How to Grow Tropaeolum Plants (Annual)

Guide to Growing Nasturtium, Canary Creeper, Mashua, Garden Nasturtium, and Indian Cress

Plants that belong to the Tropaeolum genus may be annual or perennial. This section deals with how to grow hardy annual Tropaeolum: go here for information on planting Perennial Tropaeolum.

Some of the common names for Tropaeolum include Nasturtium, Scottish flame flower, Empress of India, Indian Cress, and Canary Creeper.

Latin names include Tropaeolum tuberosum and Nasturtium officinale.

> Nasturtium Plant

Tropaeolum comes into bloom from summer to autumn. They carry trumpet shaped flowers, these are a little unusual due to having long spurs. Nasturtium flowers may be orange, red or yellow.

Tropaeolum by Quinn.anya; Creative Commons.

Growing Nasturtiums and other Tropaeolum Plants in the Garden

It is best to sow Nasturtium seeds in their final location, whether this be in a container, or in the garden itself. Do this about a week after the last frost.

Nasturtium seeds should be sown at a depth of about 6 mm (1/4 inch) into a slightly acidic soil. The soil should be moist and has good drainage.

Nasturtium likes to grow in an area of the garden that is sunny. Depending on the species annual Tropaeolum should be spaced at 20 cm / 8 inches (small), 35 cm /14 inches (medium sized), or 60 to 90 cm / 2 to 3 feet (large Tropaeolum).

Tropaeolum majus
Tropaeolum majus – Indian Cress by Eran Finkle.

Nasturtium / Tropaeolum Care

Annual Tropaeolum plant species, such as Nasturtium and Canary creeper, are climbers, so supply a trellis or similar frame that they can grow on. They prefer a moist soil so keep well watered.

They should not be fertilized as this results in poorer flowering. If you require more plants, then Propagate Tropaeolum plants by taking cuttings.

Tropaeolum Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Nasturtium, Canary Creeper, Canarybird Flower, Mashua, Garden Nasturtium, Indian Cress, Monks cress, Flame flower.
Life Cycle: Hardy annual.
Height: Annuals: 40 to 100 inches (100 to 250 cm).
Native: Central and South America.
Growing Region: Annuals: 1 to 10.

Flowers: Annual: spring and/or summer and autumn.
Flower Details: Intense colours. Red, yellow, orange. Usually five petals. Trumpets. Frilled petals. Diameter 1 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm).
Foliage: Shield shape. Peltate. Palmate. Lobed.

Sow Outside:
Annual: 1/4 inch (6 mm). About a week after the last frost. Spacing: 10 to 36 inches (30 to 90 cm).
Sow Inside: Best started outdoors. Transplants should be put out following the last frost.
Annual: use peat pots. Germination time: one to two weeks in the dark. Temperature 65°F (18°C).

Requirements: Full sunlight or afternoon shade. Good drainage. Soil pH 5.5 to 6.5. Moist soil. Ordinary soil. Poor soil. Provide support. Provide trellis. Water during prolonged dry periods. Propagate: annuals from cuttings.
Family: Tropaeolaceae.
Miscellaneous: Although the common name of plants from the Tropaeolum genus is Nasturtium do not confuse members with those from the genus Nasturtium (watercress). All parts, especially the flowers, which have a peppery taste have culinary use. The tubers of Mashua are a very popular food source in the Andes.

Common Questions

How many members does the Tropaeolum genus have?

The Tropaeolum genus includes about 80 species, notably Nasturtiums.

Do members of Tropaeolum make a good garden or landscaping plant?

Yes, Tropaeolum species, particularly Nasturtiums, are popular in gardens for their vibrant flowers and edible leaves.

Which Tropaeolum species are most frequently grown by gardeners?

The most commonly grown Tropaeolum species are Tropaeolum majus and Tropaeolum minus, known as Garden Nasturtium and Dwarf Nasturtium.

Are members of the Tropaeolum plant genus fragrant?

While some Tropaeolum species have a mild fragrance, they are not typically grown for their scent.

What is the perfect location to grow Tropaeolum?

Tropaeolum prefers a sunny location with well-drained soil. It can tolerate poor soil conditions and requires little water.

Is Tropaeolum invasive in the USA, if so in which states?

Currently, Tropaeolum is not listed as invasive in the USA. However, gardeners should monitor for self-seeding.

How do I remove Tropaeolum plants from my garden?

Tropaeolum plants can be manually removed. Be sure to collect and dispose of any seeds to prevent further spread.


The Tropaeolum plant genus (Nasturtium) includes annual and perennial plants native to Central and South America. They are popular in gardening due to their vibrant, rounded flowers and their edible leaves and flowers.

Plant Tropaeolum seeds directly into the ground in spring, after the threat of frost has passed. They prefer a sunny location and well-drained soil. Regular watering and deadheading will keep them blooming throughout the season, although they may prefer poorer soils and less frequent watering than other plants.

I hope that you enjoyed this guide on how to grow Annual Tropaeolum plants. You may also enjoy the following Gardener's HQ growing guides: How to grow Catharanthus and Briza plants.