Stevia is a herb from sunflower family, Asteraceae. It is a subtropical perennial and grows in areas at higher latitudes as annual outdoor plants. The plant is intolerant to cold temperature so place it in indoors during winters.
Growing Stevia – Methods of Planting
In summers, plant stevia in area with partial shade and place it indoors during winters. It can be planted in pots that are three inch wide. For growing stevia, buy young plants from a nursery and transplant them in the garden when there is no frost and temperature of the soil is 60 degrees. Rows of stevia should be at a distance of 20-24 inches from each other. Spacing between the plants should be 18 inches. The soil should be rich, moist, loamy and well draining. Add compost and do not overwater the plant as it leads to rotting. Use an organic fertilizer. An area with raised bed is ideal for the purpose of growing stevia.
Stevia Seeds – Select Fresh Ones
You should select seeds of stevia that are fresh and untreated. If harsh chemicals are used, it may result in a lower rate of germination. Buy stevia seeds from a rotating stock of seeds so that they are not old. Sow seeds at a temperature of 24-29 degrees C. It must be stored in a refrigerator. Organic stevia seeds are clean and do not have debris and feathers. These can be expensive due to cost of labor as well as equipment associated with them. However, these are high quality seeds. Their rate of germination is high if planted in proper manner. Take adequate care for growing this plant from seeds. You can use potting soil for filling potting container and should put 2-3 seeds in each container. You should moist the top of container by using spray bottle.
Stevia Plant – Special Features
Leaf of stevia is sweet and it is a natural sweetener. Extract of stevia plant, steviol glycoside, is sweeter than sugar. Its leaf is useful for diabetics and it has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and hypoglycemic properties. Stevia plant is perennial and small sized. Its leaves are sessile and arranged in opposite direction. You can grow stevia in your kitchen garden. Do not grow it in a saline soil. The plant leaf is useful as an ingredient in many herbal medicines. It is also useful as an ingredient in mouthwash and in toothpaste. Tea made of stevia leaf is an excellent remedy for upset stomach.