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Stevia seeds and how to grow them

Stevia seeds are elliptical in shape and extremely light (about 0.3g per 1000 black seeds). They have small bristles attached to them, allowing the seeds to travel on the wind. They are practically invisible to the naked eye.

 

Sweet leaf stevia only grows in the wild in warmer climates, since the stevia plant cannot survive cold temperatures. 

The ideal temperature is 75°F to 85°F (24°C to 29°C). To offer stevia the best chances of survival in moderate climates - for example in Europe - it has to be cultivated and followed up on very meticulously in greenhouses.

It is not impossible to grow stevia in your home garden though, but remember that the plant needs a lot of sunlight and warmth

stevia seedsThe stevia herb will usually react well to growing outside in the summertime, but once winter approaches, it's best to keep the plant indoors at room temperature. Never expose the sweet leaf to frost!

 There are two kinds of stevia seeds: black and tan. Only the black seeds allow for reproduction of the plant, and even then the germination ratio is moderate and depends a lot on the seed quality. If you're growing stevia seeds, it's recommended to expose them to light in order to visibly increase the success rate (no pun intended). If you are not planning on planting the seeds immediately, it's best to store them in a cool and dry place, such as your fridge, until you are ready to plant them. Don't worry, you can store them for months without any risk.

 

For the best results, start growing the seeds indoors in March or April and be sure to expose the plant to a lot of light.

 

  • Tip #1
Adjust the distance between the lamp light and the soil to increase or decrease temperature - keeping in mind the ideal values mentioned above. It is highly recommended that you use highly permeable soil to grow the seeds in (for further advice, visit your local garden center). If you water the plant frequently and keep the soil moist at all times, you should see favorable results after about one to two weeks.

Keep feeding the plant in this manner for another two weeks or so, then cut the amount of light exposure in half. Continue on this rhythm until the plant is about 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 cm) in length. You can then move the plant to a bigger pot to allow its roots more freedom. 

  • Tip #2
Place the plant inside behind a glass window oriented south. The glass will catch and amplify the warmth coming from the sunlight. You'll be ready for some great sugar free recipes before you know it!

Before moving your sweet leaf stevia plant outdoors, it's wise to harden it in order to familiarize the plant with a change in temperature conditions. Do this by moving it outdoors during the day, preferably to a sheltered area. Leave it there until nightfall, and when the temperature drops too low (try not to go below 45°F/7°C), move it back inside the house. Keep doing this every day for about a week before moving the stevia plant outside permanently. For more tips, be sure to also check out the page on growing your sweet leaf through stevia plant cuttings.




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