There stevia, a small perennial herbaceous shrub from Paraguay, is a plant with an enormous sweetening capacity, which can be grown in the garden or on the terrace. The sweetener plant is famous just like stevia rebaudiana, by Rebaudi, the discoverer of its sweetening properties. In fact, more than 150 species of stevia, but Rebaudiana is the only one that also possesses important sweetening properties. Below we will show you how to grow stevia, a plant well known to consumers of organic and natural products.
Cultivating stevia, the seeds
Due to the harsh winter climate it will not be possible to have a perennial plant but we will still be able to enjoy the properties of this plant during the vegetative phase which corresponds to the spring and summer period. The cultivation of stevia does not require special care and can also be done by hands who are not experts in the art of gardening. To cultivate it, simply get the seeds of the plant or buy the seedlings in the nursery.
Here's how to proceed with sowing:
- In a not very large pot, pour a mixture of fine, moist earth and distribute the seeds on the surface, then cover them with a small layer of soil
- Humidify with a spray nebulizer to avoid removing the seeds
- Place the pot indoors, near a sunny window or in a greenhouse: germination can occur as early as a week after sowing
- As soon as the seedlings have reached a certain height, you must divide them into larger pots, adding organic fertilizer: indicative is after putting the third pair of leaves.
At this point the plants are adult, so it will be enough just to water them every day, paying attention to stagnant water
Cultivating stevia, the seedlings
- Place the seedlings outside in a sunny spot, taking care to keep it sheltered from the wind: if desired grow stevia in winter it will be necessary to put it in a heated greenhouse or it can be placed at home near a window exposed to the sun
- Water daily so make sure that the soil is always moist but without creating stagnant water
- After one month of purchase, plant them in the ground or in a larger pot, choosing a type of draining soil enriched with organic fertilizer: make sure the soil is always moist
- As autumn approaches, cover the base of the plant with mulch to keep the roots warm: the stevia it will die anyway, but with this expedient it will come back again in the spring.
As for the cost of seedlings and seeds of the stevia, these are around 5 euros for a young seedling and around 2 euros for a package of seeds.