Spilanthes – Growing & Care

Ahh, yes, spilanthes. The eyeball plant. Buzz buttons. The toothache plant. The electric daisy. “That weird plant that makes you drool if you eat it”.

Definitely a unique one.

bundle of spilanthes flowers.

Basics

Spilanthes prefers full sun, but can stand a little shade. Avoid anything close to frost- don’t even think about winter in its direction, because spilanthes is exceptionally cold-sensitive.

Some people say spilanthes is fine down to 35 F. I am not one of those people. I will trust spilanthes inside a cold frame only when the nighttime temperatures are a minimum of 40 F, and the daytime ones are at least 50 F. It might survive colder temps if sheltered.

On the other hand, Spilanthes can take the heat better than some plants. I find they do well in temperatures between 60 F and 80 F, but brief spikes into the upper 90s hardly fazed them, so long as they were kept well-watered.

Watering

Spilanthes wilts in very sad, dramatic manner if it’s gone a while without water- while giving it a good, deep drink will perk it right back up, it’s best to try and prevent this in the first place.

When outdoors and established, spilanthes more or less takes care of itself. It occasionally needs watering during extended periods of drought, but overall, it’s a rather hands-off herb.

If growing spilanthes in a pot, water when the soil is dry. How often this is needed will depend on the season, the temperature, your climate, what container it’s in, and other elements that make it impossible to give a solid answer as to when.

The best way to know when to water potted plants is generally to stick a finger into the soil- if it’s all dry an inch or two down at the base of the plant, it’s probably time to water. Watch your plant for signs of over- or under-watering.

Spilanthes doesn’t appreciate being left in standing water or living in a swamp, so it’s a good idea to grow it in a pot with a drainage hole.

Fertilizing

Spilanthes is such a light feeder, we don’t fertilize it at all. Just mixing in some compost with the dirt gives spilanthes just about all the nutrients it needs.

Additional Care

Spilanthes doesn’t need much additional care- once it’s out in the garden, it pretty much just sprawls out and does its thing. The flowers can be harvested whenever they pop up, and the plant will continue to produce more throughout the warm seasons.

It easily reseeds itself if some flowers are left- though it does tend to wander. Grow spilanthes close to the edge of the garden one year, and when the next rolls around, you might find some sprouts popping up outside of it!

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