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STEVIA GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Stevia rebaudiana
Stevia, Sweet Leaf
Native to South America
Stevia is an herbaceous perennial; losing its leaves in late autumn. It will sometimes die back to a crown as its woody
stems are fairly brittle. Stevia grows to 1 m high and likes full sun. It does best in a fertile, well-drained soil and
appreciates regular watering. It will tolerate acidity; preferred pH range is 5 - 7.5.
Stevia is a plant originating in South America where it was widely used by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay as a medicine,
sweetener and sugar substitute. 'Stevioside', the chemical which is extracted and purified from the incredibly sweet leaves
of the plant, is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. 'Stevioside' is a glucoside, not a carbohydrate and has no calorific
value. It has a possible value in diabetic diets as a substitute for saccharine or for weight-watchers wanting to avoid
artificial sweeteners. It is soluble in water, non-fermentable, non-toxic and leaves no aftertaste.
Recommended Planting Time:
- Stevia leaves can be kept indefinitely dried and can also be added to stewed fruit and other dishes. Two or three leaves
added whole or powdered are enough to sweeten a cup of tea or coffee.
- A syrup can be made and used as a sweetener. To make a syrup add two teaspoons of dried stevia to one litre of water, bring
to the boil and simmer for ten minutes and let stand. This can then be stored in the fridge and used as required.
Seed can be sown in spring, with a soil temperature of 20°C. Seed is
difficult to germinate but cuttings strike very readily. Take cuttings any time over summer and keep moist until established.
Cuttings 10 - 20 cm long should be half buried in potting mix and kept moist.
Space plants at 30 cm apart.
Tip-prune to encourage bushiness. Harvest before flowering occurs in late summer and
dry upside down in bunches.
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock
can be sent to South Australia
. No tubestock can be sent to
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