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Growing Stevia Rebaudiana Natural Sweetener Plant from Seed

Updated on December 3, 2012

The seeds for the natural sweetener that is 100 times sweeter than sugar, a plant called Stevia Rebaudiana, are now available.Growing your own Stevia Rebaudiana from seed ensures you always have a ready supply for use in the kitchen.

Lose weight the healthy way, while still being able to enjoy your favorite sweet foods. Stevia sweetleaf can be used instead of sugar in many dishes.

Plant Stevia in your garden, or keep in a pot on your windowsill, so that it is always nearby. Excess Stevia plants can be given away to friends and neighbors.

Stevia Rebaudiana is a tender perennial that grows well in tropical and subtropical regions. It is not frost hardy so if you live in areas cooler than USDA zones 9 or 10, then you really must grow stevia indoors or in a heated greenhouse if you want to keep your plant year round.

Alternatively, it can be grown in the garden as an annual.

Growing your own Stevia Rebaudiana from seed is not difficult. Read on to to learn how.

Buy Stevia Rebaudiana seeds at Amazon

stevia rebaudiana
stevia rebaudiana

Growing Stevia Rebaudiana from Seed

You can start off your Stevia Rebaudiana seeds indoors, in a heated propagator, or on a sunny window-ledge in a heated room. Stevia seeds need temperatures of 70 - 75F to germinate. Plant them in any good free-draining potting compost and water from below.

Seedlings should appear in about a week to 10 days.

When large enough to handle, prick out seedlings into individual pots to grow on.

Meanwhile, prepare a bed for them outside. Stevia plants like dampness, but don't like to have their feet wet, so make sure their bed is free-draining.

Either plant them in raised bed gardens that are filled with a moisture retaining mulch, or prepare 'hills' in much the same way you would do for sweetcorn. The idea is to raise the ground in order to make it free draining, unless your soil is already quite sandy.

Stevia hates lime soils, so if your garden soil is above 7.5pH, it may be better to grow your Stevia in compost filled containers. They much prefer acidic or neutral soil.

Plant your Stevia plants 12" to 18" apart to give each one space to grow. Try to keep the ground around them moist. One way to help doing this is to cover them with cloches or polythene strips to keep the moisture in, except in the heat of summer.

Trickle irrigation is ideal in drier areas. Elsewhere rainwater should be enough but water in dry spells, and avoid wetting their leaves - they are prone to mildew and rot.

Pinch off the growing tips every few weeks to encourage bushiness.

Stevia rebaudiana plants can grow up to 6 feet tall.

Leaves are harvested whenever you want to use them. They will grow back.

stevia rebaudiana leaves
stevia rebaudiana leaves

Is Stevia Rebaudiana safe?

Stevia Rebaudiana is a plant with extremely sweet leaves that grows in wild in Paraguay and Brazil and has been used for centuries as natural sweeteners in those countries.

Its active ingredient is a substance called stevioside, which is short for steviol glycosides.

Tests have been carried out on this sweet substance, and the conclusion is that not only is it safe, it is eminently suitable for diabetics as well as people wanting to lose weight. It does not contain any carbohydrates or fat, nor does it provoke a glycemic reaction when ingested making it suitable for those on a low carbohydrate diet.

Further tests carried out by the World health Organization show that Stevia Rebaudiana may be beneficial for health, having a positive effect on those with high blood pressure and type II diabetes.

Ferry-Morse 2161 Stevia Herb Seeds

  • This Ferry-Morse seed packet contains stevia herbs which are ready to harvest after 90 to 150 days
  • This herb is a natural sweetener; guaranteed to grow
  • Do not cover seed, 2-foot to hill spacing, and 6-inch plant spacing
  • Includes one, 10-milligram packet

While Stevia Rebaudiana is a tender perennial in warmer climates, it can be grown as an annual in cooler climates outdoors. Plant out after all risk of frost is past.

Stevia Rebaudiania farm
Stevia Rebaudiania farm

Amazing Sugar Plant - No Calories - Stevia - 4 Pot"

Amazing Sugar Plant - No Calories - Stevia - 4 Pot"

On the other hand, if you really don't feel like messing about with seeds and waiting for them to grow, why not buy yourself this lovely little plant of Stevia Rebaudiana which will be sent to your home, carefully packaged in its 4" pot.

Full instructions on how to care for it will be sent with the plant. Makes a great gift.

Propagation of your Stevia plant

Stevia rebaudiana cuttings root easily so long as they get plenty of light. The best times to take cuttings is in late spring/early summer when the days are at their longest, as they really need 16 - 18 hours of daylight to root.

Of course, if you have some sort of grow light inside your house, you can easily place the cuttings in pots underneath those lights at any time of the year and set a timer to give them the required daily 16 - 18 hours of light until new roots develop.

If you take cuttings in the Fall, use a rooting hormone such as is shown here on the right.

I wish you every success in your endeavors, growing Stevia Rebaudiana plants from seed is fun and it is great to have your very own natural sweetener in the home, in a never-ending supply.

If, however, you can't be bothered with any of this, why not just buy some of the Stevia sweeteners shown below and you can still enjoy all the benefits of this wonder sugar plant.

Growing Stevia Rebaudiana

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    • speedbird profile image

      speedbird 

      7 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Very informative, Thanks IzzyM for sharing your knowledge

    • IzzyM profile imageAUTHOR

      IzzyM 

      7 years ago from UK

      Yes they are much easier to grow from cuttings than they are from seed, from all accounts, unless you happen to have a heated propagator to hand.

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      7 years ago from United States

      Grew this last year in my herb garden. It developed into a fairly large bush about three ft. tall, which I cut off at the soil line and dried. You're so right--it's super, super sweet! Will try cuttings this year. Thanks for all the info on propagation!

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