Raising Stevia plants

Gimpy

The Living Force
My Mom mentioned this to me this evening, and I don't live in a zone where it would be happy. (I'm zone 5, Stevia thrives at zone 11)

Looking into it I found a decent looking site for information on growing your own stevia leaves plus tips on growing it in different zones.

Link here: http://stevia.homestead.com/grow.html

For those of us with green houses or who do live in appropriate zones, it might be something to try, as stevia is expensive in the US yet.
 

banjoechef

The Force is Strong With This One
I am currently in between zone 5 and 6 some say 5b.
I have a Crazy Sweet(registered trademark) Stevia which is exclusive to Richters Herbs
_http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=X6030&show=&prodclass=F019&cart_id=6599522.24238
I currently have it growing as an indoor plant using some compact florescent bulbs to help with extra light in the winter. It grows like crazy and is very easy to propagate by cuttings.
This specific stevia has been selectively bred to produce more of the sweetening compounds and less of the compounds which cause the somewhat hard to get used to bitter aftertaste.

So you don't really need a greenhouse unless you plan on producing large amounts of stevia
 

banjoechef

The Force is Strong With This One
I guess even if you do want to produce a relatively large amount of stevia you could grow a few "mother plants" as houseplants and propagate cuttings for growing as annuals which would survive just as long as tomato and pepper plants in the garden.
 

Lilou

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FOTCM Member
I also live in zone 5 and bought a couple of stevia plants to try this year. It's my understanding that they should get 2-3 feet tall by the end of our growing season. I plan to dry the leaves and use them to sweeten herbal tea. You can also grind the leaves to make a powder. If I have enough, I may try that as well.

I'll see how it goes. Anything I can grow and not have to purchase, is A-OK with me! There is lots of info available at stevia.net and stevia.com

Good luck fellow farmers!
 

Lilou

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FOTCM Member
Just an update on my stevia gardening. As predicted, the plants grew about 2 and a half to 3 feet tall, but did not stand upright well. They were rather bushy, have very short roots, and I found them laying on the ground. I may stake them next year.

I pulled them up out of the ground in late September, washed them with the garden hose and hung them upside down to dry. I'm quite happy with the results. The dried leaves are a great addition to tea, making it mildly sweet - but the best thing - is they do not give that "just brushed your teeth" after taste like the stevia crystals I purchased at the store. And they were quite inexpensive - I invested $4 in 2 plants.

So overall - this is a great addition to my herb garden. Despite neglect, they seemed to thrive & I have plenty of dried stevia for the year from just 2 plants.

:cool2:
 
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