|Item Form||(P) Pkt of 50 seeds|
|Zone||10 - 11|
|Days to Maturity||85|
|Seeds Per Pack||50|
|Plant Height||18 in|
|Plant Width||12 in|
|Additional Characteristics||Edible, Flower, Herbs, Indoor Growing|
|Foliage Color||Medium Green|
|Harvest Season||Late Summer, Early Fall, Mid Fall|
|Light Requirements||Full Sun|
|Moisture Requirements||Moist, well-drained|
|Resistance||Heat Tolerant, Humidity Tolerant|
|Soil Tolerance||Normal, loamy|
|Uses||Beds, Containers, Cuisine, Foliage Interest|
Stevia rebaudiana, known as Sugar Plant, is a shrub native to Paraguay, where it has been used for more than 1,500 years by the local peoples as a sweetener, digestive aid, and topical healing agent. It was introduced to the rest of the world in the late 19th century and has been used extensively in Asian cuisine for several generations, but has only recently come into widespread use in the United States. This nutrient-rich herb offers protein, calcium, and numerous vitamins and minerals, but its biggest draw is as an all-natural, calorie-free sweetener.
Choosing to Grow Stevia
Stevia is a great alternative to processed sugar. Just drop a leaf into hot beverages or cooked dishes, grind the leaves into powder, or extract the oil. It's heat-stable to 392 degrees F and is 20 to 30 times sweeter than sugar cane, yet it has no calories, does not promote tooth decay, and will not elevate blood sugar levels. This makes it the ideal choice for diabetics and those on weight-loss regimes.
When to Start
At just a foot high and slightly wider, Stevia can be grown as a houseplant as well as a garden plant, so you can begin the seeds anytime for houseplant use. To grow Stevia in the garden, begin the seeds indoors in late winter or direct-sow them in mid- to late spring.
How to Start
Stevia is best sown indoors in the Bio Dome or seed flat. Drop a single seed in each cell of the Bio Dome or place the seeds on top of the starting medium, and keep them at a temperature of 68 to 70 degrees F. (If your house is colder than this, a heat mat is recommended.)
Outdoors, sow the seeds when the soil warms to 65 degrees F in spring. Germination occurs in 10 to 15 days.
When the seedlings have at least two true leaves, they are ready to be transplanted into the garden. Harden them off for a few days and then transplant when all danger of frost has passed, spacing the plants 18 inches apart in full sun and sandy or light, well-drained soil.
Stevia likes to stay evenly moist, not too dry and not too wet. Make sure the soil drainage is excellent.
The FDA has declared that the sweetening agent rebaudioside in Stevia is safe, but consult a physician before using natural Stevia when pregnant or under a doctor's care.
The branches of this plant are quite brittle, so site Stevia in an area protected from foot traffic to avoid breakage. Indoors, set it away from the flow of activity in the room.
Pests and Problems to Watch For
Bottom-water the seedlings (the Bio Dome is ideal for this) to avoid damping off.
In the garden, use a soaker hose rather than an overhead watering system if at all possible. Dirt and other debris splashed on the leaves will affect their flavor, so take care when watering, and keep plants spaced a reasonable distance apart.
The bright green leaves of this 30 inch tall by 18-24 inch wide plant are used as a sugar substitute. Harvest the leaves in the fall when the temperatures cool and the days shorten as these changes increase their sweetness. Use them fresh or dried. Keeping in mind that they are very sweet and a little goes a long way, grind them or crush them to release their sweetness and use them in any way that you would sugar
Superior Germination Through Superior SciencePark Seed offers some of the highest-quality vegetable and flower seeds available in the industry, and there are a number of reasons for this.
First of all, we have humidity- and temperature-controlled storage, and we never treat any of our seeds with chemicals or pesticides. Nor do we ever sell GMO's (genetically modified seeds), so you always know the products you're buying from us are natural as well as safe for you and the environment.
Superior Standards - University InspectedTo make sure we are providing the best seed product possible and that our customers will get the highest number of seedlings from every packet, we conduct our own germination testing and have quality-control measures in every stage of our seed-handling operation. We hold ourselves to standards that are at or above federal and state standards, including testing specific crops more frequently than recommended by federal guidelines. And in order to maintain our organic certification, we welcome Clemson University to inspect us annually to make sure our organic seeds, which are stored and processed separately, are being handled properly.
Hand Packed By Experienced TechniciansPark Seed has been handling and packing vegetable and flower seeds for 145 years, a history that has given us a great understanding of how each variety should be cared for and maintained throughout every step of theprocess, from collection to shipping.
When packing our seeds, the majority are actually done by hand (with extreme care!), and we often over-pack them, so you're receiving more than the stated quantity.
The Park Seed Gold StandardAnd many of our seeds are packed in our exclusive Fresh-Pak gold foil packets, which are lined to keep moisture out, so the seeds stay fresher for longer. We carefully pack very tiny or fragile seeds in crush-proof vials to ensure safe delivery to your home. Some of the small seeds are also offered as "pellets" (have a clay coating) to make sowing and growing easier. When it comes to the kinds of seeds we offer, we are constantly seeking something new and provide many unique and hard-to-find varieties from all around the world. Our on-staff horticulturists are ready and available to share their expertise to help you with the success of these seeds, so you can grow a beautiful and productive garden!
Heirloom Seeds are open-pollinated -- they are not hybrids. You can gather and save heirloom seed from year to year and they will grow true to type every year, so they can be passed down through generations. To be considered an heirloom, a variety would have to be at least from the 1940's and 3 generations old (many varieties are much older -- some 100 years or more!).
Hybrid seed are the product of cross-pollination between 2 different parent plants, resulting in a new plant/seed that is different from the parents. Unlike Heirloom seed, hybrid seed need to be re-purchased new every year (and not saved). They usually will not grow true to type if you save them, but will revert to one of the parents they were crossed with and most likely look/taste different in some way.