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Tropaeolum minus - L.

Common Name Dwarf Nasturtium
Family Tropaeolaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Moist places at higher elevations[434].
Range S. America - Peru, Ecuador.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Tropaeolum minus Dwarf Nasturtium

Tropaeolum minus Dwarf Nasturtium


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tropaeolum minus is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to September, and the seeds ripen from August to October. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Seed  Seedpod
Edible Uses: Condiment

Leaves - raw[2, 27, 37]. A hot watercress flavour[183]. The leaves are very nice in small quantities on their own or as a flavouring in mixed salads, they are available from early summer until the first frosts of the autumn[K]. Flowers - raw[2, 27, 37, 183]. A very ornamental and tasty addition to the salad bowl, the flowers have a hot watercress flavour[7]. The flowers contain about 130mg vitamin C per 100g[218]. Young seed pods - raw[2, 27, 37]. These are even hotter than the flowers or leaves[K]. The seed pods can also be harvested whilst immature and pickled for use as a caper substitute[183]. Seed - raw or cooked. Very hot[K]. The mature seed can be ground into a powder and used as a pepper substitute[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antibiotic  Antiseptic  Aperient  Diuretic  Expectorant  Vitamin C

The whole plant is antibiotic, antiseptic, aperient, diuretic and expectorant[7, 21]. It is useful in breaking up congestion in the respiratory passages and chest during colds[21]. The juice or tea can be used as an external or internal antiseptic[21]. The plant has antibiotic properties towards aerobic spore forming bacteria[61], it is also said to have a beneficial effect on the blood by promoting the formation of blood cells[21].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

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Other Uses

Insecticide  Repellent

The growing plant attracts aphids away from other plants. Research indicates that aphids flying over plants with orange or yellow flowers do not stop, nor do they prey on plants growing next to or above the flowers[201]. An insecticide can be made from an infusion of leaves and soap flakes[201].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a rich light well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade[37]. More and lusher leaves are produced when the plant is growing in a rich soil, though less flowers are produced[238]. When grown in a soil of low fertility the leaves are smaller and less lush, though more flowers are produced[200, K] The plant will also succeed in very poor soils[202]. Dislikes drought[37]. This species is not frost hardy in Britain but it is often grown in the flower garden as an annual when it will frequently self-sow[37]. In cold springs, however, the seed will often not germinate until mid or even late summer, which is too late to produce a reasonable crop[K]. There are some named varieties[183]. Grows well with radishes, cabbages and fruit trees, improving their growth and flavour[14, 20]. A good companion for many plants, keeping many harmful insects at bay and also improving the growth and flavour of neighbouring crops[201]. Aphids on nasturtiums indicate a lime deficiency in the soil[20]. Slugs and snails love eating this plant, so it can be grown to attract them away from other plants[201]. The caterpillars of the cabbage white butterfly can be a nuisance and often cause considerable damage to the leaves[219].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow April in situ. The seed usually germinates within 2 weeks. Seed can also be sown in March in pots in a greenhouse and planted out in late spring or early summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tropaeolum brachyceras Perennial Climber1.0 8-11  LMHNDM10 
Tropaeolum leptophyllum Perennial Climber1.5 7-10  LMNM20 
Tropaeolum majusNasturtium, Indian CressPerennial Climber3.5 8-11 FLMNM433
Tropaeolum patagonicum Perennial0.2 -  LMHNMWe30 
Tropaeolum sessilifolium Perennial Climber3.0 8-11  LMHNDM30 
Tropaeolum tricolorum Perennial Climber1.5 7-10  LMHNM20 
Tropaeolum tuberosumMashua, AnuPerennial Climber2.0 7-10 MLMNM422

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

   Sat Apr 19 2008

A wonderfully informative site. I have a keen interest in using plants for medicinal uses and mix my own creams for arthritis. I do not sell these commercially as what works for me may not work for others. You also have to be careful that allergies are not triggered. My Web site sells special interest DVD's along with other items. Some of the dvd's are about seasoal gardening and are very useful for beginers who are not sure of what to do and when.

Must Have It

   Mar 25 2013 12:00AM

'Aphids on nasturtiums indicate a lime deficiency in the soil[20].' I've had nasturtians almost utterly destroyed by aphids - and my garden is on chalk, so I don't think that there's a lime deficiency!

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