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How do I Grow Stevia?

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  • Written By: A.E. Freeman
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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You can grow stevia in a home garden, much like any other herb. Stevia will grow either in the ground or in a medium-sized container. It likes sandy soil but may grow in any type of soil. The plant originally came from Paraguay and is a tender perennial, meaning it cannot handle a deep frost. For the best results when you grow stevia, start with a cutting or transplant instead of from seed.

As stevia comes from a tropical climate, it needs warmth to grow. You should wait to grow stevia until the soil is warm, at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). Find a sunny spot in your garden to grow stevia, as it prefers full sun. It will tolerate partial shade, though.

You can grow stevia in slightly acidic soil. It does well in sandy loam. Fertilize the plant with nitrogen to encourage the growth of leaves, which are used as a sugar substitute.

You may have better success when you grow stevia if you plant it in a raised bed, where the soil is loose and drains well. If you plant in a garden, space the rows one to two feet apart. Use at least a 10-inch (about 25-cm) wide container if you plan to grow the plant in a pot. If you use a container, use potting mix instead of garden soil so that it drains properly. You can bring stevia grown in a container indoors over the winter.

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Stevia needs moist soil. It will die if its soil dries out, as its roots tend to grow near the surface of the soil. The plant will suffer if you over-water it, though. Too much water in the soil will cause the roots to rot. You want the soil to be moist, but not soaking. Whether you grow the plant in the ground or in a container, a layer of mulch will help the soil stay moist.

You should harvest stevia leaves in the fall, just before the frost. Cuttings of the plant should be taken at this time too for propagation. You can use fresh stevia leaves as a sweetener. The leaves become sweeter after you dry them. If you want to dry out the leaves, bundle them together and hang in a dark, dry place for a few days.

You can root a cutting for the next season. Place the cutting in a glass of water until roots form on the end. Plant the cutting in a small pot and set in a sunny, warm spot in your home for the winter.

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