Gardening

How to grow stevia in 7 steps

Stevia , Stevia rebaudiana bertoni , is a plant whose leaf is used as a natural sweetener, but also, surely you already know that it is very popular due to the properties and benefits of stevia .

Stevia is a plant that belongs to the botanical family Asteraceae  or Composites. This plant is herbaceous, with elongated leaves and white flowers that grow in groups. If you take good care of it, you have a 6-year-old plant.

Since stevia is a plant that does not have deep roots and that grow close to the surface, it is easy to grow it in pots or grow tables.

We also advise you which organic seeds to use , the best planters, growing boxes and tables for your garden and essential books to learn everything about organic gardening .

How to grow your stevia plant in 7 steps

1º- Prepare the stevia seedlings, direct sowing and cuttings

To reproduce or multiply stevia it is faster and easier to do it by cuttings because it is a shrub-like plant. Follow these steps here .

If you are going to start growing stevia from seeds, prepare seedbeds with a mixture of 3 parts of soil and one part of worm castings.

Or if you are going to sow the stevia seeds directly into the soil, make sure the soil is well aerated and loose and incorporate worm castings in case it does not have enough organic matter.

Make holes 2 centimeters deep and put two seeds per hole. Cover lightly with soil and water carefully. You must keep the seedlings at a temperature that is around 20ºC to promote germination.

Another important factor is the constant humidity that the seeds will need to germinate. You will see that a week some seeds begin to germinate, although it may take up to 4 or 5 weeks to do so. Keep the humidity constant until you transplant the seedling or if you have sown directly into the ground, until it reaches 15 cm in height. Then we will progressively reduce the risks.

Keep the seedbeds in a dark and slightly aerated area and as the seeds germinate and the seedlings grow, we gradually expose them to the sun.

2º- Prepare the substrate where to grow stevia

If you are going to grow stevia in 30 cm deep pots, prepare the substrate like this:

A first layer, which will be the one that goes to the bottom, at the base of the pot, of 5 cm of sand. Later we add another layer on top of 15 cm of earth, and another third layer of worm humus of 5 cm and finally another layer of 5 cm of earth.

If, on the other hand, you are going to sow stevia directly into the soil, it should have a pH of 4 to 7.

Whether you grow stevia in pots or in the ground, there should be good water drainage.

3º- Ideal temperature for stevia

Stevia grows best at temperatures around 25ºC. However, it can be adapted to areas with temperatures between 7 and 40ºC.

If you grow stevia in pots in a cold area, you can always bring it indoors and protect it from low temperatures in the colder months.

4º- Where to locate the stevia: Solar exposure of the stevia

Although when we prepare the seedlings we kept them in the dark, without light, when we transplanted the stevia it needs to be located in a point where it receives full sunlight.

It is a plant that needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day to grow optimally.

5º- Risks of stevia

It is a plant that can resist the lack of water well.

When we prepare the seedbeds, the seeds need moisture to germinate and that is why we must water regularly, but once we have transplanted the seedling, we must reduce the waterings because the excess water does not do well.

Water only when, inserting your finger into the substrate at a minimum depth of 5 cm, you notice that it is dry.

6º- Pests and diseases of stevia

Stevia can suffer from fungal diseases mainly due to excess humidity and lack of aeration. Look here to prevent and fight fungus from seedlings in an ecological way.

You can also have aphids plague, which we can avoid and also fight ecologically with these tips.

7º- Harvesting the stevia leaves

In just over a month you can start harvesting the stevia leaves and start using it.

Cut the leaves you want to use being careful not to damage the stem.

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