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Genus Tropaeolum (Nasturtium)

Tropaeolum Tropaeolum majus 'Dwarf Cherry Rose' Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
troe-pay-OH-lum Common Name: Nasturtium
These annuals and tender perennials are native to Central and South America. Their leaves are notably round, palmately-lobed, or palmate. The spurred flowers are widely funnelled, with five petals that are curiously fringed or lobed. Some species are bushy or trailing, and they are suitable for garden edges, herb gardens, covering banks, hanging baskets, and other containers. The leaves and flowers of the annuals are edible.
Noteworthy characteristics: The genus offers species with distinctly-shaped leaves and showy blossoms, all uniquely shaped and saturated with color.
Care: Generally, grow in moist, well-drained soil in full sun (see individual species for detailed information). Tender species may be grown as border plants and stored indoors in winter with minimal moisture while dormant. Under glass, provide with full light and shade from direct sun. Note: some species are summer-dormant.
Propagation: Sow annual seeds in early spring, or in situ in midspring. Sow seeds of perennials in a cold frame when fresh. Divide tubers when dormant in autumn, and of T. speciosum in early spring. Root stem cuttings with bottom heat in late summer.
Problems: Caterpillars, flea beetles, black aphids, slugs, whiteflies, viruses.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Tropaeolum

no image available Tropaeolum majus 'Alaska Mix'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows 10-12 inches tall. In summer and early fall, it bears deep red and orange blossoms, which are offset by rounded leaves with white variegation. The leaves and flowers are edible. 

Tropaeolum majus 'Dwarf Cherry Rose' Tropaeolum majus 'Dwarf Cherry Rose'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows 12 inches tall and about as wide. In summer and fall, it bears cherry-red flowers. These annuals are native to South America. They are suitable for garden edges, herb gardens, covering banks, hanging baskets, and other containers.

Tropaeolum majus 'Empress of India' Tropaeolum majus 'Empress of India'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar has a mounding habit and grows to a foot tall and wide. In summer and fall, it bears double, deep scarlet flowers. The rounded leaves and five-petaled flowers are edible.

Tropaeolum majus 'Jewel of Africa' Tropaeolum majus 'Jewel of Africa'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
(2 user reviews)

This climbing, old-fashioned cultivar grows to 8 feet tall. In summer and fall, it bears flowers of maroon, yellow, cream, and orange, and in-between shades of peach, apricot, salmon, and scarlet. The leaves are marbled with white variegation. The leaves and flowers are edible.

Tropaeolum majus 'Mahogany Jewel' Tropaeolum majus 'Mahogany Jewel'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows 12-18 inches tall and wide. In summer and fall, it bears mahogany red, single to semi-double flowers. The rounded leaves and spurred, five-petaled flowers are edible.

Tropaeolum majus 'Milk Maid' Tropaeolum majus 'Milk Maid'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows to 12 inches tall and wide. In summer and fall, it bears pale yellow blossoms. The rounded leaves and spurred, five-petaled flowers are edible.

no image available Tropaeolum majus 'Peach Melba'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows 9-12 inches tall and wide. In summer and fall it bears creamy-yellow blossoms with orange blotches. The rounded leaves and spurred, five-petaled flowers are edible.

Tropaeolum majus 'Strawberries and Cream' Tropaeolum majus 'Strawberries and Cream'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows to 12 inches tall and wide. In summer and fall, it bears creamy-yellow blossoms with red blotches. Both the rounded leaves and spurred, five-petaled flowers are edible.

Tropaeolum majus 'Vanilla Berry' Tropaeolum majus 'Vanilla Berry'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This cultivar of the old-fashioned species has a mounding habit and grows to 12 inches tall. It bears cream blossoms with strawberry blotches. 

Tropaeolum majus 'Vesuvius' Tropaeolum majus 'Vesuvius'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
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This old-fashioned cultivar has a mounded habit and grows to 12 inches tall and about as wide. In summer and fall, it bears blossoms of tangerine to deep salmon. Both the rounded leaves and spurred flowers are edible.

Tropaeolum majus 'Whirlybird Mix' Tropaeolum majus 'Whirlybird Mix'
(Indian cress, Nasturtium)
(1 user review)

This old-fashioned cultivar of the species has a mounding habit and grows up to 18 inches tall and a foot wide. From summer to frost, it bears blossoms in shades of yellow, red, and orange which are held clear above the foliage.

no image available Tropaeolum peregrinum
(Canary creeper)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This annual or perennial climber grows vigorously, yet does not strangle its host. Its edible leaves are deeply divided like the fingers of a hand, and its bright yellow flowers are outrageously formed: The larger, upper petals are deeply fringed and look like tiny birds' wings; the smaller, lower petals are spurred. It blooms in summer and autumn and can climb up to 12 feet.

no image available Tropaeolum speciosum
(Flame nasturtium, Scottish flame flower)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This tender perennial climber has edible, hand-shaped leaves and crimson red flowers in summer and fall which are uniquely textured. Their softly squared petals are held apart from each other at the flower's mouth and the rear tapers to long spurs. The blooms yield blue fruits. Flame nasturtium climbs up to 10 feet.