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PlantFiles: Stevia, Sweet Herb of Paraguay
Stevia rebaudiana

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Stevia (STEV-ee-uh) (Info)
Species: rebaudiana (re-bawd-ee-AH-nuh) (Info)

Synonym:Eupatorium rebaudianum

15 vendors have this plant for sale.

89 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year
Blooms repeatedly

Grown for foliage

Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From woody stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
By air layering

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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19 positives
4 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive jaypb On Sep 9, 2013, jaypb from Central Manchester, CT wrote:

I planted Stevia in several locations about 4 years ago here in CT (z6). The one planted about 2 feet south of the house has come up every summer since planting and spread into a small clump. I think as long as the ground doesn't freeze it can survive as a perennial.

Positive Joy2Foragers On Aug 24, 2012, Joy2Foragers from Holden Heights, FL wrote:

Grows well in sun or part shade, but deep shade will either make it weak and spindly, or kill it. Where we live, it dies down in winter, then comes back up in late spring. Bees and wasps love the flowers- I counted seven different species visiting my stevia patch this year!

Positive valdev On May 29, 2012, valdev from Boise, ID (Zone 6b) wrote:

Here in Boise, Idaho, I am officially in Zone 5, though we have warmed up to Zone 6 or even 7 over the past several years. We live on a hillside in the foothills, on a south facing slope, with alkaline, clayey soil. My husband and I planted Stevia last summer, expecting it to be an annual in this zone. Imagine our surprise when it came back this summer, after a mild-ish winter with little snow to cover the plants. We did not cover the stevia with mulch, not expecting it to survive at all. And there's no mistaking the flavor of those leaves! We also never fertilized it. Heck, we did nothing right, according to the directions. Yet, here it is... ready for another round.

Neutral Wolfspud On May 5, 2012, Wolfspud from Denver, CO wrote:

I just bought this plant and am wondering how to grow it. Has anyone had success with it in Denver? It apparently likes humidity, which we lack, but doesn't like overwatering. No problem, we're having a drought. While full sun is usually recommended, I'm afraid it will fry in our high altitude sun. Part shade may be a better option? Please comment if you are from a sunny, DRY climate. Thanks!

Positive Jibarito7 On Feb 21, 2012, Jibarito7 from Conway, FL wrote:

Grows nice in zone 9B. I've heard it'll die if allowed to flower so I always pinch it back. This natural sweetener is also hypotensive. I grow it to sweeten my yerba mate. The Guarani people have been doing so for centuries.

Positive daveman On Nov 8, 2010, daveman from Johnson City, TN wrote:

I bought a packet of seeds to the plant from Kmart and planted just one of them since there was only a very few in the packet.

It sprouted in only a couple of weeks, grew kind of slow in the beginning, but grows moderately fast as it matures.

I've eaten some fresh leaves right off the plant which tasted o.k. after they were chewed up a bit, but the dried, crumbled up leaves are WAY better IMO. They kind of reminded me of plain frosted flakes, but not crunchy. Delicious!

This grew very easily and I didn't do anything except give it water and a warm, sunny window with a support since it was kind of lanky.

Neutral lcosden On Jul 12, 2007, lcosden from Pawling, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I've heard that the plant dies after blooming. Can anyone verify this?

Positive renatelynne On Jul 30, 2006, renatelynne from Boerne new zone 30, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Grows easy, comes back every year after freezing down to the ground.

Positive prometeo21 On Jun 2, 2005, prometeo21 from Mayaguez, PR (Zone 11) wrote:

Its grows really well here in Puerto Rico. Its needs moist soil. If you expose the plant to full sun(keep the plant well watered) you will have lots of flowers and seeds otherwise you will get better and bigger leaves in medium shade. Propagates really easy from cuttings. Keep the cuttings moist in the shade until roots came out the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Seed are only good if you use them fresh (no more than one month old) I got about an 50% germination rate from fresh seeds and they germinate in about a week. I just pick the seeds and sow them the same day in a regular soil mix.

Positive junipersky On Feb 27, 2005, junipersky from Hereford, AZ wrote:

I grow this plant in zone 8a. We do get some hard freezes. I planted 2 in 2003, they die back in fall, we cut them down to about 2 or 3 inches, then they come back in spring. We have not mulched them. I love this plant!

Positive bbkoi On Oct 26, 2004, bbkoi from Hawesville, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This plant made it in Ky zone 6 .
In a mulched bed.Did not mulch over the plant.Just let it go and topped it for the seeds.The taste is as good as all have said.A little bit goes a long way.

Positive NatureWalker On May 28, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

Growing Stevia: Stevia rebaudiana

Description: Stevia is a tender perennial hardy in USDA Zones 9 and 10, or where temperatures do not fall below freezing. When grown as an annual, it reaches a height of 18-24 inches with bushy sideshoot growth. A native of South America, Stevia has been used as a natural sweetener for over 1500 years. Today, the remarkably sweet leaves are used as a sugar substitute throughout the world. Virtually calorie free, sweeteners made from Stevia do not raise blood sugar levels, and are generally safe for diabetics.

Parts used: Fresh and dried leaves.

Culture: Recommended indoor planting method: Start seeds 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Sow shallowly in a well-drained soil mix in flats at a temperature of 68-75F (20-24C). Transplant to 3" pots when seedlings are large enough to handle. Do not over-water. For bushier plants, pinch back growing tips every few weeks for the first 1-2 months after germination.

Outdoor planting: Stevia generally does not tolerate temperatures below 45F (9C). After all danger of frost has passed, transplant outside 12" apart. Stevia is also an ideal plant to grow in containers as a houseplant, or in the greenhouse. For container growing, choose a pot that is at least 14" across, and provide soil that is well-drained. Maintain even soil moisture, and provide shade in extreme heat.

Light/Soil/Water Requirements: Stevia performs best in average, well-drained soil in full sun. Avoid overuse of nitrogen-rich fertilizers, as they cause the plant to produce large leaves with little flavor. Do not over-water, especially when being grown as a container plant or when transplanting. In extreme southern areas and when growing in containers, afternoon shade may be need. (Fish Fertilizer)

Pest/Disease Problems: Carefully watch for any signs of insect damage to the leaf. Whiteflies and leafhoppers may pose problems.

Harvest: Pick in the morning and before flowering occurs for highest sugar content. Leaves may be harvested throughout the season once the plant has become established, with the main harvest occurring in September or October. Fresh or dried leaves are delicious in salads, sauces, and beverages. To dry, hang small bunches of stems in a well-ventilated, dry area out of direct sun. Dried leaves may be ground into powder for storage. Fresh leaves can be used to make a liquid sweetener by steeping one teaspoonful of dried leaves in one cup of boiling water for 5-10 minutes.

I also found a very good and reliable source for quality seeds before I had a chance to trade with for someone else, (other plants that she wanted); but I will still order some seeds to try and start during the winter months. But I can always count on 'their' seeds; they've never failed me yet, even ones that were up to 5 years old!
So if you'd like the name of the place; you can email me via my member page and I'll tell you the snail-mail and web-address.
I also bought a book on Stevia in anticipation of getting some live plants; good recipes , even how to make the extract. I'll see if I can get it up in the 'Books' section. BTW they like to sit in the window sill and watch the sun go by all day long.

Positive foodiesleuth On Apr 27, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

I was given a plant this past summer. Not sure how it happened, but all of a sudden it started to die. We thought we had lost it but left the dead sticks in the garden....a couple of weeks later, I noticed green leaves around the bottom of the brown sticks.....before we knew it, the plants had come back thicker than the original one.

This is my first experience with it, so still not sure how to treat it.

Thanks for the suggestions, and also for the idea of drying and grinding in a spice processor...!

Positive trex111 On Apr 26, 2004, trex111 from Canterbury, NH (Zone 4b) wrote:

I will be starting seeds this week and wondering if any of you out there have any hints starting these little buggars. Being a diabetic, my sugar eating days are over so I thought I would try stevia. Also, if lucky, a friends wife is now in Brazil getting more seeds for me, I hope. Any info would be appreciated...Thanks trex111

Positive countryhick On Mar 12, 2004, countryhick from Levant, ME wrote:

I have been growing this for at least 4 years now. I have grown it in the garden and in my south facing window during the winter months. I like it quite well in my herbal teas. It not only sweetens but also makes the tea seem thicker and go down more smoothly.

In the garden I have seen no pest problems. I have made cuttings and placed them in the garden. I just cut the pieces, placed them in a hole at least 4" deep. I then walk away and forget them. I get at least a 50% success rate that way. One cutting looked totally dead. It had no leaves left at all. It was nothing but a shriveled brown thing. A week or 3 later it started putting out a small leaf. It grew as big as the real transplants by the end of the summer.

When it is past frost I have put it in my south facing window. I do NOT give it any fertilizer. I water it when I remember sometimes after it has started to droop. I NEVER give it any artificial light. Maine has very short winter days but it grows just fine. I usually cut off all the branches but 2 or 3. I dry the rest. In 1-4 weeks ( never checked precisely) all kinds of little branches are reaching for the light and the plant is doing very well. Then I cut off the last of the original branches. By spring it is almost as fully grown as it was during the summer outside. I need to cut it down again (march 11) so I can get some small cuttings for my extra plants for the garden.

Positive calibash On Dec 31, 2003, calibash from Toronto, ON wrote:

Out of 100 seeds I started in the summer, only about 10 germinated (wet paper towel method). 0% germination direct in soil.

I grew one of my plants in a hydroponics unit with my lettuce, and it began to flower! I have about 50+ seeds, and will try to get those going in the spring.

I cut the flowered plant down to the base, and left it in the hydro setup while I started my peppers. Well, it decided to grow... and I mean very bushy and very fast!!

I think in about a month, I'll have enough leaves to make a nice concentrate, and that should last me the winter.

Positive great2Bme On Dec 26, 2003, great2Bme from Detroit, MI (Zone 6a) wrote:

Zone 6 - Plant stevia in a container that can be moved indoors for winter. Sink container in ground during late spring. In fall,as frost approaches, bring container indoors for an hour at a time for several days. Increase to several hours for a few days. Then bring in overnight and take out during the day until the first frost. Plants will thrive up to three years using this method.While indoors, keep evenly moist and away from direct dry heat sources.

Positive bagpypr On Dec 26, 2003, bagpypr from Redlands, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

Stevia is a perennial shrub that grows to 1 m tall and has leaves 2-3 cm long. There are about 200 species of Stevia all native to South America. It is estimated to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is a non-caloric, natural sweetener that studies prove lower blood pressure and regulates heartbeat. It has also demonstrated itself to be antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antiyeast as well as retards the formation of dental plaque. In 1991 the FDA banned the import of Stevia into the country because it was an open threat to the profit margins of the "sweetener giants". The ban was lifted in 1995 and it is now sold as a "dietary supplement". Great with Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguaiensis).

Positive TerriFlorida On Oct 1, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I am growing Stevia and also what was bought as Lippia and turns out to be Phyla, a verbena relative. (This info is from Cornucopia, a huge book of edible plants.) Both are used as sugar substitutes, and are particularly useful to diabetics with sweet tooths. Mine are young but both are doing pretty well in about 6 hours of sun and manure-enriched dirt. Both have small white flowers. Both have very sweet leaves. Stevia is definitely the sweetest. The Phyla has mint textured leaves and is less sweet, so you get more 'green leaf' taste from them. I live in 9b and hope these overwinter. Oh, Stevia was trying to be upright but has now started scrambling around. The Phyla grows like a prostrate Verbean but not as densely. If they make seeds, I'll never see them, being hard of seeing, so to speak. Sorry, seed hunters!

Neutral suncatcheracres On Sep 20, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I would like to grow this plant as the tincture can be quite expensive--I believe I have paid $14.00 an ounce for stevia tincture in a small, brown eyedropper bottle. I'm glad to learn the leaves themselves can be used as a sweetener, and that it can be grown in my zone 8b, or even in a greenhouse, so I will be on the lookout for some seeds.

Positive Janiejoy On Sep 17, 2003, Janiejoy from Silver Lake, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is an herb that works as an annual in zone 5b. It doesn't take any special babying and produces plenty of leaves to keep things sweet all winter.

Mine did not flower this year so no seed.

Positive welshherblady On Sep 15, 2002, welshherblady from Isle of Anglesey,North Wales
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

We have grown Stevia rebaudiana in our greenhouse for two years. The plants like warmth and quite a bit of watering. If "pinched out" the plant becomes much bushier, thus making more large leaves which are the part harvested for drying and using as a sugar substitute.

The powder is VERY sweet and takes time to adjust to the correct amounts to use. One of the great secrets of the modern age! The leaves are dried in my excalibur dehydrator (which is excellent for drying herbs!) and then chopped up in a processor, sieved and put into an airtight conatiner and labeled with name and date.

Neutral mystic On Aug 14, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

A slender creeping tender perennial grown as an annual. It's a 1 1/2 to 2 tall herb with small, non-showy, white tubular flowers. Stems are long, flattened and twisted with small grey green rounded leaves.The sweet leaves are used as sugar substitute.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

, (2 reports)
Jones, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Pelham, Alabama
Wedowee, Alabama
Congress, Arizona
Glendale, Arizona
Hereford, Arizona
Atascadero, California
Boulder Creek, California
Ceres, California
Citrus Heights, California
Fairfield, California
Merced, California
Manchester, Connecticut
Bradley, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Hollywood, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Longwood, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Orlando, Florida (2 reports)
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Venice, Florida
Vero Beach, Florida
Hazlehurst, Georgia
Tiger, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Boise, Idaho
Melbourne, Kentucky
Independence, Louisiana
Slaughter, Louisiana
Levant, Maine
Cumberland, Maryland
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Marietta, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Saint Louis, Missouri
Princeton Junction, New Jersey
Albany, New York
Deposit, New York
Syracuse, New York
Kure Beach, North Carolina
Miami, Oklahoma
Jessup, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Lincoln, Rhode Island
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Hendersonville, Tennessee
Johnson City, Tennessee
Amarillo, Texas
Austin, Texas
Baytown, Texas
Beaumont, Texas
Belton, Texas
Boerne, Texas
De Leon, Texas
Houston, Texas (2 reports)
San Antonio, Texas
Willis, Texas
American Fork, Utah
Midlothian, Virginia
Newport News, Virginia
Kalama, Washington
Kirkland, Washington
Shepherdstown, West Virginia

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