Growing Stevia or Stevia rebaudiana in your home or garden is not complicated. Stevia, a natural sweetener, is an ideal plant for an edible flower and herb garden.
I love the Stevia natural sweetener in my Zevia and Hansen’s Free soda pop because it contains no calories and is a safe sweetener. But it’s also fun to grow your own Stevia and use it for baking or for sweetening teas.
Stevia can also be used as a safe insect repellant since it is non-toxic. Its sweet taste is not appealing to many insects. In fact, Grasshoppers don’t bother Stevia crops.
Home-grown Stevia may not be quite as potent as Stevia extract (also called Truvia) used to sweeten products, but I have a few tips that worked for me for getting the most potent Stevia. Here are some tips for using, growing and harvesting Stevia:
No. 1: Tip for growing Stevia rebaudiana: Grow Stevia in the full sun outdoors or in a sunny spot in a pot indoors.
No. 2: Tip for growing Stevia rebaudiana: Add compost around the plant.
No. 3: Do not overwater the plant but give it frequent light watering during the summer months.
No. 4: Stevia rebaudiana grows to be 12 inches in height. When planting outdoors in an edible flower or edible herb garden, space Stevia plants 18 inches apart.
No. 5: Stevia plants do best in well-drained soil. When keeping Stevia as a houseplant, allow soil to dry between watering.
No. 6: Harvest Stevia later in the season since cooler weather intensifies the sweetness of the Stevia.
No. 7: After or during harvest time, take a few cuttings for the following year. Dip Stevia cuttings in rooting hormones; then plant in rooting soil (a light soil) for three weeks. Next, place cutting in pot with potting soil and place in sunny spot inside home until planting in spring in the northern states and in the early fall in Florida and southern climates
No. 8: Extracting, harvesting Stevia: Harvest Stevia leaves and dry them on a screen; keep in full sun for 12 hours. You can also dry the Stevia plants by handing them upside down in a sunny location.
No. 9: For crushing dry leaves you may use a coffee grinder. The leaves should be crispy, bright green and crumble easily when dry.
No. 10: To make liquid Stevia, mix warm water with the dry crushed leaves. Use 1 cup of warm water for every 1/4 cup of crushed Stevia leaves. Let sit for 24 hours before refrigerating.
Use the liquid Stevia to sweeten drinks, cereals, in smoothies or for recipes.
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