To most gardeners Tropaeolum mean Nasturtiums, however this fascinating genus has a lot more to offer. The common Nasturtium is Tropaeolum majus, widely grown as an annual in cooler climates and a perennial in warmer areas. A sprawling colorful plant that grows well in hanging baskets as well as a groundcover. A look at the wider variety may well spark your imterest to explore this group further.
So the genus is Tropaeolum and it is the only one in the family, however with over 80 species you will find variety that is as diverse as the cultural requirements. Some are winter dormant, some are summer dormant. A few are cold hardy, many are on the side of very tender.
Native to Central and South America where they mostly grow as perennials Tropaeolum as a group have very colorful and exotic flowers, some large and some tiny.
It would be simple to lump them all together as needing humus rich soil and full sun. However this is a little simplistic, as they do not all flower at the same time of the year and the tubers from which they grow have very different habits.
You can grow most species from seed, or by tuber division. Some such as T. majus (Nastutiums) are easy from seed, others will require a lot of effort.
Tropaeolum Species for the garden include:
- Tropaeolum tricolor is originally from Chile and Bolivia, masses of small flowers.
- Tropaeolum ciliatum has the most fragrant flowers of any, large, golden yellow and veined with crimson. It is vigorous and can spread underground, grow it in a container, especially in warmer climates.
- Tropaeolum hookerianum ssp. austropurpureum
- Tropaeolum brachyceras is regarded as half hardy, attractive yellow bell shaped flowers
- Tropaeolum azureum
- Tropaeolum speciosum is known as the 'Flame Flower' and requires a humus rich moist soil in part shade, summer flowering.
- Tropaeolum majus is the 'nasturtium'
- Tropaeolum pentaphyllum
- Tropaeolum tuberosum
Tropaeolum azureum, Tropaeolum brachyceras, and Tropaeolum tricolor are winter flowering and grow from tubers.
Try growing tropaeolum in a large container set into the ground. When they start to shoot place a growing frame above the pot. Remember that tropaeolum can grow to 2m, so a large wire frame can work well. Part Shade is best. Remember these are winter flowering......
Tropaeolum are available for sale from the following nurseries
Bishops Hull Taunton TA4 1AE
Phone: 01823 286231 Fax:01823 323646
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