Have you ever suffered from a bad toothache? I think we all have had this challenge at some point in our life. Whether it was in our childhood or as an adult, it is never that enjoyable. Good news for all those who have experienced this type of ache as well as other types, introducing one of Veseys newest flower/herb variety that will actually help combat that pain. This plant is otherwise known as the toothache plant with the Latin name being Spilanthes.
Yes its true...we have added this variety to our catalogue line up this year. It has become a great conversation piece and seems quite peculiar looking, but at the same time very interesting. The name of this Spilanthes is Bull's Eye. This is a perfect name for it because as you can see by the picture above the flower has a very distinct eye in the center of the blossom. I know that you are likely thinking that the blossom is not very attractive or wouldn't even place it in the "thing of beauty" category, however like I say, it is quite interesting just the same. Bull's Eye really stands out and looks amazing when paired with other types of plants and grows quite well in any container or flower garden. The blossoms display an odd resemblance of popping eyeballs and are set on strong and sturdy stems. This low maintenance, disease resistant plant also benefits gardeners with its known healing properties.
Spilanthes has such a unique flower as well as being classed as an edible herb that can be easily considered an ornamental edible. Gardeners love these types of plants because of their two very useful properties. Just like a buy one, get one free sale! As mentioned earlier, they can be grown quite successfully in a container or in any flower or vegetable garden. Bull's Eye is a tender perennial but is mostly grown as an annual especially here in the Maritime. However, having said this, I'm sure you could try growing it on any window sill or sun room in your home. As mentioned it is in the herb group and displays cone-shaped petite, pretty yellow and red flowers. The attractive medium green foliage looks very similar to Echinacea leaves and are edible. The leaves as well as the flowers are all edible and offer similar amounts of healing properties.
This ornamental edible as mentioned has healing properties that will be sure to intrigue you into either growing this plant or doing further research. This plant will not only enhance your immune system but it will also help improve your digestion or any nausea you may have. With many people being more mindful of healthy eating, this plant will also benefit individuals with weight management. Spilanthes increases salivation enzymes that will help break down the starches and fats in foods. These are all great reasons to give it a try.
We are proud to list this type of seed in our 2016 Vesey's Seed catalogue and can be ordered at any time. If you do decide to grow this plant from seed you can sow the seed indoors in spring (6-8 weeks before frost)or you can direct sow in early summer after all risk of frost has passed in your region. It is actually best to start indoors if you have the space as it will have more time to become established.
Sow the seeds in flats to begin,once first/second set of true leaves have developed, they can be transplanted into pots. Use good quality seeding mix and set seeds on top of soil surface after you have moistened soil. Do not cover seed as it needs light to germinate. This variety of plant will also benefit from bottom heat for a more even and efficient germination. Germination should take place in about 7-14 days at a temperature of 20-24 degrees Celsius. Lightly mist with a water bottle or small watering can that will give a light mist. Be sure not to over-water. Over-watering is the number one reason why seedlings don't succeed.You can increase watering regime slightly once seedlings emerge. As mentioned you can transplant your seedlings into larger cell trays or pots as they increase in vigour. Once you have transplanted your seedlings, they will benefit from an all purpose water soluble balanced fertilizer every 10 days to help them become established.
Set plants outdoors a week to 10 days prior to planting in permanent location,this process is known as hardening off.Once all risk of frost has passed they can be planted outdoors in full sun, 12 inches apart and water as needed. Spilanthes is a member of the daisy family and will begin to bloom from mid June through til September if grown as a transplant. They will reach 12-15 inches tall with a spread of 18 inches.
Fresh leaves can be eaten sparingly once plant has matured and has started to bud with flowers. You can add the leaves to salads, sandwiches or use to flavour many types of recipes. It will keep as a dried plant for up to a year and still provide the medicinal benefits it is noted for.
With all these interesting facts, I would say that Bull's Eye Spilanthes is definitely another new variety that Vesey's now offers to give a try. Besides we all could use a little extra healing when early spring gardening chores are upon us!