Latin Name: Stevia rebaudiana
Item #: 160D
Suitable for Containers:
STEVIA - Annual Sweet HerbStevia leaves both raw or cooked have a very sweet flavor. As it is calorie free, it does not impact the body’s blood sugar levels. The dried leaf is 10-15 times sweeter than cane sugar, so very little is needed to sweeten. Stevia plants reach up to 2 ft in height and has somewhat brittle and stiff stems.
CULTURE: Seed should be started indoors around 8 weeks before the last frost. Sprinkle seed on damp soil-less mixture, cover lightly. Germinate with gentle bottom heat @ 70-75ºF/21-24ºC for 7-10 days. Keep soil moist but do not over-water. Transplant outdoors 2 weeks after danger of frost. Although plants prefer cooler summer weather, it can also do well in hot climates if planted in an area that has partial afternoon shade. Mulch the plants well to keep the roots cool and keep the leaves clean from soil. To encourage bushy growth, start pinching the tips off every 3-4 weeks for the first 1-2 months.
HARVEST: Harvest in the morning for the highest sugar content. Leaves can be harvested and used anytime throughout the summer. Plants will be ready for harvesting in late September/early October as soon as flower buds appear. Once flowering has occurred no normal leaves will be produced and the flowers will impart a bitter or dirty flavor to the leaves. For best results, cut the entire plant at the base then tie the loose branches together. Hang upside down in a warm, dark, drafty spot for 2-4 days. Grind the dried leaves in a coffee grinder for 25-30 seconds and store the green powder in a jar or sealed baggie.