Stevia cultivation in the garden
The healthy sugar substitute Stevia has now also been approved in Europe. Find out how to grow this popular plant at home in your garden or on your balcony here.
Since its approval in 2011, the sugar plant from South America has enjoyed an enormous increase in demand. In the meantime, more and more nurseries are adding the calorie-free stevia plant to their assortment, because despite its origin, it also thrives in our latitudes without any problems. Read here what the stevia plant demands and what you need to know about its care.
Which location is suitable for cultivation?
The perennial stevia plant is ideal as a potted plant on terraces and balconies, as it prefers a bright, warm and above all sunny location. The plants thrive particularly well in greenhouses. Here they can also be planted all year round.
However, if you want to put your plant in the garden, you should only plant it there from June to autumn and then replant it in a frost-free area. Otherwise, the Stevia plant will not be able to survive the winter. In pots, the plant generally thrives less abundantly than in the open.
For smaller Stevia plants, a sunny windowsill is ideal.
How do I care for the Stevia plant?
Even though the Stevia plant likes it moist, waterlogging should be avoided at all costs, as this can lead to root rot. A constant alternation between dryness and wetness is the optimal growth condition.
During the wintering period it is important to leave the plant alone and only water it moderately if absolutely necessary. During these months, the Stevia plant needs some kind of recovery phase and also requires little light.
This phase is also called the vegetation phase and lasts until next spring (approximately until March). Visually, the Stevia rebaudiana virtually dies during this period. Therefore, you can cut the plant back by about 5 centimeters. This resting period of several months means that the plant is less susceptible to disease all year round.
The harvest of Stevia leaves
Stevia harvesting is similar to that of basil. Only the shoot tips are separated. For further use, the leaf can be put directly into a glass of tea, for example, or dried individually and then used as a sweetener.
Caution:The sweetness of a single Stevia leaf is sufficient to sweeten a cup of tea.