A couple of years ago I saw pictures of a climbing Nasturtium in some garden magazines and was eager to grow this annual. Unfortunately, I'd never come across climbing nasturtium seeds for sale in the garden centers and nurseries I visit. One garden center was particularly brutal to visit. The seed rack display had pictures of climbing nasturtiums in a rustic garden, but no actual climbing nasturtium seeds for sale. This past spring when I acquired climbing nasturtium seeds from Renee's Garden seed company and was excited to grow them.
The seeds were planted in April and quickly germinated and grew to the familiar mound that make Nasturtiums such a popular border and container plant. These mounds flowered prolifically in late April, May, June and July. No surprise really, Nasturtiums are garden workhorses that way. The flowers and foliage were almost enough to make me forget that they weren't doing any actual "climbing."
When I met Renee at the Independent Garden Center Show I mentioned to her that the climbing Nasturtiums appeared to be just an average mounding variety. At first she thought I meant they weren't vining and she mentioned how you have to pick up the runners and train them up a vertical surface. I told her I was aware of that, but that mine were just not doing much of anything besides flowering. She asked me if I still had the seed packet and I chuckled to myself and wondered, "Do people throw away seed packets?"
We agreed that I would provide her with the lot number on the packets of seeds and she would look into it, "Perhaps it's a bad batch," she said. Maybe it was. That evening I arrived home with the intention of looking for the Nasturtium seed packets, but first I stopped by and checked on the Nasturtiums. The first thing I noticed was that overnight the darned plants had put out a couple of the long runners I'd been waiting for all spring and summer. D'oh!
Now that the days are getting shorter and cooler the climbing Nasturtiums are taking off and growing like mad. The good thing about all that early flowering is that my Nasturtiums are now covered in developing seed pods. I've already harvested and dried a few seeds for next year.
Nasturtiums produce no tendrils so, they can't vine up a garden stake on their own, you have to pick up the runners and give them some help.
Some nasturtium varieties produce blue-green leaves, this one produces green leaves. Maybe it is just my imagination, but it seems like these leaves at the base are larger than normal.
The color of climbing Nasturtium "Moonlight" in the on-line seed catalog is described as "soft primrose yellow." Renee's Garden also carries "Spitfire," a red-orange climbing Nasturtium that I didn't grow but will add to my list of seeds to get.
In the years I've grown Nasturtiums as a border plant in the garden I've learned that the tips of the plant usually get stepped on. I figured that placing them up higher than ground level would keep them safe. I made garden pots out of cinder blocks at the entrance of my ghetto garden path. In these I inserted bamboo stakes that I would attach the vines too. Next year I'll make the pot out of two cinder blocks- one stacked on top of the other. The trailing foliage will be enough to mask them and when the runners appear they won't get trampled on. While I grew this climbing Nasturtium for vertical interest in the garden I think they would be just as at home planted in a window box or trailing over a balcony or deck. I can imagine how impressive the 6-8 foot long runners would look spilling out of a balcony garden and swaying in the wind.
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" & "Dwarf Cherry Rose"- Two Nasturtiums varieties I've grown and written about before.
'Spitfire' Nasturtium, a red climbing variety of nasturtium.
Update: Made a quick garden video so you can see this climbing Nasturtium in my garden. See the post on collecting Nasturtium seeds for a video on how to collect seeds from Nasturtiums in your garden.