Seeds Per Pack: 50
85 days from sowing.
A wholesome alternative to processed sugar and chemically-derived artificial sweeteners, Stevia (“sugarleaf”) is becoming more and more popular among health-conscious individuals. It’s 20 to 30 times sweeter than sugar cane, yet is non-caloric and doesn’t promote tooth decay!
Stevia is easy to use, too. Just drop a leaf into hot or cold drinks, or use it like a bay leaf to sweeten meat and vegetables dishes while they cook — it’s heat-stable! Grind the dried leaves and sprinkle them into cereals and other cold dishes as you would sugar. You can even extract the oil!
The plant is a tender perennial (grown as an annual everywhere except zones 10 and 11) that loves consistently moist soil, full sunshine, and excellent soil drainage. Its leaves reach their peak of sweetness just before the plant flowers, and flowering is triggered by the arrival of short days. So in late summer or fall, when the warm weather suddenly ceases, it’s time to cut the plant at the base, hang it upside down in a warm, dry indoor location until it dries out, and then strip those ultra-sweet leaves for healthy “sugar” all winter long.
Stevia is not the easiest seed to germinate, but if you have a Bio Dome, you’re halfway there. Grow lights? –It’s a snap! Drop one seed into each pre-drilled hole of the Bio Dome and set the dome under grow lights in a 70 to 75 degree room. Germination takes about 7 to 15 days. The young seedlings are strong but grow slowly, so begin seeds indoors 8 weeks before transplant time (after last scheduled spring frost in your area). Of course, for use in the kitchen windowsill garden or other brightly lit indoor setting, seeds may be germinated any time of year. And if you do not have a Bio Dome, cover the seeds with a scant one-eighth-inch vermiculite, and germinate under grow lights if available at 70 to 75 degrees F.
In the garden, Stevia likes enriched soil and needs constant moisture — but not wet feet — throughout the growing season. (It is native to South America, where it grows in tropical conditions and is often found along the sandy banks of streams.) Raised beds or hilling are easy solutions. Mulch well when the summer heat arrives. The plant will reach about 12 inches high and 18 inches wide in the garden, somewhat smaller indoors.
Once you have grown and harvested Stevia from your own garden, we predict that you’ll fall in love with the health benefits of this natural sweetener! Pkt is 50 seeds.