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Stevia  

Stevia rebaudiana

'Stevia' is a plant in the Stevia genus with a scientific name of Stevia rebaudiana.

A tender perennial that is usually treated as an annual this plant has sweet tasting leaves that can be used in drinks or cooking. Sometimes marketed as a sugar substitute. Approximately 1 tablespoon of dried Stevia powder equals one cup of sugar.
http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/stevia.htm
Approved by the FDA as a dietary supplement. Stevia is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar and extremely low in calories.

Crushing the dried leaves is the final step in releasing stevia’s sweetening power.

Liquid stevia extract can be made by adding a cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-crushed stevia leaves. This mixture should set for 24 hours and then be refrigerated.1

Leaves appear approximately as a   Napier green colour. Stevia is a herb perennial, it will last at least up to several years in its native climate. Normally grows with a forb habit. This plant tends to bloom in late summer, followed by first harvests in late summer.

Paraguay is believed to be where Stevia originates from.

Stevia needs a moderate amount of maintenance, so some level of previous experience comes in handy when growing this plant. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Stevia have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Stevia

  • Full Sun

    OR +
  • Partial Sun

    +
  • Medium

Suppost to be zone 11 and up, but it has been reported to die back to ground in zone 8 and reemerge in spring. Don’t overwater, likes well-drained soil, does well in pots and can be grown all year with proper care.

Enjoys a full sun / partial sun position in your garden and remember to water moderately. Zone 11 to 14 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Keep in mind when planting that Stevia is thought of as tender, so remember to ensure that temperatures are mild before moving outdoors.

Growing Stevia from seed

Sow seed on surface of soil.

Transplanting Stevia

When plants are large enough to handle, transplant into 3" pots and keep indoors until nighttime temps are regularly above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Harvesting Stevia

Seed saving – Seeds can be harvested when seed heads are fluffy and light. Gather before they blow away.

Pick leave from the plant and wash. Use immediately in any of the ways mentioned below or dry for use later. When dried Stevia leaves should remain green.

Dried & powdered the leaves are used as a substitute for sugar. In theory one teaspoon of stevia or less is equivalent to about 1 cup sugar. Some people notice a slight after-taste, while others do not.
A liquid sweetener is made by pouring 1 quart of boiling water over 1 tablespoon dried leaves and leaving to infuse. Refrigerate and use within a few days or freeze for later.

To make a syrup, place 4 teaspoons dried powdered leaves in a saucepan with 2 cups water, simmer slowly for 10-15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. A teaspoon of Vitamin C powder may be added to act as a preservative.

An extract can be made by combining 1 cup vodka with 3/4 cup fresh stevia leaves in a jar. Shake every day for 2 weeks, then filter through a coffee filter. Add a drop to beverages.

An infusion of fresh or dried leaves can be drunk as a beverage, hot or cold, or added to other herbs as a sweetener.

If using fresh leaves to replace dried quantities listed above, multiply the amount 5 times.

Approximately 6 large leaves chopped finely is a substitute for 1/2 cup of sugar for baking or in cooked recipes. 1 teaspoon of ground stevia is equal to 1 cup of sugar; 2 drops of liquid essence is equal to 1 teaspoon sugar.

Companion plants for Stevia

These plants have been known to grow well alongside Stevia so consider planting:

Repellent plants for Stevia

These plants will not grow well with Stevia so avoid planting these within close proximity:

Common Stevia problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Stevia plants:

Other names for Stevia

Honey leaf, Sweet leaf, Sugar leaf, Sweetleaf, Sugarleaf, Honeyleaf

Stevia rebaudiana (Bertoni) Bertoni

Misspellings: steavia, stavia

Stevia care instructions

How long does Stevia take to grow?

These estimates for how long Stevia takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Footnotes

Seed Savers Exchange packet. http://www.creativehomesteading.com/articles/stevia_info_sheet.htm
fn1: Stevia.net

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