Stevia is a sweet herb that is sometimes called sugarleaf. It’s native to Central and South America but is cultivated commercially in Malaysia and other countries. The website Stevia Café reports that this herb is 100 times sweeter than sugar, has no calories and has long been used in its native regions with no reported negative side effects. The fastest, easiest way to grow stevia is from bedding plants, which you should be able to find at local nurseries that have a large selection of herb plants.
Growing Malaysian Stevia
Mix the soil in a sunny spot with one third of its volume of organic compost before you plant your stevia in spring.
Dig a planting hole slightly larger than the root system of your plant. Set your plant or plants into their planting holes about 18 inches apart and then fill the hole with additional soil/compost.
Water thoroughly, until the soil is saturated. After your first watering, wait about one week before you water again. Check the soil by poking your finger into it about 2 inches deep—if it feels dry or slightly dry, saturate the soil again.
Spread mulch consisting of wood chips or other organic material over the soil surface at least 2 inches deep before the warmest months of summer arrive.
Fertilize your stevia with a low nitrogen fertilizer, according to the website stevia.net. This site adds that organic fertilizers, such as compost, are good for stevia because they release nitrogen slowly.
Prune flowering tops when they appear to encourage bushiness. The flowertops are fine to use to sweeten teas and recipes. In fall, before your first frost, cut your plant back to within 4 inches of the ground.