Stevia in Winnipeg
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Michel Regnier
Posted on: October 27, 1998

I have read about the wonders of stevia and about its ill fate with the FDA and would like to grow it in my appartment here in Winnipeg. Is this feasible? Could you please send me more information on how to grow stevia in the home or how to grow it in southern Manitoba. If it works out, I would also like to know when I could order a plant or two and when they can be shipped.

Stevia is a tender perennial. It normally has to be wintered indoors in a sunny window. It is not easy to winter indoors because it is naturally susceptible to opportunistic fungal diseases during the months with the day length is short. But it can be done if you are very careful to water only when dry (but don’t let it dry out) and the potting soil is very well-draining.

Stevia does very well in southern Canada outdoors as a garden or field plant. In fact, tests in southern Ontario show that it can accumulate very high levels of the sweetening component, steviasides, because the day length at our latitude is long in the summer. The long the day length the more stevia can accumulate. Of course, at the end of the summer, you have to decide whether to bring the plant indoors or leave it to die and replant the next spring.

Stevia plants are available from Richters from April to October. But this year, because of the very mild autumn we are having, we expect to continue shipping plants well into November, and possibly even into December.

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