Would you like to grow something unique? Learn how to grow toothache plant. Spilanthes is a heat-loving flower commonly called “toothache plant” due to the numbing sensation experienced after eating the leaves or flowers.  

Toothache plant contains a natural analgesic within its spicy and slightly bitter-tasting leaves and blooms. Learn how to grow toothache plant with these 5 tips.

How to Grow Toothache Plant_ 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes

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5 Tips for How to Grow Toothache Plant (Spilanthes)

1. Plant toothache plant at the right time

Toothache plant prefers warm weather. It’s best to plant after the danger of frost is past in the spring. The ideal soil temperature for planting is 65°F – 85°F. You can also start spilanthes seeds indoors about 6 weeks before your last frost date. 

In the low desert of Arizona, plant spilanthes seeds or transplants outside beginning in late February through April

How to Grow Toothache Plant: 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes

2. Plant toothache plant correctly

Choose an area to plant spilanthes that receives plenty of sun. Afternoon shade in hot summer areas is ok. 

Plant spilanthes transplants 6 to 12 inches apart. Toothache plant grows about 12 inches tall and 12 to 18 inches wide. 

To plant toothache plant from seed in the spring, sprinkle 2-3 seeds on top of soil every 6 inches. Thin to one plant every 6-12 inches when seedlings are a few inches tall.

How to Grow Toothache Plant_ 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes

For square foot gardening, plant 1 spilanthes per square foot.

Varieties of spilanthes to try: 

Bullseye Toothache Plant – Red eye in center of flower

Lemon Drop Spilanthes – Canary-colored blooms

3. Care for toothache plant correctly

  • Toothache plant benefits from regular water, but does not like soggy soil. 
  • Pinch back growing tips on spilanthes to encourage a fuller plant. 
  • Feed spilanthes monthly during the growing season with a liquid seaweed fertilizer.  
How to Grow Toothache Plant: 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes

To grow spilanthes in containers:

  • Toothache plant will grow well in most containers
  • Spilanthes requires regular water to grow well; do not let container dry out. 
How to Grow Toothache Plant: 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes

4. Harvest spilanthes often

Harvest the leaves at any time once the plant is several inches tall. Leaves are best used fresh. 

The highest concentration of the anesthetic effect is in the flowers. Harvest spilanthes blooms anytime. Keep flowers deadheaded to encourage more blooms. Flowers retain numbing qualities when dried, but are most potent fresh. 

How to Grow Toothache Plant_ 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes

5. Bring spilanthes indoors during the winter

Toothache plant needs warm weather to grow well. In mild winter areas like the low desert of Arizona, you may be able to overwinter spilanthes by mulching well and covering during frost events

In cold-climate areas, dig up toothache plant and put it into a container. Overwinter spilanthes indoors and plant it back outside in the spring. 

How to Grow Toothache Plant: 5 Tips for Growing Spilanthes
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