How to Grow Stevia at Home

grow steviaStevia has recently gained popularity as a natural sweetener, especially among dieters and diabetics.  The stevia plant produces leaves that have powerful sweetening properties, supposedly 10x that of ordinary sugar,  but without the calories. The best part of it all, especially for home gardeners like me, is that it’s actually easy to  grow and propagate stevia right in the comforts of one’s home.

When growing  stevia at home, it’s best to start with a few  fully grown seedlings. Fortunately for me, stevia easily grows in warm tropical zones like the Philippines.  While they can thrive under partial sun,  their leaves grow faster when exposed to at least 6 hours of sunlight. When grown in pots,  make sure to use well-draining soil or potting mix, in a container that has enough holes for the excess water to fully drain. An ideal container for growing stevia should have at least 10 inches in depth and diameter.

The plant does not need frequent watering, but it is important to ensure that the soil is kept moist (not soggy).  Prune the top leaves when the plant is at least 10 inches tall to encourage more branches and leaves to grow.   Trimming also prevents the plant from becoming leggy.   Fertilize once a month with compost or any organic fertilizer.

While stevia can grow from seeds, it is easier to propagate stevia from cuttings.  Click on this link http://www.urbangardeningmom.com/propagate-herbs-cuttings/ to learn more about how to propagate herbs from cuttings.

grow stevia containerA mature stevia plant can grow to about 25 – 30 inches.  When harvesting the leaves, cut the stems from the plant, with the leaves  intact. Bundle them together and air out to dry under full sun for around 2 days. Once fully dried, remove the leaves from the stem. Discard the stem and store the dried leaves in dry containers or paper bag.

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To use stevia as sweetener, crush the leaves by hand, grinder or blender, and use the powdered  herb as sugar substitute. As sweetener for coffee or tea, start with just 1/4 teaspoon, and then adjust gradually according to taste.  Make sure not to add too much stevia, as it has the tendency to taste a little bitter (like medicine).

 

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About Glo de Castro

The author is a lawyer and an executive in a leading real estate company in the Philippines. Urban gardening is one of her hobbies and passion. She created this website because she loves to write about her gardening experiences and share them with fellow gardeners. She also conducts seminars about urban gardening occasionally.

2 thoughts on “How to Grow Stevia at Home

  1. Dear Karen,
    I typically buy my seeds from Cedarhills Garden Center along Mother Ignacia St in Quezon City. They have everything you need, from pots, soil, fertilizer, seedlings etc. Cheers

    Glo

  2. Hello, what a wonderful site you’ve got here! I was just wondering where you usually buy your seeds and seedlings. Hope you can share. Thank you.

Thank you. Your comments are valuable to me to help me improve my blog posts. Cheers.