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Growing Stevia

Posted by midnight1957 8 (watereemech@bellsouth.net) on
Thu, Mar 4, 10 at 21:46

Has anyone grown stevia. I want to try it this year. I have started my stevia seeds (they are very very small) but need some help.
When do you harvest it, while the leaves are green and then dry them or wait until they drie on the bush?
How do you process it to use in the place of sugar? I am told that it is 100 times sweeter than sugar, is this true?
How large does a bush usually get, do you need to plant a lot and what is the best way to preserve it?

Any and all comments are welcome.

Wade


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Growing Stevia

I grew it last year, and out of all the seeds I planted, only two survived. We had a rough growing season last year, it was wet and cloudy for many weeks. I think this plant may like your zone much better than mine!. So, with that said-the bushes didn't get that large for me, maybe a foot tall or so. You can harvest them at any time in the summer or in the fall before it goes to seed. The leaves are very sweet and you can eat them fresh right off the plant! But if you want to dry them, the way I would recommend is to do so in a dehydrator set on a low heat setting. They may also be air dried the same as other herbs in a warm, dry place with very good air circulation. Once dried you can put them in a food processor and grind them into a powder, they remain sweet for a while. Good Luck!!


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RE: Growing Stevia

Good info to know! I'm about ready to start my Stevia seeds I bought from Baker Creek. =)


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RE: Growing Stevia

I just potted up my stevia seedlings, so I will be curious to see how they go. I had near 100% germination, I guess we'll see if they continue on. I did read that for my area in central Ohio that it is best to grow it in a large pot that can be brought in, as it definitely likes warmer weather!


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RE: Growing Stevia

Neat! I had never thought of growing this plant! Guess I thought I could only get it from the store. lol.

So once you grind them up, you can just add them to things like sugar? What's the ratio of stevia vs sugar as it is more sweet?

Kim


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RE: Growing Stevia

I had thought about growing this plant this year, too, but became a bit discouraged when I read about how poor the seed germination might be. The few seed sources I found were quite expensive for only a very few seeds. Don't mind paying for seed but want to expect decent germination with proper care.

Can you recommend a seed source where you've gotten decent germination with their Stevia seed?

My thanks,

Mary


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RE: Growing Stevia

  • Posted by jarek 5b Michigan (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 6, 10 at 11:24

I've also become interested in trying my hand at the Stevia growing, but I don't know where I can get the seeds. Any suggestions?
-Russell


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Stevia germination

My seeds came from Park Seeds. I paid 4.95 for 50 seeds, and had 100% germination. They've since been transplanted, and are still doing OK. While Stevia extracts are up to 300 times more sweet than sugar, if you just use the plant leaf as is, it is 30 times sweeter than sugar, so one leaf might do. Using the whole leaf you may notice other tastes. If you soak the leaves (minus any veins) in warm water to extract the sweetness, you will have less of these tastes. I don't mind the other tastes and am too lazy to extract. Plus the dried leaves hold their sweetness, almost indefinitely I've been, so I just dry some down and store it like other spices. If you do extract, remember the seetness is in the leafs, the bitter stuff is in the stems and the veins of the leaves so the more you cut up the plant and separeate out the peices the more you will refine. Here is a pretty good link http://www.sweetess.com/stevia/#q2


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RE: Growing Stevia

  • Posted by bencjedi 6 - Central Kentucky (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 9, 10 at 23:06

I wasted like $4.85 on a seed packet of Stevia last year from Lowes. I think it was Burpee. There were only 10 seeds in the packet. I put 5 in seed starting mix and 5 in pure fine vermiculite. NOTHING germinated! I don't normally have a problem germinating any seed with my setup. I used a heat mat. I think I must have bought bum seeds. If Park Seeds are more reliable I think I need to order from them.


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RE: Growing Stevia

I bought mine from Baker Creek (like $3 for 25 seeds, I believe) and am about to start them this coming weekend. Hopefully, i'll have at least 50% germination, if not better. I'll let y'all know, on this thread, what my results are though.


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RE: Growing Stevia

I just sat down to check out gardenweb before starting some seeds including stevia. This is my first try also. I've read that germination is only 30%, so I'm hopeful I'll get something, but not totally confident. Still excited to try. I bought my seeds from Seed Savers Exchange, $2.50 for 25 seeds.


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