I tried posting this question in the Seed Germination forum and got no response. Maybe no one knew what it was??? Though I try posting this here...
I don't know if anyone has successfully germinated stevia(sweet herb). I've tried twice and both times they were duds. Any advice? Maybe it's hard to germinated from seed and I just need to purchase the plant?? I need to know if I should buy more seeds or just buy a plant instead. The seeds packets are more expensive and have fewer seeds. So any advice here would be helpful. Thanks.
It's hard to germinate the seed. I've had maybe 10% germination using the damp coffee filter in baggie method. The seedlings grow verrrrrry slowly at first, also... I think if I grew it again I would just buy a plant!
I've recently discovered "Aztec Sweet Herb," http://davesgarden.com/pf/go/94022/, which I think I like better than Stevia. It sure looks like it's producing seeds (although PF only has notes about vegetative propagation), so I'll play with it and see if I can figure out the best way to make more plants from it. Every kid (and most adults!) who nibbles a leaf wants one.
We'll see if it changes as the plant matures, but so far the fresh leaves have had less of a resiny or "green" flavor than my stevia had. I've put it in tea, and it was good. I think somebody mentioned that stevia is better used as a sweetener when dried and powdered, whereas Lippia is good fresh. I'll keep playing with it... :-)
Sometime I roughly chop mint leaves for tea, and I may do the same with the Lippia leaves... seems easier than trying to bruise them. I brew up a pitcher of Lipton's iced tea, and then I take a couple of handfuls of mint, sweet herb, lemon verbena, whatever appeals to me and brew that up in about 2 cups of hot water, letting it steep for no longer than 5 minutes before adding it to the pitcher of tea.
Yeah.. I've seen stevia plant only twice and when I get around to ordering them, they'd tell me they don't carry it anymore. Then I saw stevia seeds at Park Seeds. I got those immediately thinking that they'd be easy to germinate like every other seed that I've ever tried. Nope. Think I'll just get the plant now that I know it's difficult to germinate.
I do know that had it on a heat mat and it poked it's green head out before it turn yellowish-brown and wilted. So, I'm not sure what I did wrong there but that happened both times.
Now, I'm curious about the Aztec sweet herb.
As for Stevia, I heard that the best way to use it is to boil the leaves to extract the sweetner and let the sweetened liquid into powder crystal. Supposedly that removes any green plant taste. But that's just stuff that I read.
Well, newest update. My last batch of stevia seeds have keel over too now. Poked out two little tiny green leaves and promptly wilted. AGHHHHHHH. That was my third try. Now I'm out of seeds. But I'm seeing postings on how it's much easier to root cutting. Maybe I can impose on someone's innate kindness to toss me a cutting or two (in case I kill one)...
That sounds like damping off... if you try again with more seeds, I'd suggest sterilizing your seed starting mix (in the microwave, with plenty of water to moisten it) and/or adding chamomile tea or hydrogen peroxide (1 Tablespoon of 3% per quart) to your water... look for threads on "damping off" over in propagation...
rparrny, yeah... I'm gonna just buy a plant instead... I heard that the plant dies after bloom. I still haven't found a definitive answer on that.. I was gonna just buy one and see what happens.. I also read that each plant is different in sweetness. Guess, I'll only be able to tell when I get one..
I heard that cuttings are the easiest way to go. And I also read that the sweetness to each plant is different. Some can be sweeter and others can be more bitter than sweet. There's some other people that say has too much "green flavor." Base on the plant that can vary... And if you like your plant, it must be sweet. I would love that. Thanks.
Hi - I recently read that there is a perennial stevia as well as the more familiar annual. By the way, if a plant dies after blooming, keep removing the flowers; that keeps it from thinking it's time to die.
The two stevias might have been at tradewindsfruit.com. I'll check when I'm not half asleep.
I thought stevia was a perennial by definition, but a tender perennial -- which is why some people grow it as an annual. I've heard it can get fairly large as an indoor container plant... but I got tired of the slow and spindly growth of the couple of plants I actually managed to germinate from seed, so they're long gone.
Well, I got my paws on a stevia. It's sweet alright.. :) And it's trying to flower here.. I was told that taking the flowers off don't keep it from dying. And Critter's right. It's a tender perennial that's why some thinks it's an annual and others a perennial. It all depends on where you live. Like in Mexico, got a good chance it'd behave like a perennial but here in NY, it's an annual.. I'm trying cuttings indoors. Hopefully it'll take so I have a new baby one next year..
Mulberry Creek has stevis rebaudiana doesn't say if it's annual or perrenial. Tradewindsfruit has stevia lucida which it says is the "lesser known perenial." I haven't grown either so I'm only reporting what they say.
My Stevia rebaudiana is sweet, and does seem to be perennial. I've been putting it in my greenhouse for the last 4 years. The gh is cool, can get down to just above freezing in the middle of winter on cold nights. It dies to the ground and comes back as soon as it starts warming up towards spring. I took the flowers off to bring it inside. Not because they seem to make a difference. Although the plants get a bit leggy when they're in bloom. I let it go to seed last year. But it's much easier to grow from cuttings than from seed. So I'd rather keep it cut back and have bigger leaves. I usually take cuttings from new growth in the spring. I have several diabetic friends that swear by this plant. My little plants are usually rooted and potted by May. If you think of it then and want to trade I'll put it on a trading list in spring.
I take tip cuttings from active new growth. Just long enough to have a couple of leaf nodes above the soil and a couple below. Use a soil-less potting mix (don't use miracle grow-get a peat based mix without additives-I use a professional mix called LC1 or sunshine mix) in a small celled tray. A very small pot or 4 pkg. would work. Sometimes you can get your local greenhouse to sell/or give you a propagation tray. I've found if the pot is too large the cuttings may rot. I don't use rooting hormone on this plant, it isn't necessary. The hormone can actually be detrimental with some plants (i.e. coleus & pelargoniums). Place the cutting in the soil so that 2 leaf nodes are covered. At home you can tent the tray with plastic or put the pot in a plastic baggy to maintain humidity. I us dome covers or mist the cuttings. Just remember they need some air circulation so you don't get mildew or fungus started. To speed rooting I have heat mats under my propagation trays. But they'll root fine without one. Make sure they have plenty of light. A south window or plant light. The cuttings I do in a window I turn regularly so they don't lean towards the light and get leggy. Stevia roots in 2 to 3 weeks for me. They can stay in the small cells quite awhile. I bump them up into 3.5" pots when they're well rooted. I start feeding them a liquid fertilizer or fish emulsion after they're well rooted. Pinch them back as they grow for a fuller plant.
My stevia died late last summer. I just cut it back to the ground and it seems to be coming back. I haven't tasted it yet to make sure those little leaves are stevia, but I will soon. (I'm very brave when it comes to tasting plants, but very ready to spit, too.) Of course, I border on tropical here.
Hi stevia fanciers. This is my first year growing it from seed. I was perpared for the long germination. But so far these little guys are up faster then my peppers did. And I had my peppers on top of heat pads.
When I bought my seeds I also got a nice little booklet that tells everything about stevia "Growing and Using Stevia" The Sweet Leaf from Garden to Table by Jeffrey Goettemoeller & Karen Lucke.
You can get both seeds and book at Heirloom Acres Seeds , they give lots of seeds in a pack too. Heres their link, very nice people
Just to note -- I tasted that stevia that came back up and oooooooooo it's sweet! The pineapple sage beside it is coming back as well, and should shade it from the worst of the direct sun, so hopefully I'll have it at least all summer. I have a couple of recipes for sweetener and will make some -- next time I make lemonade I'll use it instead of sugar. If it's any good, I'll post a recipe!
If you're talking about Lippia dulcis, it's probably dead. It's perennial to zones 9-11. It can be grown as a houseplant, but I've never had a lot of luck keeping it going through the winter indoors. I put it in my greenhouse last fall, won't do that again, just to cold for it here. Will have to get a new plant this spring. This time I'll keep it in the house and try again.
This is year 5 for my Stevia! It looks pretty dead through the winter and then all of a sudden it starts sending up new growth. It's gotten larger each year. Right now the new shoots are only about a inch tall. But it's in my greenhouse which is still going down below 40degrees at night. A little taller and I can take cuttings! Sure wish spring would get here...seems like winter is going on forever here!