Collecting Nasturtium Seeds
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.
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.
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.
For more information about the best seed storage techniques, please see another one of my articles here.
Collecting Nasturtium Seeds
Hi, Evan here, today we'll be talking about collecting nasturtium seed. There are few plant seeds easier to collect than the humble nasturtium.
The characteristic wrinkled, tan seeds are rarely found still attached to the plant. To find them you'll need to push back some of the leaves and look around underneath the plant. The seeds will be in various states of drying.
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. This flower is reaching the end of its life and you can see the three small seeds starting to develop in the center of the flower. Although normally occurring in threes, sometimes one of the three seeds will not be developed leaving only two good viable seeds. Small seeds that haven't matured yet such as the ones here are unlikely to germinate. With nasturtiums, the bigger the seed, the better the germination rate.
All seeds should be brought inside and left on paper towel to completely dry before storing, this could take up to several weeks, any green seeds will turn brown after drying. It is a good idea to remove any really moldy seeds from the rest of the batch. When we look at nasturtium seed we are actually seeing the wrinkled outer shell surrounding the seed. We generally store and sow nasturtium seed while still in this shell as it doesn't hinder germination and avoids extra work shelling every seed.
Once the seed has dried you can then transfer them to a air-tight container—a jar suits the purpose well. Although nasturtium seed are fairly distinctive it is a good habit to label the jar so you don't forget its contents. Store the seed in the crisper section of the fridge for good long term viability, they will remain good for at least several years using this method and even up to a decade.
That's it for now—happy gardening!