Growing Stevia: A Great Way to Go Natural For Your Sweetener Choices
Stevia is an all natural sweetener that is gaining popularity across the world. Growing stevia is a great way to get the benefits of the plant,without the cost often associated with buying stevia leaves, liquid, or crystals. By cultivating your own plant, or patch of stevia, you will be able to have the sweetness without the guilt, and raised by your own hand as well. Read on for some basic information about growing stevia.
Doesn't Grow Well From Seed
It is difficult, unless you really know what you are doing, to successfully help stevia to propagate from seed. It will grow, but the variance of the sweetness in the leaves of the plant can be quite unpredictable. There also tends to be a low germination rate, which can mean that you buy a packet of seeds, and none of them may sprout. This is why it is recommended that you start off with stevia plant cuttings, or so-called “starter plants” that have already been germinated and have reached a certain size. You can generally find these starter plants, grown from established stevia plant cuttings, at many specialty nurseries or even local natural co-op stores and places of the like.
How to Grow Stevia
Now that you know what type of plant to look for and where to get it from, you are likely now wondering about the care and feeding of stevia plants. Stevia is not very tolerant to cold, so it is recommended that when you are looking to cultivate stevia outside, in a herb patch, that you wait until the last threat of a freeze has passed. When you place them outside, be sure to leave at least 18-24 inches between plants so they do not get overcrowded.
When it comes to cultivating stevia, it is also helpful to know the ideal soil conditions so as to be able to ensure the healthiest and hardiest plants possible. When growing stevia, it is important to note that they prefer what is called “loamy” soil. This is loose soil that provides for a lot of drainage, and is often a bit sandy or grainy in texture. This allows for the stevia plant to easily root in the soil and allows for proper drainage so as to avoid root rot.
The roots of the stevia plant are actually quite shallow, which makes them more prone to root rot, which is part of why it is so important to grow stevia in areas that drain quite well. Spreading a thin layer of compost around the plant is another great way of protecting the fragile roots. It also provides extra nutrients that loamy soil is often lacking.
Another question many have about how to grow stevia is how to feed and water their plants. Light daily watering is recommended during the summer months, as you do not want to inundate the plants with moisture too much. When growing stevia, it is recommended that you feed the plants a low nitrogen fertilizer. Most organic fertilizers are perfect for growing stevia, especially if they are higher it potash and phosphoric acid than nitrogen.
When it comes to how to grow stevia, it is a pretty basic gardening process. Following the tips and hints laid out above will help make your efforts of growing stevia far more successful.