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19/06/2014 at 15:46

I have a plant growing in my garden whose name I've forgotten, but below is a photo of one of its leaves. I planted them as tiny bulbs in spring, and its flowers have just started blooming. Unfortunately, they're all appearing lower than the large leaves, so you can't really see them.

Would it be a good idea to start cutting off these large leaves to expose the flowers?

Being bulbs, I assume they'll need the leaves to build up energy after flowering for next spring, but at the moment I can't really see any flowers.

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/49916.jpg?width=640&height=350&mode=max

 

19/06/2014 at 15:52

They look like nasturtiums, I'd leave them alone, when they start to flower you'll have trouble seeing the leaves as the flowers are prolific.

19/06/2014 at 15:56

They aren't bulbs the seeds are big though

19/06/2014 at 17:53

And they are annuals so if you want them again next year, you will need to sow them again.

19/06/2014 at 18:56

In my experience, they self seed prolifically; though they are easy to pull up if you don't want them in that location. Some Nasturtium seeds now say on the packet; Flowers stand above leaves, as with some the flowers can hide behind the leaves. They are prone to being attacked by Cabbage White Butterflies, that is a good reason for planting them near Cabbages and other Brassicas as they deflect the butterfly's attention away from your food crops

25/07/2014 at 17:44

Thanks for the replies. These plants grow very rapidly and need a lot of pruning to keep them in one place. And I'm a bit disappointed by the flowers being covered by much taller leaves. So I was going to pull them up before they seeded and not bother with them again...

But then, as artjak said, they became completely infested with aphids and caterpillars, and this seems to be keeping them away from my other plants and tomatoes. So I think I will grow them every year from now on for that reason.

When I prune them, I now see clusters of pea-like green things growing on some stems. I take it these are the seeds, and if so how do I keep them until I'm ready to plant them?

25/07/2014 at 18:26

grow them hard, no food, that cuts down the leaf and you see the flowers. Otherwise they're foliage plants and things love to eat foliage plants.

You can get varieties that are bush rather than climbing then you don't get all that sprawling about.

They grow in the poorest patches of garden. 

26/07/2014 at 10:29

I grow climbing nasturtiums every year. I love them and so do bees. As others have said they attract butterflies that lay eggs and lots of blackfly, keeping them away from my other plants. So that they don't get out of control I take off the leaves that are heavily infested with eggs and put them in an isolated spot in the garden with other leaves I've pruned to allow them to grow.

The blackfly larvae I remove by hand or with a water jet, or if particularly heavily infested, often on stems close to the ground, I remove the stem and put them in the bin.

I also take off a lot of leaves to reveal the flowers, it doesn't harm this prolific plant at all. But it does need regular deadheading to encourage new flower growth. You've already seen the corms that are the seeds. It's better to remove the flowers before they get to this stage, when they curl over and often look a little ragged.

It's not possible to deadhead enough to stop seed from being produced so just remove them when you see them. Deadheading and bug removal can be very time-consuming if you have a lot of them as I did last year when I had a fence and a wall covered with them. But the display was worth the effort. Although, one drawback as someone else mentioned is that they self-seed very easily and if like me you grow a lot, you end up pulling out lots of nasturtium shoots throughout the year.

If you grow them on a fence, trellis, or near bushes, you can weave the plant through them to create a magnificent display. If you do that be careful because the stems are very easily snapped because they are full of water and fragile. I just let them grow as long as possible, which makes them easier to handle.

The final thing to mention is that the flowers and leaves are edible and are lovely in salads. The large leaves get quite bitter so choose the smaller leaves. The corms, or seeds can be pickled and are similar to capers.

Oh, and regarding your question as to how to keep the seeds. First let some of the corms grow as large as possible, which is a little smaller than the first joint of a thumb. Then cut them off where they join the stem, store them in a a paper bag or envelope in a cool place until you're ready to plant them. I often put mine in the salad box of the fridge, or in the loft. But any cool place will do.

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