31 October 2009

Inconsistent Princess

The Nasturtium seeds were purchased from Home Depot for the new side yard garden on the slope. Nasturtiums were tried about a decade ago, and were not a success story, but I was willing to try again this year. Princess of India (Tropaeolum majus) sounded like a good variety to try. Almost all germinated to my surprise, so some were planted at the side, and the extras were placed out in the back yard vegetable garden.

At first, the side yard plants did very well in the spring, and began producing flowers quickly. Leaves were dark green, and the plants grew into small mounds. One item that disappointed me was the small number of flowers on each plant, and the tendency for them to bloom down inside the leaf mound, making them difficult to see. Those photos all over the internet show a profusion of blossoms above the leaves. (Same for the seed packet.) Do the gardeners get credit for these, or Photoshop experts?

Also, one plant was a lighter shade of green than the others, so I planted it to the side. It turned out to trail along the ground more and produced red-orange flowers in contrast to the red flowers of the others. This was a rogue - definitely not a princess.

During the summer, the plants essentially stopped growing and flowering. They did, however, retain their compact shape and attractive leaves, and were not bothered by pests. Last month as the weather began cooling, the plants took off again. Shedding the compact mounded habits, they are now found crawling along the ground like drunken sailors. The blossoms are more visible now between the leaves, being more spread along the vines, and are also more numerous.

The backyard plants never got going. They remained small throughout the spring and summer, but are just now beginning to grow. They even surprised me with a few blossoms this month. I guess a Princess of India prefers to bask in the sunny locations.

For The Record:
  • Heavy clay soil with gypsum & organic amendments
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of fertilizer

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, canna, nasturtium, mexican zinnia
  • Harvested: 1 pepper, 1 tomato


Sylvana said...
I love the title of your post. I like the leaves of nasturtiums almost as much as the flowers, so they are always a win for me.
Kim said...
I tried these babies years ago and got lots of vines with flowers that croaked as soon as it got to 80 degrees. Maybe I should try again. Your photos are lovely.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment!
Swimray said...
I like these leaves too - a very interesting non-invasive ground cover for the summer.

Yes try again!
Thank you both for the compliments!
Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...
This is one of my favorite flowers to paint! My Mother's nasturtiums are gorgeous, can't wait to see them again this summer.