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Stevia the 
Sweetener Herb

 

Herb Gardening Video

Before you read the article about Stevia, you may like to watch this video about
herb gardening generally.

 

Stevia the Sweetener Herb

Once again Monica advises the use of compost. We recommend that you use sustainable compost from one of the suppliers listed on our home page.

By Monica Resinger

While shopping for vegetable garden plants at our local home store last night, I was elated to find the sweetener herb Stevia! After we got home, I picked a leaf, took a nibble and was shocked at how sweet it really was. In an effort to learn a little more about this plant, I did a web search and will share with you what I learned.

Stevia Rebaudiana is a small perennial shrub which belongs to the Chrysanthemum family. This plant is the only known species that has the ability to sweeten.
Stevia in its natural herb form is 10 to 15 times sweeter than granulated sugar. Here are some wonderful benefits of using Stevia:

  • It's diabetic safe
  • It's calorie free
  • It does not adversely affect blood sugar
  • It is non toxic
  • Inhibits the formation of cavities and plaque
  • It can be used for cooking

Growing it:
It's best to start with plants because it is difficult to grow from seed. Young Stevia plants are sensitive to low temperatures, so don't plant it out until danger of frost is gone and soil temperature is in the 50's or 60's. They should be planted 18 inches apart. They grow to about 30 inches tall and 18 inches wide. It likes a rich soil and its feeder roots are near the soil surface, so adding a mulch of compost is a good idea. Stevia roots are sensitive to excessive moisture, so be sure the soil drains easily. It is a perennial, but the plant is sensitive to frost, so don't leave it outside through the fall and winter months if your area gets frosts.

©, 2000, Monica Resinger

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