Stevia Plants

Sale price$4.50

Stevia plant, in a 3.5" pot

Stevia is primarily cultivated for its sweet leaves, which are used as a natural sweetener. Stevia leaves contain natural compounds called steviol glycosides, which are responsible for their intense sweetness. These compounds are estimated to be 200-400 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), but they have zero calories and don’t raise blood sugar levels. This is a wonderful plant to include in the garden for adding a little extra sweetness to summer drinks and recipes. 

Tips on how to grow Stevia:

1. Stevia thrives in warm and humid climates. It prefers temperatures between 20-30°C (68-86°F) and cannot tolerate frost. Make sure to wait until the weather is quite warm, typically after June 1st, before planting your Stevia outside. Choose a sunny location for your stevia plants. The soil should be well-drained and rich in organic matter.

2. Planting: When planting Stevia, space the plants about 18-24 inches apart to allow for proper air circulation. Dig a hole slightly larger than the root ball and place the plant in the hole, ensuring that the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface. Gently firm the soil around the plant and water thoroughly. Stevia also does well planted in pots. If you’re planting Stevia in a pot, be sure to use a larger pot, and ensure that your pot has good drainage. 

3. Watering: Stevia plants require regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Water deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry, but allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. 

4. Fertilizing: Stevia plants benefit from regular fertilization. Use a balanced organic fertilizer or a slow-release granular fertilizer according to the package instructions. Apply the fertilizer around the base of the plants, taking care not to let it touch the stems.

5. Pruning: To encourage bushier growth, pinch back the tips of the stevia plants when they reach a height of 6-8 inches. This will promote branching and result in a fuller plant.

6. Harvesting: The sweetest part of the stevia plant is the leaves. Harvest the leaves when the plants are mature and have reached a height of about 12-18 inches. Cut the stems just above a leaf node and remove the leaves from the stems. You can use the leaves fresh or dry them for later use.