Beautiful Nasturtium Flowers Keep Bad Bugs Away

Add nasturtium flowers to your vegetable garden. These edible blooms look lovely, attract pollinators and help keep damaging pests away.

Add Nasturtiums to Your Vegetable Garden

nasturtium easy flowers to growCourtesy Ivy Bates
Nasturtiums may keep bad bugs off of your veggie plants.

Have you ever heard of nasturtiums? Well, if you haven’t, let me tell you that if you have a vegetable garden, then you will definitely want to get some. You may know them better by their nickname: Nose-twisters.

Aren’t they pretty? It’s hard to believe that anyone would call them ‘nose-twisters’, but it’s true. The word ‘nasturtium’ is Latin with ‘nasus’ meaning ‘nose’ and ‘tortum’ meaning ‘twist’, referring to the mustard oil contained within the leaves.

Check out the top 10 orange flowers to add a juicy burst of color.

Benefits of Growing Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums in GardenNoelle Johnson
Nasturtiums spilling out of the vegetable garden.

Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) are not only attractive, but they are extremely helpful in the vegetable garden. While their fragrance doesn’t bother humans, damaging insects like squash bugs can’t stand it.

Because of this, I have nasturtiums growing among my veggies (above) every spring. They really do help to keep garden pests away from my vegetables, especially my tomatoes.

hummingbird nasturtium flowersCourtesy Patty Jennings
Hummingbird checking out nasturtium blooms

There are many other reasons to include nasturtiums in your garden. The edible flowers are great to include in salads when grown organically. They have a peppery taste. The rounded green leaves are also attractive and edible.

Nasturtium seeds are quite large and easy to grow, which makes them a great gardening project for kids to do. Simply plant a packet of nasturtium seeds in spring, once the danger of frost is past, in a sunny area. Seedling will appear in a little over a week. They are simple to care for with regular watering.

Their nectar attracts plenty of pollinators, including moths, butterflies and hummingbirds.

Nasturtium Care and Growing Tips

nasturtium vegetablesNoelle Johnson
Nasturtiums planted next to cauliflower and shallots.

Nasturtiums aren’t fussy plants and they thrive in poor, rocky and non-fertile soils. However, they are still recommended for vegetable gardens with fertile soil because of their insect repellent qualities. You won’t get as many flowers, but the leaves are very attractive by themselves.

Nasturtiums are available in climbing, dwarf and traditional forms. You can also find varieties in a multitude of colors such as yellow, orange, pink and red. Try the award-winning Baby Rose for rosy colored blooms.

They can grow vertically up a trellis and look great spilling out of a container. The traditional forms make great bedding plants.

252875060 1 Peter Bidwell Bnb Bypc2020Courtesy Peter Bidwell
Eastern tiger swallowtail on nasturtium flowers

In hot summer areas like mine, nasturtiums die off in the summer. I just let them go to seed and they often grow back the following spring. You can also collect the seed and plant them in other areas.

It’s hard to find a better annual flower for the garden—beautiful edible blooms, easy to grow, keeps damaging insects away, and cheap! Spend a few dollars on a packet of seeds and you’ll soon be enjoying the many benefits of nasturtiums this spring.

Next, learn why you should add sweet alyssum to spring containers.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.