Stevia: Growing Guide of The Best Sugar Replacement

Stevia is a perennial plant, which means it will come back year after year. However, the leaves stop producing as much after the second year. That is why many recommend that it be repotted every two years.

Stevia doesn't have as many different varieties as some plants. Some nurseries sell stevia simply as stevia rebaudiana. Other places will sell it like Candy Stevia, Sugar Leaf Stevia, and Stevia Sweet Leaf.

This herb is used as a low-calorie natural sweetener. It's great for people with diabetes who need to avoid sugar or who just don't want extra calories.

But how is stevia grown? Here are some things to know before planting.

How to grow stevia

Stevia is a very simple plant to grow. You can buy it online or at a local garden center. You can also start stevia from seed in late winter.

Anyway, stevia is ready to be planted outdoors after the danger of the last frost has passed.

Where to grow stevia

The first thing to do is decide where to grow stevia in your garden. This is a plant that loves sunlight, so you should select an area that receives full sunlight.

This means you need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day, but more is preferable if possible.

If you live in an area with extremely hot summers, it may be beneficial to plant stevia somewhere with shade in the afternoon. This is the only exception to the total requirement for sunlight.

The right soil

Next, you have to think about the land for stevia. It should be well-drained with a pH range of 6.2 to 7.2. Stevia does well in loose clay soils.

You should add compost to the soil to increase drainage as well as to increase the nutrient content before planting. It is best to add compost 2-3 weeks before planting.

When to plant stevia

An important fact to know about stevia is that it does not like frosting, not at all. You have to wait until all chances of frost are gone before planting them outdoors.

Otherwise, you risk killing your plant overnight and no one wants to do that.

Get Stevia Seeds Inside

Unless you can find a stevia plant at your local garden nursery, you will need to start the seeds indoors in late winter to transplant the seedlings in the spring outside.

Another option is to grow it from root cuttings if you have access to them.

Be aware that the germination of stevia seeds can be a problem, so be sure to keep the seeds in bright light. Plant lots of seeds to make sure some are viable.

Stevia transplant

When you're ready to plant stevia outside, be sure to keep 18 inches between each plant. Otherwise, you will reduce air circulation and increase your risk of disease.

Harden the seedlings for a week before placing them in the garden.

Dig a pot-sized hole in which the stevia seedling is growing. Put the grass in the hole, cover it with soil and water deeply.

Growing Stevia in containers

If you don't have the space in the garden to grow stevia, you can still grow it in containers. Be sure to also use a 12-inch pot with a good quality potting mix.

You can usually grow 1-2 plants per pot, especially if you have a larger container.

Taking care of stevia

Your plants are in the ground (or container), and now you have to take care of the plant until harvest time. This is about caring for stevia plants.

How often to water stevia plants

Place your finger on the dirt to see if the first inch of dirt is dry. If so, then it is time to water your plant. If not, check again the next day.

One thing to keep in mind is that the leaves wilt easily on stevia plants, especially when the soil is dry.

Stevia fertilization needs

Stevia should be administered regularly, preferably with water-soluble plant foods. Fertilizing your stevia plants encourages better and healthier leaf production.

Pruning

You don't NEED to prune stevia, but it grows better and will maximize leaf production if you do. Trim the plant several times to encourage branching.

The first cut should be made when the plant is about 20 centimeters tall. Then do it again in early summer.

We hope you enjoy this video about grow, harvest, and process your own stevia:

Source: PREPSTEADERS

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