Stevia rebaudiana – Grow stevia and harvest your own organic, natural sweetner. An outstanding herbal sugar substitute–non-caloric alternative to artificially produced sugar substitutes. The sweet compounds pass through the digestive process without chemically breaking down, making stevia safe for those who need to control their blood sugar level. The leaves can be used fresh or dried. To make your own powdered stevia, hang bundles to dry in a warm, well ventilated location. When the leaves are thoroughly dry, place them in a blender and process into a powder. Ht 1.3 m (4 ft).
Start seed indoors 4 – 6 weeks before transplanting out to the garden. Cover seeds with 1/2 cm (1/4 in) of soil. Firm soil over seed. Keep moist but not waterlogged. To germinate maintain a soil temperature of 22 C (72 F). Seed should germinate in 10 – 14 days. Once seeds have sprouted, 14 – 16 hours of light per day is essential. Once plants have reached 12 cm (5 in) transplant to 6 cm (3 in) peat pots. Plants will develop better with a growing temperature of 17 C (62 F) until transplanting out. Fertilize weekly with 10-52-17 and liquid seaweed for strong root development. Do not transplant out till night temperatures are warm.