Growing Stevia
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Coeli Hoover
Posted: Before April 1998

I recently bought a stevia plant. The plant did not come with any instructions regarding growing conditions. I can’t find anything about stevia in any of my books. What can you tell me about this plant?

Stevia is relatively new to the North American herb market. The plants are still scarce and so it is not surprising that not much information has been published in books.

It is a tender perennial native of South America. It reaches about 60 cm (2 feet) high and prefers well-drained soil in a full sun exposure. It is possible to overwinter the plant indoors but it seems to be susceptible to unidentified diseases in winter and it is common to lose plants. If you can provide supplementary light during the winter when the days are short and the light intensity is low that will improve the chance of success.

Stevia is attracting so much attention these days because it is very sweet. It contains a compound called stevioside which is 300 times sweeter than sugar, without the calories. Stevia is under investigation as a commercial crop in southwestern Ontario for the natural sweetener market. Stevia will be one of the topics at the 1997 Richters Commercial Herb Growing Conference. For more information email to conference@richters.com or check the Richters website conference section.

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