Crazy Sweet Stevia Gone Missing!
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Candice Hanks
Posted on: May 31, 2008

I know this sounds dumb, but I bought this plant from you, planted it... and lost it. Can you email me a colored picture of it, or describe it well enough for me to find? Prefer both. Also, if I planted it in a pot with peppermint will it harm the stevia?

This is not dumb at all. Of course by using the word "lost" you mean that you can’t find the stevia plant in a forest of other faster-growing plants such as peppermint. This is a common problem -- that slower growing herbs are overcome by faster growing ones planted too close by -- and many people unwittingly have done the same thing. Because herbs can come from any part of the plant kingdom -- e.g. trees, shrubs, annuals, vines, weeds, fungi, etc. -- it is very easy to lose plants this way. Either the slower (or smaller) plants get lost in the forest or they get crowded out and eventually perish. Peppermint and stevia in the same pot is exactly this kind of situation, and in time, the stevia will perish if those two herbs are together in the same pot.

To help you sort out the forest of leaves you can find pictures of stevia and peppermint online; please see:

http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=X6031

http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=X4030

The peppermint leaves are strongly scented, while stevia has no scent. The taste of peppermint is strong and very obviously minty. The taste of stevia is very obviously sweet. The leaves of the two are quite unmistakable.

One last question....is stevia a perennial? Will it put out seeds that I can plant?

Stevia is a tender perennial. This means that it will live for more than one year, but it is not winter hardy and must be overwintered indoors. Stevia does flower and produce seeds, but because it requires pollinators it rarely produces viable seeds.

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