Stevia-leaf is a sweet herb that is native to Paraguay and Brazil. Stevia has become very popular because it is a natural sweetener with no calories. Stevia natural sweetener has been used for hundreds of years in its native countries. Stevia leaves are much sweeter than regular sugar and it is the perfect alternative to sugar or chemical based artificial sweetener.
It is a perfect plant for a patio-container garden because it is very easy to grow and maintain. Stevia can be grown indoors or out.
Choose an area for planting Stevia-seeds or stevia-plants. If you live in a warm climate that has no frost, you can plant Stevia in a patio-container and let it grow outdoors year round. If you live in an area that has a frost, the stevia-plant will die. stevia-plants are not cold hardy. In cold climates Stevia that is planted in a patio-container should be brought inside before a frost or treated as an annual plant. Stevia grown inside should be placed near a sunny door or window for a continued supply of sweetener throughout the year.
Choose an area to plant it that gets a lot of sun. Stevia loves the heat and sun, its' native countries are also warm and sunny.
Add potting soil to your container or add compost to your existing garden soil. Stevia is very hardy and will grow in many types of soil so you do not be overly concerned about soil types. Your patio-container should be at least 10" in diameter and 6" deep.
Plant it in a patio-container by itself. stevia-plants require good air circulation so don't crowd the plants. Do not plant several stevia-plants in one container because overcrowding will cause the plants to die.
Water Stevia when the soil feels dry to the touch. Do not allow the soil to dry out completely because your stevia-plant will wither away and die.
Prune your stevia-plants regularly. Snip off flowers to encourage Stevia leaf growth.
Feed your stevia-plants every 4 weeks with nutrients from your compost pile.
Wash Stevia-leaves and add them to beverages such as iced tea or hot tea. Stevia is much sweeter than regular sugar. Begin by adding a little Stevia leaf to you beverage and increase the amount to determine how much you need based on your own personal preference.
Never use pesticides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers or other chemicals on your stevia-plants. Chemicals will be left behind on a plant that you will ingest. Choose natural insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers.