Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, October 27, 2014

And In Other Late-Breaking News...

Tropaeolum tuberosum is finally blooming.

It's not a lot of flowers, and they're very delicate, but I'll take what I can get.

Tropaeolum tuberosum blooms intertwined with the already-stripped-by-birds, purple-stemmed drupe of 'Black Beauty' elderberry.

It's not a profuse bloomer, at least not yet, but I'll take it. This is only its second year in the ground, so I have high hopes that next year this vining Nasturtium relative will be even more heavily covered. It's possible it's not getting quite enough sun where it's planted, but I'm not going to move it. Who knows how it will do next year, and I don't want to set it back. In fact, I dug the tubers up this spring, thinking they were dead, but noticed growth on them, so hastily put them back. This plant is not just a late bloomer (it's nearly November), but also a late riser.

If memory serves I think I bought this from Far Reaches Farm, either at one of the spring sales that they attend, or on one of my trips to Port Townsend. Here's what Far Reaches has to say about it:

"Mashua - Hardy Tuberous Nasturtium. One of the great cultivated food crops of the Andean slopes in South America. This is the Andean equivalent of what the potato is to the Irish. Forms large tubers which are used as you would spuds. Pretty and tasty tubular orange flowers in late Fall on vining herbaceous stems to 8'-10' tall. We frost early here at the nursery so we don't often see the flowers but everyone in Seattle blooms the heck out of them. Perfect crossover perennial being both edible and ornamental."

  • Family: Tropaeolaceae
  • Hardiness: To Zone 7b
  • Mature Size: 8' - 10'
  • Exposure: Sun to Half Sun
  • Bloom Time: October - November
  • Moisture Needs: Average Moisture
  • Deer Resistant: No
  • Origin: Andes, South America

Worth waiting for, don't you agree?


  1. So you won' t be eating the tubers then? It is lovely like all the Tropaeolums. Have you come across Tropaeolum tricolorum which flowers late winter? It is a stunner.

  2. Plants that start flowering at this time of year are so precious, your Tropaeolum flowers are stunning, such a lovely colour.

  3. Hopefully it'll come back stronger next year. The plants looks very ornamental but I like the sound of the edible tubers too!

  4. Lovely flowers and plant, I tried them twice but they won't grow in my garden. So nice it's also edible, I did not know that.

  5. The flowers look pretty, and I like the Nasturtium type leaves in a vining plant. I may have tried them a few years back along with some other edible tubers, but none persisted for me. I am trying Jerusalem artichokes again this year, in a large stock tank so I don't have to worry about voles eating them, maybe I will get some tubers from them.

  6. It's beautiful! The aphids did a number on my large, established clump of but a back up I got when I thought the original had perished one winter is doing well and has a couple of buds. Some year there is quite a show and the hummingbirds are very happy to have the late season nectar!

  7. Origin in the Andes -- definitely not for my garden, but oh, so pretty in yours. Alison, you find such treasures.

  8. If it's anything like my Tropaeolum speciosum, once established, it will thrive. I must do some research on this one, it's a beauty.

  9. I love anything that comes on late like this, when everything else is giving up the ghost...and if you tire of it, you can just eat it.

  10. I didn't know this plant came from the Andes! in Spain we say you'll never go to bed without learning something new.

  11. Yes! What a beauty! Did the seeds arrive?

  12. Beautiful! I planted a 'Ken Aslet' from Far Reaches this summer and just when it started to take off the deer came along and ripped it out of the ground. I've had a real craving for venison ever since, well more than usual.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.