I like to write articles containing handy gardening tips, secrets, and general botanical and horticultural nerdiness.
Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus) are cheery flowers that are so easy to grow that they will often self-sow and become weedy in gardens. The flowers come in many colors—maroon, red, orange, yellow and cream—and will often have darker patches of a different color. The seeds of nasturtium are extremely easy to collect, save, and successfully grow the following season, even for the beginner gardener.
How to Harvest Nasturtium Seeds
- When nasturtiums self-sow, they simply drop their seeds on the ground. You will find them there, all around the base of the plants. Some are green (fresh), some are brown (dried). Just collect them all.
- If you are impatient you can remove the green ones from the plant as long as they are at a good size and fall off easily. (See video).
- Small, immature seeds are unlikely to germinate. For nasturtiums, the bigger the seed, the better the germination rate.
- Take them inside and leave them on a paper towel to dry before storing. As they dry, they'll get smaller and browner. Make sure they are completely dry before storing or you risk mold.
- This could take several weeks. When dry, remove and discard any blighted, small, or really moldy ones.
- Place the seeds in an airtight container and store them in the crisper section of the fridge. The'll remain viable for several years this way, and sometimes even up to a decade.
When is the best time to pick nasturtium seeds?
Nasturtium seeds can be collected any time. They fall off the plant naturally when they are ready, and you can collect them whenever you see them on the ground. You can also pick them off the plant if you're impatient.
Video Tutorial for Collecting Nasturtium Seeds
How Nasturtiums Are Beneficial
Nasturtiums are useful for growing around vegetable patches as some species of aphid and mite prefer to feed on them and are more likely to leave your vegetables alone when nasturtiums are present. Bees also love nasturtium flowers and will be attracted to any garden that contains them. If growing vegetables, it's important to have a bee-friendly garden as they are great pollinators of most garden vegetables. I've found that even the tiny native, sting-less bees here in Australia are attracted to the flowers of nasturtiums.
Do Nasturtiums Repel Insects?
Additionally, the strong, pepper-like oils within the leaves of nasturtiums may actually help to repel certain insect pests from your garden including some species of moths, beetles, flies, as well as squash bugs.
The following video explains how to collect and store nasturtium seeds for maximum seed viability. A transcript is provided below the video for anyone having difficulty understanding my accent.
To learn how to start and plant those seeds, read How to Grow Nasturtiums.
For more information about the best seed storage techniques, please see another one of my articles, How to Save & Store Seeds to Make Them Last as Long as Possible.
anneita on August 30, 2017:
very helpful. thanks for your nformation.