Nasturtium - Tropaoleum
Nasturtium, scientifically known as Tropaoleum and commonly called Indian Cress, is a delightful warm-season annual or a perennial in zones 9 to 11. This easy-to-grow garden gem is available in either a trailing vine version or as a mounded plant, which is best suited for borders or container plantings. Native to South and Central America, nasturtium has been used in medicinal herbalism and culinary offerings dating back to the 16th century. Young nasturtium leaves and flowers are edible and make a wonderful spicy addition to salads or can be used as a flavorful garnish. Nasturtiums are also wildly popular among cut flower designers for their versatility and vase life. The lush, lily pad leaves that measure up to 4" inches across, offer a welcome textural contrast in garden beds and container plantings, in addition to the beauty of the flowers. The trumpet style flower blooms are available in an array of bright colors like yellow, orange, crimson, cream and much loved muted pastels such as butter yellow, salmon, mauve and apricot. Nasturtiums are rugged and grow in most soil conditions. They are known to ward off pests due to their peppery scent and do best with a half a day of sun.