had red mustard and mizuna popping up all over, year after year. These impromptu greens taste just as good as planned sowings (and seem to lead a charmed life when slugs abound). Leave some to flower and produce seed. If you fancy picking self-sown lettuce, allow a plant to bolt, flower and scatter its seeds. For peppery greens all winter, land cress (Barbarea verna) will sow its own way, but do pull up any surplus plants when young.

Most seedlings find it tough in sun-baked gravel, stone or the slate chips used on paths and drives. But not the California poppy, which thrives in dry spots with scant soil. Scattering a packet of seeds (insects favour single varieties) brings new life to an otherwise overlooked space. Any unwanted seedlings are easy to spot, and easier to tug up.

6 Cash in on crevices

My garden is terraced with slate retaining walls built the traditional, no-mortar way. After scattering thousands of Welsh poppy seeds over several years, only a feeble few plants appeared – until I started sowing sideways into the walls’ crevices. Now I have clumps of these perennial poppies, in yellow and orange, in the wall skirting one end of my greenhouse. In spring they’re among the first flowers used as feeding stations by wild bees and hoverflies emerging from their winter slumber. To sow sideways into a wall, mix seeds with soil and push it into the cracks, or push the dry pepper-pot seedheads into gaps between the stones.

An easy way to distribute self-seeders is to add them to a “cool”, slow-rotting compost heap or bin (they’ll just perish in “hot” compost). Compost seedheads just before they ripen and drop their cargo. Seeds mixed in t he mature compost will lie dormant until you use it to improve or to mulch your soil, germinating when they see the light.

To boost the biodiversity of your plot, choose simple and single flowers, rather than intricate doubles. Single blooms allow bees, butterflies and other insects access to pollen and nectar, which are often, along with scent, absent from multi-petalled blooms.

John's must-have self seed plants

Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)

Borage (Borago officinalis)

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)

California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)


Controlling Pests Naturally

Before reaching for pesticides, consider controlling the pests eating your nasturtiums naturally with the help of their predators. Ladybugs, bigeyed bugs and lacewings, for example, prey on various species of sap-sucking pests including aphids, spider mites and whiteflies, while birds feed on caterpillars. Attracting beneficial predatory insects requires adding enticing plants to your garden, such as herbs that attract with their fragrances as do basil (Ocimum basilicum) and cilantro (Coriandrum sativum). Installing houses and feeders will encourage birds to take up residence in your yard to help control the number of caterpillars feeding on your plants.


Nasturtium Jewel Mix 30 seeds

Nasturtium Jewel Mix produce bright flowers throughout the summer. A great ground-cover and popular in hanging baskets too.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are not only easy to grow and pretty to look at, they are hard-working, edible flowers that more than earn their spot in any home garden. These cheerful little annuals flowers thrive on neglect and will work hard for you both above and below the soil level without needing anything in return. There’s an old adage that applies to these growing annuals flowers - be nasty to nasturtiums. Use these seed-planting tips and get ready to enjoy a colorful bloom harvest and improved garden soil structure by growing nasturtiums.

Planting Location

Nasturtiums are hardy in all growing zones and are not picky about the soil in which they grow. Select any sunny location to plant these hard working annuals. They will grow in partial shade, but will not produce many blooms.

Soil Preparation

A light tilling to break-up the top soil is the only soil preparation needed prior to planting. Do not work in organic matter or fertilize as this will actually cause the plants to produce fewer blooms.

When planning to plant nasturtiums in the vegetable garden as a companion plant, try to limit the usage of organic matter in the areas where the flowers will be planted.

Plant Seeds

The seeds are large and have a hard exterior shell, for faster germination, soak the seed in warm water overnight prior to planting.

Seeds can be started indoors in a flat container or pots 6 weeks before the last spring frost in your region. Seedlings can be transplanted into the soil once the plants have developed their second set of leaves, called true leaves, and all danger of frost has past. Space plants 12 inches apart. The plants grow rapidly and will fill in all the gaps very quickly.

If you prefer to plant seeds directly into outdoor soil, wait until all danger of frost has past. Sow seeds into prepared soil, then cover with 1/2 inch of soil and water in well. Thin plants to 12 inches apart by plucking the extras ones out of the soil after the seeds germinate.

Seeds will germinate and plants will be visible in 7-10 days. Keep soil moist, but not soggy, at all times during the germination process.

The mature size of nasturtiums depends on the variety planted, Dwarf varieties will make a compact mound of about 15 inches tall and climbing varieties can reach over 10 feet in vine length. Dwarf varieties can be grown as outdoor potted plants, mounding varieties make perfect edging/border plants and climbing varieties will need a trellis or other structure on which to climb on for best results.

Nasturtiums begin to bloom in late spring and will continue producing until the first killing frost of fall. Blooms are funnel-shaped and have single, semi-double and double flower petals. Blooms colors are bright yellow, red, salmon, apricot, peach and cream.

The abundant and colorful nasturtium blooms are irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies. You will have constant flying visitors to the plants all summer. The blooms also makes nice cut flowers for you to enjoy in a fresh floral arrangement.

Only water during times of drought and never feed the plants.

Deadhead spent blooms to keep the plants producing new bloom throughout the summer. When grown as a potted plant, nasturtiums may need to be cut back by mid-summer to keep them looking neat. The plants will bounce back after a severe pruning, so you don’t have to go easy on them.

Edible Annuals

The flowers and leaves of nasturtiums are edible and rich in vitamin C. Both the leaves and blooms have a peppery flavor. Most often the leaves are used as part of a green salad and the blooms are used as plate garnish, and they also make a great ingredient to use to create flavored vinegar.

Natural Pest Repellent

Nasturtiums are a natural pest repellent and will protect garden vegetables from harmful pests when planted as a companion plant. These colorful flowers will repel aphids, squash bugs and cucumber beetles so they won’t start home steading in your home garden and devour your plants.

Improve Soil Structure

The roots of nasturtiums also increase the nitrogen level in garden soil and help to improve plant growth by strengthening plant roots. This hard working annual is a must-have in an organic vegetable garden for both pest control and soil amending.

Seed Saving

The plants will develop their own flower seed pods, after the flowers are spent, but they are not a self-seeding plant. Harvest the pea-sized seed pods and spread them out in a single layer in a warm, dry place for the winter. Come spring, you will have your own nasturtium seeds to plant and save yourself a little money.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus ) are not only easy to grow and pretty to look at, they are hard-working, edible flowers that more than earn their spot in any home garden. These cheerful little annuals flowers thrive on neglect and will work hard for you both above and below the soil level without needing anything in return. Thereu2019s an old adage that applies to these growing annuals flowers - be nasty to nasturtiums. Use these seed-planting tips and get ready to enjoy a colorful bloom harvest and improved garden soil structure by growing nasturtiums.

Planting Location

Nasturtiums are hardy in all growing zones and are not picky about the soil in which they grow. Select any sunny location to plant these hard working annuals. They will grow in partial shade, but will not produce many blooms.

Soil Preparation

A light tilling to break-up the top soil is the only soil preparation needed prior to planting. Do not work in organic matter or fertilize as this will actually cause the plants to produce fewer blooms.

When planning to plant nasturtiums in the vegetable garden as a companion plant, try to limit the usage of organic matter in the areas where the flowers will be planted.

The seeds are large and have a hard exterior shell, for faster germination, soak the seed in warm water overnight prior to planting.

Seeds can be started indoors in a flat container or pots 6 weeks before the last spring frost in your region. Seedlings can be transplanted into the soil once the plants have developed their second set of leaves, called true leaves, and all danger of frost has past. Space plants 12 inches apart. The plants grow rapidly and will fill in all the gaps very quickly.

If you prefer to plant seeds directly into outdoor soil, wait until all danger of frost has past. Sow seeds into prepared soil, then cover with 1/2 inch of soil and water in well. Thin plants to 12 inches apart by plucking the extras ones out of the soil after the seeds germinate.

Seeds will germinate and plants will be visible in 7-10 days. Keep soil moist, but not soggy, at all times during the germination process.

The mature size of nasturtiums depends on the variety planted, Dwarf varieties will make a compact mound of about 15 inches tall and climbing varieties can reach over 10 feet in vine length. Dwarf varieties can be grown as outdoor potted plants, mounding varieties make perfect edging/border plants and climbing varieties will need a trellis or other structure on which to climb on for best results.

Nasturtiums begin to bloom in late spring and will continue producing until the first killing frost of fall. Blooms are funnel-shaped and have single, semi-double and double flower petals. Blooms colors are bright yellow, red, salmon, apricot, peach and cream.

The abundant and colorful nasturtium blooms are irresistible to hummingbirds and butterflies. You will have constant flying visitors to the plants all summer. The blooms also makes nice cut flowers for you to enjoy in a fresh floral arrangement.

Only water during times of drought and never feed the plants.

Deadhead spent blooms to keep the plants producing new bloom throughout the summer. When grown as a potted plant, nasturtiums may need to be cut back by mid-summer to keep them looking neat. The plants will bounce back after a severe pruning, so you donu2019t have to go easy on them.

The flowers and leaves of nasturtiums are edible and rich in vitamin C. Both the leaves and blooms have a peppery flavor. Most often the leaves are used as part of a green salad and the blooms are used as plate garnish, and they also make a great ingredient to use to create flavored vinegar.

Natural Pest Repellent

Nasturtiums are a natural pest repellent and will protect garden vegetables from harmful pests when planted as a companion plant. These colorful flowers will repel aphids, squash bugs and cucumber beetles so they wonu2019t start home steading in your home garden and devour your plants.

Improve Soil Structure

The roots of nasturtiums also increase the nitrogen level in garden soil and help to improve plant growth by strengthening plant roots. This hard working annual is a must-have in an organic vegetable garden for both pest control and soil amending.


14 Best Ground Cover Plants & Flowers

All these beauties are native to North America, and so require almost no maintenance since they are perfectly attuned to this part of the world.

1. Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)

Wild ginger is an adorable specimen with soft and downy heart-shaped leaves that can reach about 6-inches in diameter.

In spring, they bear small reddish flowers near the surface of the soil, hidden by the foliage take a peek beneath the leaves to take in these surprising blooms.

The surprisingly beautiful flower of wild ginger hiding beneath the leaves.

Forming dense mats through spreading rhizomes, wild ginger is best suited to damp and dark areas of the garden. Since it is native to woodlands and forests, it’s a great option for planting beneath the shade of trees.

Although wild ginger is not related to the culinary gingers of Asia, it is indeed edible. More pungent than ginger root, wild ginger leaves and rhizomes were traditionally used as a flavoring for foods and tea by Native Americans.

Hardiness zone: 4 to 6

Sun exposure: Part shade to full shade

Height: 6 inches to 1 foot

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

2. Goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum)

Goldenstar is a low-growing perennial with bright green leaves that spreads in a mat along the ground. It is native to forests from Pennsylvania to Louisiana.

While the foliage reaches only 4-inches in height, goldenstar blooms profusely in spring with flowers that rise above the greenery to 10-inches or more. The cheery yellow flowers are star-shaped with five rounded petals, 1.5-inches across.

It prefers soils that are consistently moist with plenty of shade, though it can tolerate full sun when planted in damp areas of the garden.

Hardiness zone: 5 to 9

Sun exposure: Part shade to full shade

Height: 4 inches to 1 foot

Spread: 9 inches to 1.5 feet

3. Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium)

Aromatic aster is a wonderful option for sunny and dry parts of the landscape. Tolerant of poor soils and drought, aromatic aster features showy flowers that bloom from August to September.

It has a bushy yet compact habit, with rigid blue-green leaves that fill the air with the scent of balsam when crushed. The daisy-like flowers offer a stunning show of violet blue slender petals arranged around a yellow center.

These are very attractive to butterflies and birds, making aromatic aster a good pick for native pollinator gardens.

Hardiness zone: 3 to 8

Sun exposure: Full sun

Height: 1 to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 3 feet

4. Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana)

With familiar trifoliate, coarsely toothed leaves, wild strawberry is a low growing and sprawling perennial that spreads by runners that root along the surface of the ground.

Wild strawberry blooms from April to May with white petaled flowers with a yellow center. These will develop into small red fruits, just a half inch across.

Though they are smaller than cultivated strawberries, they are just as sweet and tasty – delicious plucked from the plant or prepped into jams and pies.

Hardiness zone: 5 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Height: 3 to 9 inches

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

5. Purple Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)

Purple poppy mallow is another lovely ground-hugger that grows easily in dry or moist soil in sunny spots in the yard.

Starting out as low mound with interesting and deeply lobed leaves, purple poppy mallow blooms intermittently throughout the growing season.

The brilliant display of magenta hued, cup-shaped flowers, 2.5 inches across, occurs from mid-spring to autumn. The blooms open in the morning and close in the evening. Once pollinated, the blooms remain closed.

When happy in its habitat, purple poppy mallow will readily self-seed as well.

Hardiness zone: 4 to 8

Sun exposure: Full sun

Height: 6 inches to 1 foot

Spread: 6 inches to 3 feet

6. Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)

Virginia creeper is a beautiful vining plant most often used as a façade green. It climbs up any nearby vertical surface to a height of up to 50 feet.

Although it is climber, this perennial vine is also a sprawler that will creep along horizontal surfaces just as splendidly. Forming a dense, low growing carpet, compound leaves are composed of five toothy leaflets along the vine with suckers that root themselves to the ground.

The leaves are dark green in summer but turn vibrant red and purple hues in fall, providing a dramatic show as the season draws to a close.

Hardiness zone: 3 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Height: 3 to 6 inches

Spread: 5 to 10 feet

7. Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis ‘Mother Lode’)

Creeping juniper is an evergreen shrub with soft and feathery, green to golden needles.

A true ground dweller, the ‘Mother Lode’ cultivar typically only reaches 4-inches in height and spreads outward in dense carpeting mat. As branches creep along the surface of the soil, they root themselves in place.

Creeping juniper is a perfect candidate for slopes or other spots that can use some erosion control. It is also very adaptable to poor, rocky, sandy, dry, and hot areas – the only thing it cannot tolerate is wet soils.

Hardiness zone: 3 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun

Height: 3 to 6 inches

Spread: 8 to 10 feet

8. Woodland Stonecrop (Sedum ternatum)

Woodland stonecrop is a charming succulent-like perennial that bears whorls of fleshy and rounded light green leaves. The leaves always grow in threes, and root in place as they creep across the earth.

Like other sedums, it is most at home in stony landscapes and rock gardens.

In April, woodland stonecrop blooms with clusters of tiny white flowers that arise on stems above the foliage.

Hardiness zone: 4 to 8

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade

Height: 3 to 6 inches

Spread: 6 to 9 inches

9. Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata)

Providing a burst of color and fragrance from early to late spring, creeping phlox is a sun-lover that readily creates a gorgeous carpet across the landscape.

It looks especially beautiful when planted along pathways and cascading atop retaining walls.

Blooming profusely in pinks, purples, and whites, depending on the particular cultivar, the flowers are tubular with five rounded petals that feature a prominent notch down the center.

Hardiness zone: 3 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun

Height: 3 to 6 inches

Spread: 1 to 2 feet

10. Roundleaf Liverleaf (Anemone americana)

Roundleaf liverleaf blooms early in the season with anemone -like flowers in light blue, lavender, or white. These arise singly on a hairy stem in March, before the foliage has had a chance to resprout.

It is an important early source of nectar for pollinating insects. Once the flowers fade, fresh greens appear close to the ground. These are quite handsome too, large and leathery with three rounded lobes.

As the seasons wears on, the green leaves take on a reddish, wine-colored hue.

When planted in fertile and consistently moist soils, roundleaf liverleaf will self-seed to create a matting effect.

Hardiness zone: 3 to 8

Sun exposure: Part shade

Height: 6 to 9 inches

Spread: 6 to 9 inches

11. Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Bunchberry is a circumpolar species, native to Greenland and Eastern Asia, as well as North America.

It is a very attractive specimen with veined, oval leaves that surround a single flower with four petal-like bracts in white.

Flowers give way to dense clusters of bright red berries in August, edible to humans and beloved by birds.

Bunchberry tends to prefer cooler climates with plenty of shade. Plant them underneath trees, shrubs, and other shady areas in the garden.

Hardiness zone: 2 to 7

Sun exposure: Part shade

Height: 3 to 9 inches

Spread: 6 inches to 1 foot

12. White Evening Primrose (Oenothera speciosa)

White evening primrose, also known as pink ladies and Mexican primrose, is a heat loving, drought tolerant perennial that ranges from Missouri to Mexico.

A vigorous grower that spreads by rhizomes and self-seeding, it will form large colonies over time and needs plenty of space to thrive.

Bearing fragrant, large, satiny petals with delicate veining, blooms start out white then turn pink as they mature. Like common evening primrose, the flowers open in the evening and close up in the morning.

White evening primrose provides this intriguing show from late spring until early fall.

Hardiness zone: 4 to 9

Sun exposure: Full sun

Height: 9 inches to 2 feet

Spread: 1 to 1.5 feet

13. Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima)

Sea thrift’s native range spans coastal areas of the Northern Hemisphere. It has evolved to grow where other plants struggle to survive – in dry, infertile soil next to the salty spray of the seas.

The foliage is low-lying, compact, mounded, and dense with dark green, grass-like leaves.

In April, sea thrift blooms generously with clusters of tiny pink or white flowers that create a spherical shape. These rise above the foliage to a height of about 1 foot.

Each flower head is more than 3-inches across, and are highly prized by butterflies and bees.

Hardiness zone: 4 to 8

Sun exposure: Full sun

Height: 6 inches to 1 foot

Spread: 6 inches to 1 foot

14. Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Wild geranium is an easygoing perennial ground cover that takes well to fertile or poor soils, sun or shade, and moist or dry sites.

It is a pretty plant too, with deeply lobed, green leaves that may reach up to 6-inches across.

Wild geranium blooms for a good 6 to 7 weeks in mid-spring with papery saucer-shaped flowers in pink or lavender. Occasionally you may have a second bloom in autumn.

Plant wild geranium in masses to create a wonderful flowering shrub. The numerous blooms will become a favorite spot for butterflies and other pollinating insects.

Hardiness zone: 3 to 8

Sun exposure: Full sun to part shade


Watch the video: Μελίγκρα: 4 φυσικοί τρόποι αντιμετώπισης - Aphid Control: Get Rid of Aphids Naturally Eng Subs


Previous Article

Yemen - Story of my trip to Yemen

Next Article

Eucalyptus problems: the expert answers on the diseases of the Eucalyptus