Nasturtium Microgreens: Everything You Need to Grow, Eat, and Use Them

Recently, a friend of mine created a spicy shrimp pasta salad with an edible flower called nasturtium, which got me thinking about nasturtium microgreens. I created this post to let you know what I learned about one of the most nutrient-rich plants on earth.

Can you grow or eat nasturtium microgreens?

Nasturtium microgreens are easy to grow in loamy soil with a moderate amount of water and lots of light. They have a peppery taste and spicy flavor and are delicious in many recipes, including salads and wraps. The leaves are scientifically proven to be very medicinal, and they make a delicious tea.

But it turns out that there are two plants of the same name, and there are some crucial differences. Find out more.

Growing, Eating, and Other Uses for Nasturtium Microgreens

Microgreens Nasturtium Leaves

Nasturtium, Latin nasus tortus, meaning “twisted nose,” is probably a reference to what you would do when you smelled or ate their pungent leaves!

Unlike other microgreens, you are also easily attracted to the giant leaves of nasturtium microgreens. Their multi-colored stems are shades of light pink to yellow.

Nasturtium is a bright orange and red flowering plant originally from the Andes mountains of South America, from Venezuela to Argentina.

There are more than 50 different kinds of nasturtiums, all belonging to the plant classification Tropaeolum. The most common variety is Tropaeolum majus L., also known as Indian cress, or monks cress.

Choosing The Right Varieties of Nasturtium Microgreens

You will find three kinds of garden nasturtiums at your local garden shop: dwarf, semi-trailing or trailing, and climbing.

Dwarf types, Tropaeolum minus L., are dense and short. They include the:

  • ‘Jewel Mix’ with semi-double to double flowers in various colors;
  • ‘Peach Melba’ with creamy yellow flowers and red inner markings;
  • ‘Whirlybird Mix’ with single to semi-double flowers in various colors.

These varieties grow to be 12-18 inches tall and won’t become vines. This makes them ideal to use for growing microgreens.

What You Need to Grow Dwarf Nasturtium Microgreens

Common Name Dwarf Nasturtium
Botanical Name Tropaeolum minus L.
Native to Peru and Columbia
Growing Difficulty Easy, pre-soak 2-4 hours in warm water
Blackout Time: 2-3 days
Germination Time: 4-7 days
Time to Harvest: 14-16 days
Seeding Rate 2oz (56.7g) per 10″x 20″ tray
Growing Medium Sandy Soil, Loamy Soil, Clay Soil, Dry Soil
Soil Moisture Average, good drainage
Light A sunny windowsill, LED or fluorescent grow-light; 16 hours on, 8 hours off.
Nutrients Vitamins A, B-complex and C, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, fiber, and copper
Flavor Amazingly Spicy, peppery, like mustard spice and wasabi

This table gives you a glance at what you need and what you need to know to grow your microgreens.

Make certain you do not confuse your ordinary garden variety nasturtium with the plant classification Nasturtium officinale R. Br. The name properly belongs to the watercress plants, including Gambel’s yellowcress, Moroccan watercress, and Florida watercress.


Food as Medicine: The Benefits of Nasturtium Microgreens

Food as Medicine: Microgrens Nasturtium

Dwarf nasturtium microgreens are essential as food, condiments, decorations, and medicine.

Like an herb or salad green, both the stems and leaves of the nasturtium microgreens are tasty when eaten raw and fresh. The leaves have a peppery, spicy flavor, and add a bite to green salads.

They can also be used in cooked dishes but should be added in the last few minutes to avoid overcooking.

As condiments, you can chop and blend the leaves and stems and use them in vinaigrettes, sauces, and dips.

Nasturtium microgreen can decorate and garnish main dishes such as stews.

The microgreen nasturtium leaves are packed with nutrition, containing high vitamin C levels, manganese, iron, flavonoids, and beta carotene.

It can improve your immune system, stopping sore throats, coughs, and colds, as well as bacterial and fungal infections.

The leaves also have antibiotic properties[i] and suggest that they are the most effective before flowering.

Nasturtium is also used in traditional medicine, treating a wide range of illnesses and conditions, such as hair loss.

Eating and Using One of Earth’s Most Nutrient-Rich Plants

Nasturtium microgreens contains about 130 mg vitamin C per 100 grams (3.5 oz), about the same amount as in parsley. They contain almost 45 mg of lutein per 100 g, which is essential for eye health and is the highest in any edible plant.

Great for Colds and Flu

Nasturtium leaves have high amounts of Vitamin C and are also a natural antibiotic.

As antibiotics, the leaves help to treat minor colds and flu. You can eat one to two leaves three times a day for full benefits.

Due to its rich phytochemical content and unique elemental composition, the garden nasturtium may treat many diseases, for example, the illnesses of the respiratory and digestive systems.

Your Daily Tonic

Nasturtium microgreens leaves have antibiotic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. They are the most effective before flowering.

The leaves stop the promotion of fat cells. They may be a promising medicinal food item for preventing and controlling obesity.

In South America, people use nasturtium leaves as an herbal cleanser, diuretic, and sterilizer to help reduce chest congestion symptoms and wound care.

The Beauty Benefits

The Incas are thought to have used it as a hair tonic.[ii]

Nasturtium tea applied to the head stimulates the capillaries and increases circulation and the flow of nutrients to the scalp.

Nasturtium-based preparations are used to treat skin, hair (dandruff), and nail ailments. [iii]

Eating a few nasturtium microgreens leaves daily is said to help clear up acne.

13 Easy Peasy Steps for Growing Nasturtium Microgreens

Growing nasturtium microgreens is “lemony squeezy.” Here is what you’ll need:

  • A plastic container of seed tray; you can use an inexpensive supermarket food container.
  • Some regular soil, no fertilizer, preferably a light, sandy soil;
  • A spray bottle with some hydrogen peroxide; and
  • A spray bottle with distilled water.

Dealing with Those Big Seeds

The seeds dwarf ‘Jewel Mix’ nasturtium seeds are about the size of chickpeas, so you won’t need more than a couple packets, about 1 oz (28.35g) each. Getting good seeds is essential.

Nasturtium seeds

Growing Directions

Once you have all you need to start, the first thing to do will be to

    1. The University of Washington’s Botanic Gardens suggests “nicking or scarifying the seed coat” and then soaking it in warm water for 2-4 hours to help speed up germination.
    2. Fill the seed tray with soil. pH range: 6.1-7.8, slightly acidic.
    3. Tamp the soil, and be careful not to “pack it in.”
    4. Prepare soil bed by moistening it with some hydrogen peroxide and water.
    5. Spread seeds evenly across the surface and cover with a thin layer of soil.
    6. Cover the seed tray and store it in a cool dark place. Temperature: 65–70°F
    7. Water regularly for the next 2-3 days.
    8. Uncover the tray and put it under a good, inexpensive grow light when seedlings are poking through the soil layer. This is the grow light I bought on Amazon: LED grow light.
    9. Germination will be in another 1-3 days.
    10. Continue watering. Soil shouldn’t be too wet, or the plants may rot or mold. If it does, don’t panic. Spray some hydrogen peroxide on the area.
    11. Continue a 16-hour light, 8-hour darkness routine for another 7-9 days.
    12. Also, start tasting some leaves to determine the flavor you desire. I like mine spicy.
    13. Allow enough time for nasturtium micro seedlings to produce 2 to 4 leaves before harvest.

NOTE: Nasturtium seedlings won’t germinate readily on hydroponic mediums. It is possible, although very difficult.

Watch this quick video: Growing Nasturtium Microgreens


Enhance Any Meal with Nasturtium Microgreens Nutrition

Both the leaves and stems of the nasturtium microgreens are tasty when eaten raw and fresh. They have a peppery, spicy flavor, a cross between mustard, and slight sweetness.

Simply chop them up to your green salads. Pair them with sweeter greens, like spinach, to offset the peppery taste.

Mix chopped leaves into potato or egg salad. Add leaves to vegetarian sandwiches.

Both the stems and leaves, chopped, can be used in vinaigrettes, sauces, and dips. You can even stuff the larger leaves like you would grape leaves.

Use a combination of leaves, stems, and seeds, and blend them into butter or soft cheese for an added spicy flavor. Add leaves to oils, dressings, or vinegar.

The leaves can also be used as a garnish atop muffins, mixed with chives in omelets.

Herb Cheese Stuffed Nasturtium Leaves

Cooking Up Some Greens: Nasturtium Microgreens

They can also be used in cooked dishes. You stir-fry the nasturtium microgreens leaves, make pesto for your pasta, steam, and cook as cook spinach.

However, you should not heat them to more than 140oF (60oF). For more than five minutes, you should maintain nutrient content and avoid overcooking.

You can stuff the larger leaves with rice and herbs like grape leaves to make a Greek dolmade.

Leaves and stems can also be added to a vinegar solution with a clove of garlic and left for four to five weeks to create a hot, spicy vinegar for salad dressings.

Nasturtium leaves will keep up to five days when stored fresh in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator. How Long Can You Store Microgreens at Home is an excellent post if you want to know how to store your nasturtium microgreens for longer than 5 days.

Recipe: Nasturtium Microgreens Tea

Nasturtium microgreen leaves are also commonly boiled and used in tea. To make your own tea, follow the following recipe:

Nasturtium Microgreens Leaves Tea

Related Questions

What other nutrients are in nasturtium microgreens?

Nasturtium microgreens leaves contain micro elements such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and macro elements, especially zinc and iron.

If you want to learn more about the nutrients in microgreens, visit my post Eat To Meet Your RDA: The 12 Microgreens Vitamins You Need.

What are other uses for microgreens?

Did you know you can dehydrate microgreens to preserve them up to six months, make tea, and even herbal powers? Microgreens Can Be Dehydrated: The Easiest and Most Economical Method for Drying and Preserving (Electric Dehydration).

How do I start incorporating the health benefits of microgreens into my nutrition?

I’ve learned a lot about microgreens, how good they are for you, and what you can do with them. Check out my guide, “The Beginner’s Nutritional Guide to Incredible Microgreens.”


[i] Jakubczyk, K, et al. “Garden Nasturtium (Tropaeolum Majus L.) – a Source of Mineral Elements and Bioactive Compounds.” Roczniki Panstwowego Zakladu Higieny, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Apr. 2018,

[ii] Al-Shehbaz and Rollins, 1988. A reconsideration of Cardamine urvisiliqua and C. gambellii as species of Rorippa (Cruciferae) I.A. Al-Shehbaz and R.C. Rollins Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, 69 (1988), pp. 65-71

[iii] Badal, Simone, and Rupika Delgoda. Pharmacognosy – Fundamentals, Applications and Strategies. Academic Press, 2017.

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