Due to Popular Demand....Stevia in the Garden

Gabby
By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2011-10-28 08:57:53 -0500
Started 2011-02-09 07:46:08 -0600

I have been getting a lot of requests about growing stevia from all of you so I will use this discussion to post my success or failure with this new venture.

I had a plant given to me from a friend and it never looked too good, so I was in a garden center the other day and picked up two plants. I kept them in our green house for a week or so and then I let them hang out in the area I was going to plant them for a day. Now they are in the ground and seem to be doing quite well. The leaves are supple and taste very sweet.

I know it is a tropical plant, so if you live up north, you will need to grow it in a pot so you can move it inside for the winter. I actually had to cover mine last night to protect them from frost. I have not gone out yet to see how they did through the night.

My goal is to be able to make my own liquid sweetener from seeping the leaves. That is how my friend makes hers. So if any of you have grown it already, please share your tips with us.


30 replies

NavyNerd
NavyNerd 2011-07-05 00:01:57 -0500 Report

I was told that the leaves are the sweetest when the plant is flowering.. I container garden, and haven't been able to get mine to bloom, and when I bring it in in teh winter it slows way down so I never can keep up with demand in our home. I use it and when the kids started tasting it, they all jumped teh band wagon too! They will ask for it over anything else now, much to my delight! But I have to supplement what I grow with storebought (organic). When I grow it at home I grow my own tea leaves too, and I discovered that I really enjoy mixing stevia leaves into my tea blends, and brewing it that way.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-10-28 08:57:53 -0500 Report

Where do you purchase seed to grow tea? What kind of tea do you grow? I am going to experiment with some infusions this winter and see how that goes. I just got some wonderful peppermint and want to find other herbs that work well as teas.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-07-05 06:54:06 -0500 Report

I harvest mine as they bloom, to keep them from going to seed. Mine are suffering wet rot right now. We went from no rain to two weeks of rain. Oh, the fun of gardening. LOL

Pynetree
Pynetree 2011-04-23 07:00:34 -0500 Report

Very interesting…And it does sound as if you could steep some with the tea in sun tea. I'll be following this thread…keep posting.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-04-22 22:53:04 -0500 Report

Well, I harvested some of my stevia the other day, dehydrated it and then ground it up to a fine powder. I used a stone mortar and pedstal to grind it. It is green and it doesn't dissolve in my liquids, but it does sweeten it just fine. I used it in some lemon water and made lemonade out of it. It does float on top, so I have to keep shaking it, but for something that is 100% natural and has no chemicals, I am thrilled. If I put it in my tea as I am making sun tea, I bet is will sweeten the entire pitcher. Just like the powder you get from the store, you don't need a lot. It is very sweet.

So steeping is my next experiment. I have been told to steep in vodka, but I think I will try water first. The alcohol is supposed to extract more of the sweet from the leaf, but water sounds safer for me.

Another thing, if any of you are growing it. If your plant begins to bloom, snip off those flowers and it will cause your plant to fill out and keep growing. Once it flowers and goes to seed, you will loose the use of your plant.

Mistletoe
Mistletoe 2011-07-01 18:17:55 -0500 Report

Won't using alcohol to steep the stevia give you added sugar, since the alcohol turns to sugar in the bloodstream very quickly? Herbalists make tinctures with vodka or water; then you let it sit for 6 weeks shaking every day. It becomes concentrated that way.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-07-02 08:29:51 -0500 Report

Hard liquors such as vodka don't have that effect. They can actually drop your levels. It is things like wines and some beers or mixed drinks that cause your levels to rise.
I tried the water, but it just got gross. I didn't like how it turned out and my friend uses vodka, so I might try that next time. Or just steep as I need it.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-07-03 08:16:16 -0500 Report

LOL!! I suppose. I personally don't care for it, and was wondering if I could steep my stevia in something else.

Mistletoe
Mistletoe 2011-07-03 20:17:04 -0500 Report

If you want to learn more about tincturing herbs and such you can go to herbmentor.com and learn all kinds of things about herbs. I am not promoting it with a vested interest of any sort, but I have learned a lot from the site.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-07-04 07:46:53 -0500 Report

Oh, that is a huge help. Thank you so much. I really want to be able to grow medicinal strength herbs and use them that way as well. I am going to check them out right now.

Oh bummer....they are remodeling the site, but I gave them my email for updates. Thanks Mistletoe

PetiePal
PetiePal 2011-02-10 15:32:52 -0600 Report

Very cool I didn't know you could cultivate it yourself or how you'd extract.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-02-11 09:31:33 -0600 Report

The links that Kaiyle listed below have the how to on extraction. I imagine I will dehydrate mine and then grind it into a powder and see how that works. My friend steeps hers in water and then uses the sweetened water to sweeten her drinks.

realsis77
realsis77 2011-02-09 14:41:09 -0600 Report

That's sooo cool Gabby! Id love to give that a try myself but I don't think our nurserys here in bakersfield california have the plant??? Maybe I can order them off the innernet?? What do you think? I think this is a absoultly wonderful idea! What are the requirements of the plant? Sun or shade? If the plant loves sun I'm in the perfect area because God knows I've got plenty of sun here! Please let me know if the plant can tolerate direct sun?? Id sure love to grow one myself! I just wonder how I can get ahold of one??? Any ideas? Please reply because I'm very interested in this! What a wonderful and natural sweetner! Id just love to be able to get a plant. I grow many plants and love to garden! Its a hobby of mine. I actually have been growing lotus. And have many plants that are dormant now and many seeds to plant again this year too .like I said I love to garden so please get back to me about this. Thanks sooo much and have a great day! Of corse lotus is a water plant so its a bit different to grow. But I just love to grow plants and id sure love to give stevia a try! Looking foward to hearing back from you about this!:)

Mistletoe
Mistletoe 2011-07-03 20:21:09 -0500 Report

You might call around to the nurseries there to find out if they have Stevia; I live in a small town and to my surprise 2 of the stores here had it.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-02-10 08:27:47 -0600 Report

You can order them through many nursery catalogs. I got mine at Lowe's. They need full sun and a good mulch to keep them moist but not wet. They don't like the extreme cold, so if you get really cold, you want to put it in a pot so you can move it inside when you need to protect it.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-02-09 08:42:21 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing a little wamth. We are at -8 this morning. Is Stevia a very picky plant about humidity? I have tried to keep Rosemary alive in the house during winter. Our very low humidity made my attempts fail. If Stevia would cooperate with being a snowbird houseplant during the cold months it would be fun to try. How mnay leaves does it take to sweeten things? Is one plant enough? Would it be similar to the amount of some indoor window sill garden herbs?

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-02-09 08:51:30 -0600 Report

It has soft leaves so low humidity might be a bother to it. I have only two plants right now to experiment with. You dry the leaves or steep fresh ones and from the links that Kaiyle gave, the ones the average person gets may not be as sweet as the commercially grown ones, but they are still sweet. So for about $3 you can get one and give it a try. The links below are very helpful.

Oh and your rosemary should survive quite well outside even in winter. It is an evergreen plant and holds up well in the cold.

Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-02-09 09:04:32 -0600 Report

I am checking the links from Kaiyle now. So far I've only read the one about growing stevia. It is very interesting.
I might have to give it a try when we are living in more than one room and a bath.I wonder if Stevia is a little likemint in that differen plants have different tastes. My mint plants grew into a wonderful mixture of two flavors of mint and a spearmint plant. I think Rosemry is only evergreen to aroud 32 then it dies. Whenever I plantted it in my garden I always dreaded the day the temp was going to drop low enough to get to it. Every Christmas when the stores over Rosemary Christmas trees I visit them often. I just love the scent of Rosemary.
Now I'm away to read the other two links.

kdroberts
kdroberts 2011-02-09 09:38:58 -0600 Report

Rosemary will survive to just below freezing. Easiest way to get around that is plant it in a pot, put it out after the last frost of spring and bring it inside before the temperature drops. I don't know about for you but for me that would be roughly early April to late October. I should also point out that it has the ability to survive to much, much lower temperatures but it needs to be very well established, be quite a large bush and have a good root system.

Kaiyle
Kaiyle 2011-02-09 08:06:37 -0600 Report

This is fantastic Gabby!!! I wish you much success in having a healthy harvest of delicious Stevia. Check these sites out to see if the information will be of great help to you.

http://www.stevia.net/growingstevia.htm

http://www.ehow.com/list_6959202_tips-growing...

http://www.ehow.com/how_6580382_harvest-stevi...

Gabby
GabbyPA 2011-02-09 08:22:19 -0600 Report

These are EXCELLENT! Thank you so much. So far so good for me then. My friend's plant didn't do well once I put it outside, and it died, but the other two plants are doing well.