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How to Grow Stevia Plant: A Natural Sweetener

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Did you know you can grow the stevia plant? To hose that have grown a stevia plant, this may seem like an odd question. However, you won’t believe how many people that I talk to that didn’t know you could grow stevia. Or that stevia is actually green!

For just a fraction of the cost of buying the white stevia powder, you can grow your own stevia plant, a natural sweetener, at home. No garden needed, stevia makes a great container plant too!


As people increasingly seek natural and healthier alternatives to processed sugar, stevia has emerged as a popular, low-calorie sweetener that you can easily grow yourself.

Cultivating stevia at home is not only feasible but also immensely rewarding, offering a fresh and readily available source of sweetness right from your home or garden.

Let’s walk through how to nurture this plant, addressing some commonly asked questions along the way.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Stevia from Seed?

Starting stevia from seed requires patience due to its slow germination process.

Typically, stevia seeds take between 14 to 21 days to sprout under optimal conditions, which should include warm temperatures and consistent moisture.

After they germinate, the seedlings grow relatively quickly. You should transplant them outdoors once they are sturdy and after the risk of frost has passed.

For an early start, sow your seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost.

We have another article that can guide you on When To Start Seeds For Your Garden.

Is Stevia Plant Hard to Grow?

Although I would like to say I spend hours in the garden each day, I’d be lying. The truth is, I’m an impatient gardener. I like things that grow fast and take little effort. Stevia falls into both of those categories for me.

Growing stevia might seem daunting, but it’s quite straightforward if you provide the right conditions.

Stevia plants thrive in loamy, well-drained soil and need a good amount of sunlight—aim for at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily.

They also require regular watering to keep the soil moist but not soggy, especially in dry weather.

Stevia grows best in warm conditions but can adapt to cooler climates if you bring the plants indoors during the winter.

growing stevia plant in a pot

Can I Grow Stevia at Home?

Definitely! Whether you have a spacious garden or just a modest balcony for container gardening, you can successfully grow stevia.

In a garden, choose a sunny spot with rich, well-drained soil for your stevia plants.

For container gardening, opt for pots at least 12 inches deep and wide, filled with a high-quality potting mix to ensure proper drainage.

Feed your plants regularly with a balanced fertilizer to maintain their health. I’ve used Neptune’s Harvest Organic Hydrolized Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer for years with great results.

Encourage a bushier, more productive growth by pinching back the tips of the plants, focusing on areas where the leaves—your natural sweetener—are most concentrated.

Whether you aim to reduce your sugar intake or simply enjoy the process of growing your own herbs, stevia is an excellent choice that promises both practical benefits and gardening pleasure.

planting stevia in the garden

Does Stevia Plant Grow Back Every Year?

Stevia is a tender perennial, meaning it can regrow for multiple seasons under the right conditions.

In areas with mild winters, it’s possible for stevia to survive outdoors all year.

In colder regions, you may need to replant it annually or move it inside to avoid frost damage.

When we lived in South Carolina by the ocean, we were able to keep our plant for several years. However, when we moved to Tennessee, it did not come back the second year. Of course, we didn’t do anything special to protect it from the elements that year either.

With attentive care and protection from harsh weather, a stevia plant can flourish and produce sweet leaves for several years.

When Is The Best Time To Harvest Stevia?

when to harvest stevia

Although you can pick a handful of stevia leaves at any time during the growing season.

The best time to harvest stevia leaves is when the plant reaches its peak in sweetness, which typically occurs just before it begins to flower.

Here are some guidelines to help you determine the optimal time for harvesting:

  1. Timing in the Season: Stevia plants usually bloom in late summer or early fall, depending on the climate. The ideal time to harvest the leaves is late summer, just before the plant flowers. This is when the concentration of steviosides (the compound that gives stevia its sweetness) is highest in the leaves.
  2. Time of Day: Harvest stevia leaves in the morning after the dew has dried but before the sun is at its strongest. This helps ensure that the leaves are fresh and retain their natural oils and sweetness.
  3. Plant Maturity: Stevia should be at least 3 months old and well-established before you begin harvesting leaves. This allows the plant to grow robustly and ensures a higher yield of leaves.
  4. Frequency: You can perform multiple harvests in one growing season. After the initial harvest, allow the plant to regrow and you can usually get another harvest in a few weeks’ time.
  5. Method: When harvesting, cut the branches off the plant, leaving about 4-6 inches of the stem from the base to encourage regrowth. You can pluck individual leaves or cut whole stems if you need a large amount.

To use the leaves, you can dry them and grind them into a powder, or use them fresh directly into teas and other beverages.

Drying the leaves is a common method to store and use stevia over time, as dried stevia leaves can retain their sweetness for several years when stored properly.

Stevia Plant Extract

Once your stevia plant is well-established, you can use the fresh leaves as needed, dehydrate the leaves and turn into a powder, or you can make your own stevia extract!

Discover the sweet, natural benefits of homemade stevia extract and learn how to create your own with our easy guide—continue reading for our recipe, How To Make Stevia Extract, to unlock the secrets of this sugar-free alternative!

How to grow stevia plant: a natural sweetener

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