This is why your nasturtiums are not flowering, according to Monty Don

The good news is that it can easily be remedied

nasturtiums in a container
(Image credit: Future)

A large pot of nasturtiums is a fabulous way to bring some vivid color to a sunny spot in your garden. The hardy annuals flower all through summer and into autumn, and are generally low-maintenance. 

If you're still waiting for a glorious display of trumpet-like blooms, it's likely due to the condition of your soil, says BBC's Gardener's World host Monty Don.

See: Flower bed ideas – beautiful ways to create floral displays in your garden

nasturtiums with orange flowers

(Image credit: Future)

During a recent episode of the show, Monty Don begins the pleasant task of filling four large pots at the center of his Jewel Garden. Using rich compost, he pots a mixture of plants which will eventually make for a colorful focal point.

'We've got extra rich compost, which is ideal for the Ginger Lily, and the Bidens will be fine. But nasturtiums flower best in very poor soil,' Monty comments.

'If you put them in rich soil, you will have more foliage than flowers,' he says. We tend to assume that plants need rich, fed soil to thrive, but, as Monty points out, this is not the case for nasturtiums.

See: How to grow nasturtium – an expert guide

Monty Don

(Image credit: Alamy)

Fertile soil with a mix of compost and leaf mold will typically lead to lots of leaves at the expense of flowers. But this can be remedied quickly and easily, by repotting nasturtiums in some poor quality soil. 

Try using some less nutrient-rich soil from your garden, or you could add some grit or sand to your compost to thin the soil out. This will encourage flowering, and the more flowers, the more likely bees will be attracted to your garden. 

If welcoming pollinators, insects and birds to your plot is one of your gardening goals, our wildlife garden ideas will provide lots of inspiration.


(Image credit: Future)

There's no doubting that the cheerful blooms of a nasturtium create a spectacular display. They're perfect if you're looking for front yard cottage garden ideas, with their eyecatching color and more 'wild' appearance compared to delphiniums, lupins and hollyhocks.

See: Edible flowers are this summer's biggest gardening trend – and these are the top 5 to grow

However, all is not lost if your nasturtiums aren't blooming, because there's much to appreciate about the leaves. Their delicate, circular forms create a calming contrast against the many geometric shapes found in a garden border.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.