Electric Daisy Seed Pack


Spilanthes oleracea

Known as ‘electric daisy’ and ‘buzz buttons’ for good reason – (carefully) chew on a flower to find out why!

Electric daisy lives up to its various electrifying names due to its tingle-creating isobutalymide alkamide content. These are also found in Echinacea species and lead to their similar use for inflammation and immunity.

The species we grow is believed to have originated in Brazil (nobody is 100% sure), but nowadays can be found in many parts the world. Considered a perennial in warm climates, it struggles to survive the UK winter so should be treated as an annual. It normally does fine outdoors so long as you wait until all frosts have passed before you plant it out. And it always does very well in a greenhouse or polytunnel. It requires a rich, moist soil and plenty of sunshine to supercharge its vibrant yellow and red flowers. 

Sowing and Growing 

Electric daisy seed requires warmth, light and moisture to germinate. The ideal temperature for germination is around 20-24°C, so keep an eye on the weather forecast and wait until you have a spell of warm weather ahead. Scatter seeds on the surface or your sowing tray or bed and tamp down well; do not cover with soil. Keep the soil moist (but not wet) and germination should take around 1-2 weeks. 

You have three main options for growing electric daisies: 
1. sow in a greenhouse or polytunnel and keep under glass/plastic all year. 
2. sow in a greenhouse or polytunnel and transplant outdoors once the risk of frost has passed. 
3. sow outdoors in early summer for a shorter flowering period in the garden. 

Whichever option you choose, give the plant a rich, loamy soil to grow in and keep it well watered. Harvesting the flowers will encourage it to keep producing more and more. It will continue flowering until it decides it is too cold. If you grow it in a greenhouse it can continue flowering until well into the autumn. 

Uses and Benefits 

 As well as being used for supporting immunity and reducing inflammation, electric daisy finds a special place as ‘The Toothache Plant’ and is a long-favoured acute pain-reliever for the discomfort of tooth and mouth pain. It is also a remarkable sialagogue – something that makes you salivate hence stimulating the appetite. The leaves are strong but the flowers are positively electric, leaving your mouth slightly numb- rather like licking the end of a square 9v battery. 

Its effect on immunity is effective for sore throats and upper respiratory tract infections as well as gum infections where a small bolus of the leaf and flower can be held in the mouth over the infected part. 

Harvesting and Preparation

Harvest the flower heads when their red-yellow flower-eye is flashing at you. You can just pop them off between your middle and index finger. These can be dried or immediately preserved in alcohol. You can also harvest the whole aerial parts as the leaves are also quite powerful. Lay out on a rack to dry to save for a tingly-tea later in the year. 

Use the fresh flowers and leaves through the summer in salads or as a gardener’s electrifying treat. 
To make a tincture use 1 part fresh flowers to 2 parts 50% alcohol. Use 1/2-1 tsp as a gargle diluted in some warm water. Some of its tingle-factor is lost by drying so get it fresh whilst you can. 

One potential downside of the sesquiterpene lactones is that they can act as mild to potent allergens for susceptible individuals. Reported reactions have ranged from varying degrees of allergic contact dermatitis all the way up to severe anaphylaxis requiring emergency treatment. Because these compounds are so widely distributed among the Asteraceae, cross reactions can easily occur. A person might become sensitised to the sesquiterpene lactones in one plant (e.g., Ragweeds – Ambrosia spp.) and subsequently will have a reaction to a novel species (e.g., Chamomile or Yarrow) in the family. This is why the herbalist should be cautious when using Asteraceae herbs with people who have a tendency toward respiratory and contact allergies or problems with chronic eczema / atopic dermatitis. 

Certified organic. Minimum 50 seeds per pack.