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Stevia Planting Guide

Stevia - How to Grow, Harvest, Store and Use Sweet Stevia Herb
Easy to Grow. Naturally Sweet. Stevia Herb! Stevia is a naturally super-sweet herb native to South America that can add flavor to your beverages and cooking without adding a single calorie! However, not all stevia sweeteners are created equal. Most store bought stevia has been so highly processed with chemicals like acetone(!) and methanol(?) among many others, resulting in a bright white, crystalline substance that looks a lot like sugar - to help it sell like sugar. After all the processing and chemical additives – you have to wonder if saving those calories is really worth it!
It is worth it to have a natural sweetener that is safe, doesn't raise your blood pressure or insulin levels, contains a variety of ant-oxidants, and is actually good for you. But for these benefits, you need real stevia, not an over-processed imitation sugar. For the surest source of healthy-for-you, naturally sweet, genuine stevia – grow and harvest your own. It’s easy.
How to Grow Stevia
PLANTING
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Sun Exposure
Like most herbs, Stevia thrives in full sun in all but the very hottest of climates. Where scorching summers are the norm, arrange light shade during the afternoon.

Soil Type
Light, loamy soil with excellent drainage is as important for stevia as for most herbs. In mild climates without winter freezing, plant in a raised bed. In any climate, plant in a container with gravel in the bottom to ensure good drainage. Keep the plant accessible - you will be harvesting often.

Planting Depth

Just slide the plant out of its pot, and ensure the surface of the soil for the plant is at the same level as the surrounding soil in your garden or planter. Tamp in place.

Watering
Do not let your stevia's soil dry out completely, but standing water, or wet soil should be avoided, as it will encourage the roots to rot. Once established, Stevia is a low water, low maintenance plant.

Pruning Stevia for Best Production
Left to its own devices, stevia tends to grow long and lanky and covered with tiny white blooms. Plant to cut it back once it is at 8 inches tall, and then again in early summer. This will promote branching and better leaf production. Feel free to use the leaves from your pruning either fresh, or dried as described below.

Winter Care
When planted within it's hardiness zones, of 8 - 11, stevia can remain in the ground, undisturbed over the winter. Otherwise, bring your potted plant indoors, to a warm, sunny location. Come spring, cut back the top growth to about 6 inches to encourage fresh new growth for your harvesting.

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Harvesting and Storing Stevia

To learn more about how to harvest stevia, and how to dry it and use as an extract or tincture, please read our blog post here.