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BOTANICAL NAME: Stevia rebaudiana
COMMON NAMES: Stevia, Sweet Leaf
FAMILY: Asteraceae
ORIGIN: 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. PLANTING DETAILS
Recommended Planting Time: Seed can be sown in spring, with a soil temperature of 20C. Seed is difficult to germinate but cuttings strike very readily. Take cuttings any time over summer and keep moist until established.
Planting Depth: Cuttings 10 - 20 cm long should be half buried in potting mix and kept moist.
Spacing: Space plants at 30 cm apart.
Harvesting: Tip-prune to encourage bushiness. Harvest before flowering occurs in late summer and dry upside down in bunches.

SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered by residents of Norfolk Island, Tasmania and Western Australia. 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 Northern Territory.
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