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Stevia rebaudiana

Stevia rebaudiana

Common: Stevia is a tropical perennial herb grown as an annual. The sugary-tasting leaves of stevia are 30 to 40 times sweeter than granulated sugar—and they have no calories. The leaves can be used fresh, dried, or ground as a sugar substitute to sweeten desserts, fruit, and drinks. Grow stevia in full sun. Grow stevia in well-drained, loamy soil. Add aged compost to the planting bed and turn it under before planting. Plant stevia outdoors after the last frost when the weather is settled and warm. Stevia will not tolerate temperatures below 45°F. Space stevia plants 10 to 12 inches apart; stevia has a clumping growth form; allow room between plants. Pinch the growing tips back to keep stevia compact and bushy. Stevia branches are brittle so be careful when weeding or working around the plant.

Full to Part Sun

Height: 12-15″/Spread: 8-10″

Late Spring – Fall

Size Available: 1201

Stevia rebaudiana

Description

Stevia

Stevia is an all natural alternative to processed sugar with little to no calories. A member of the Chrysanthemum family, Stevia plants are native to South America and was originally discovered by the Guarani tribes, indigenous to Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil, who used it medicinally in teas. Named “ka’a he’e” or “sweet herb” by the tribes, the sweet plant was also used as an herbal remedy for heartburn and indigestion.

Stevia is a great culinary herb and its leaves can be used to sweeten teas and drinks, custards, desserts and more. It is not recommended as a replacement for processed sugar when baking, as Stevia doesn’t caramelize or crystallize like sugar does and this difference in chemical reactions when heated may not produce a flavorful or expected outcome. The leaves themselves have a faintly licorice like taste when used fresh and the plant is easy to grow if kept warm. It will continuously flower and will do best in doors in a pot or container if grown in a zone where the weather gets cold and rainy.