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19.8.07

When I Collect Nasturtium Seeds

I was out in the garden today picking a few blooms from my Nasturtiums to decorate a salad with when I noticed how many seeds were being produced by my plants this year. When I first grew them I was worried I wouldn't be able to recognize the Nasturtium seeds and that I would somehow lose them all to garden critters. Once these annual set seeds it is pretty easy to spot them if you move the foliage aside and inspect your plants. For the most part the seeds are produced in pairs like in picture of nasturtium seeds in this post but on a few occasions I've observed them growing in groups of three or four.

how to collect and save nasurtium seeds



When I collect Nasturtium seeds depends on how much patience I have in the garden that day. Sometimes I'll collect the seeds when they are still green if I'm worried about losing them in the garden. Other times I'll wait and lift up the foliage and retrieve the seeds that have fallen to the ground like in the second image above.

My experience with Nasturtiums seeds is that it is rare to find them perfectly ripened on the plant. I have yet to observe a brown seed still attached to the plant. If I pick the seeds when they are brown or green doesn't seem to affect germination results. Unlike other plants where the seed color is a good indicator of ripeness what seems to matter with Nasturtiums is the size. The larger the seed the better the germination results. If you're new to saving seeds from your garden for next year see my post on How to Save Seeds.

Other posts on Nasturtiums:

When I collect Nasturtium Seeds-My post with pictures and video to help you identify the seeds and when to collect them.
5 Reasons I Grow Nasturtium in My Garden-Post on the benefits of growing Nasturtium.

Nasturtium "Jewel Mix"

'Creamsicle' Nasturtium.

'Moonlight' and 'Spitfire' both are climbing nasturtiums.

Direct seed sowing nasturtiums in the garden.

Update: Made a video of me collecting seeds people who want to know when to collect Nasturtium seeds or what the Nasturtium seeds look like.

45 comments:

  1. Sassy Gardener4:20 PM

    Don't know if I should tell you this or not, but our nasturtiums seed themselves every year now. They just show up, I shrug, and say, okay: good luck, and off they go. Crazy, huh?

    I'll admit though, this year my partner planted variegated nasturtiums. Pretty!
    -www.sassygardener.com

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  2. Hey Sassy,

    Mine self-sow themselves too but I collect some so that I can trade seeds with other people, to sow in other areas and to give away. I haven't tried the variegated kind they're on my list along withe the climbing varieties to try next year.

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  3. MBT - are you planning to participate in the gardenblogger seed exchange that Colleen over at inthegardenonline.com is organizing? I'm planning to try some nasturtium seeds next spring so I'll remember your seed saving tips.

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  4. Gina,

    I hadn't heard of that exchange but maybe I'll look into it. Gardenweb has a nice area too for trading plants and seeds in case you didn't know.

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  5. I save my nasturtium seeds, too, and the three areas where they are planted this year are all from saved seed. I do the same thing you do.

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  6. Thank you! I'm a big seedsaver, but I've never been able to "find" the seeds on nasturtiums. Now I know where to "look". Great post!

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  7. Thanks for your post - just in time for me! I was just wondering if i needed to let my nasturtium seeds turn brown to harvest. Glad to hear they are so amiable. Ever tried marigolds? I harvested once but none of the seeds took. Check www.fieldgreens.blogspot.com for a post nasturtiums soon...

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  8. Sarah,

    I find it helps if you wait for them to turn brown on their own but you can collect them slightly green.

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  9. Anonymous10:12 AM

    I've just collected some seed and wondered if you replant the whole pod or do you take the seed from the pod??? any idea anyone? I googled this and before I found this site I read that the pods themselves are edible and when pickle are likened to capers, just a bit of info for any budding picklers like myself Diane xxx

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  10. Diane,

    You just plant the whole thing.

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  11. Anonymous5:57 PM

    I am in a cold climate - Manitoba Canada! I have tons of seeds from my annual "nasties" and want to keep them over the winter to plant in pots next spring. Do I just keep them cool & dry? Thanks

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  12. Yes, just keep them cool and dry.

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  13. Finding loads of seed on my nasturtiums today, the variegated, so pretty! Been pulling yellowed leaves from them and scattering amongst the tomatoes & squash - apparently the peppery smell wards off a number of insects. Nasturtiums can be targets for aphids, but so far, so good!
    Sarah - re: marigolds: We planted them all along the perimeter of our veggie garden and deadhead them daily. I peel and scatter the dead blooms around other plants and am getting lots of happy volunteers!

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  14. @ The Bard,

    The variegated one is kinda neat looking. That nasturtiums attract aphids is a selling point for people who do edible gardening because they're used as a sacrificial crop.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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  15. Anonymous7:09 PM

    hi there - I was a bit lazy last year and left my seeds ontop of the soil. I also live in a very cold climate (AB Canada) and did not bring the seeds in. Do you think if I collect them now and sow them that they will sprout?

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  16. Anon,

    You can try it, but really at this point I'd just leave them there or cover them with some soil and water them. Let them germinate on their own. If you spot any seedlings you can always move them around the garden.

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  17. Anonymous1:24 AM

    Hi all, in my experience nasturtiums don't transplant so happily so perhaps better to sow where you want them.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous5:19 PM

      Nasturtiums can be replanted! In southern california, they reseed themselves all over your garden! Especially if you rake yard debris. I had eight seedlings grow in the spot I raked my fall leaves to last year, and I was able to move them. Don't wait until theyre too big. Dig them up with a spade stuck straight down deeply next to the plant and pry it up, along with plenty of soil. Then replant it in a same size whole where u want it. Water generously every day for a few days. Best done in cooler weather, or evening. I make a dam around it to allow water to soak more deeply. Been transplanting mine for years!

      Delete
  18. can you plant the seeds green, or do they have to be dried first?

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  19. Linda, you can plant them right away. In the fall when you're doing cleanup duty in the garden you'll notice a few seedlings from seeds that fell late in the summer. Although, if you live in a place that gets cold and snow, save the seeds and plant them in the spring.

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  20. I live in Fairbanks AK, it gets -50 here and I must collect my nasturtiums seeds but they did not do well last year. Should I dry them out in a food dryer before putting them up for the winter. Most of them are very green. Thank-you Julie

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  21. Julie, you don't have to dry the seeds in a food dehydrator. Just set them someone warm and let them dry naturally. It should really only take you a couple of days.

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  22. Hi, I'm thinking about giving the seeds as a little gift for others to plant, has anyone done this? Holly CA

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  23. @Holly, Gardeners regularly give out seeds to others as gifts. Seeds are my favorite seed to receive, after money. :0)

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  24. Anonymous2:24 PM

    Thank you for this useful forum! Does anyone know if the new nasturtiums will be the same color as their parent plant? (I like some of the colors better than others)

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  25. The nasturtiums should be the same, unless they've been pollinated by another one.

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  26. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Hi, I live in Ireland and we have a lot of rain all the time!! If I leave my nasturtium seeds til they fall off the plant they rot very quickly. So I try and pick them just before they fall. As most of my seeds are in 3's and 4's should I split them before I store them for the winter? Thanks!

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  27. @Anonymous in Ireland, You should split them before storing to make sure the nasturtium seed has dried all the way around. If they're stuck together you may get some mold or fungus that will ruin your seed.

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  28. Shirley9:52 PM

    Hi, Just found your blog abd it helped me alot. I live in Anchorage,Ak and my Nasturtiums did very well. Lots of pods, but I didnt know you needed to take them apart. Thanks,

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  29. Anonymous1:50 PM

    Hi all,
    I just finished putting all my nasturtium seeds away until spring. Someone commented on nasturtiums seeding themselves - well they do if you are in a warm enough zone, but in northern climates the seeds rot, especially if you have freeze-thaw, freeze-thaw type winters like we have in Ontario. I wanted to know if seeds remain viable if they suffer through the first few frosts before harvesting.
    Thanks. Marina.

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  30. @shirley, They sometimes come apart on their own. You can separate them or just let it happen naturally as they dry.

    @Marina, I've collected them after a couple of frosts and they seem to germinate fine.

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  31. Anonymous6:33 PM

    Just today I gathered seeds from a friend's spent nasturtiums. Please advise me about soil prep, sun exposure and watering. I want lots of blossoms!

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  32. Anonymous12:47 AM

    I planted nasturtiuims from seed this spring. They flowered but the vines seem to yellow. I don't know if bugs are eating them or if I'm not doing something right. I like the flowers a lot and I would like to repeat next year. I have used miricle grown on them. Can you help me?

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  33. This year in Inuvik NT our nasturtiums are beautiful, our weather was fantastic, warm, rain, storms then hot and just enough of it all to make our garden grow out of control!!!!

    Thank you for the information on the seeds, Im of to collect today our pods look like from outer space they are so big!!! Great sight!!

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  34. Anonymous8:07 AM

    I am a beginer in growing nasturtiums , I have had a great bloom ,delighted with my plants on borders ect ,but,do I leave the vines in the soil or do I have to remove them when they die off.??.the info on what how to store and when to pick the seeds was great, ty.Kate

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  35. Anonymous1:00 AM

    I tried planting nasturtiums on one side of my house that has lilies that bloom for one day only and they didn't root yet they selfpropagated In another area and are just beautiful however I still want them to mix with the Lilly plants. Did I have to use only the seeds in order to achieve this? Pls tell me what to do to get both sides of my Lillie plants thesame

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    Replies
    1. You can try transplanting them, but in my experience the seedlings prefer to be directly sown as the stem/roots will easily break. Just plant more seeds in the area you want your nasturtiums to grow.

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  36. Anonymous4:59 PM

    I grew nasturtiums this year and they have been blooming but they are not really producing seeds. Sounds weird but the bloom dies off and the stem just turns brown and dies. I can find what I think is the seed but it is the size of a pinhead (really tiny) Any thoughts on this? Thanks for your help.
    Brit

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    Replies
    1. Brit,

      The reason the blooms are withering and you are not getting seeds is because there aren't any pollinators visiting the flowers.

      Delete
  37. Anonymous6:39 AM

    Hi how can you tell if a nasturtium is male or female i grow my nasturtiums inside

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    Replies
    1. Nasturtium flowers have both male and female flowers.

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  38. I grew nasturtiums this year from seeds I collected last year and the plants are huge but not ONE single flower on any of them? What's going on? Anyone have any ideas? I'm just about ready to pull them out....

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    Replies
    1. I can't say for certain what is going on with your nasturtiums, but when plants focus on growing more foliage than flowers it is because they are getting a lot of nitrogen. If you didn't fertilize, I would suggest, the in the future, to fertilize with a fertilizer balanced to produce blooms. Depending on where you live, you still have time to fertilize and get some blooms. You could also eat the foliage in salads and sandwiches.

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  39. Anonymous10:31 AM

    about how many seeds will you get from each plant?

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    Replies
    1. There is no hard set rule about how many seeds will develop per nasturtium. Some times you may only get a handful of seeds, and some days you will get more nasturtium seeds from your plant than you know what to do with. But the minimum that I have collected from plants in my garden is six nasturtium seeds per plant.

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