How to Grow Malaysian Stevia


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

Step 1

Mix the soil in a sunny spot with one third of its volume of organic compost before you plant your stevia in spring.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Fertilize your stevia with a low nitrogen fertilizer, according to the website This site adds that organic fertilizers, such as compost, are good for stevia because they release nitrogen slowly.

Step 6

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.

Tips and Warnings

  • The U. S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved stevia for inclusion in prepared foods. Consumers in Japan, however, have used it since the 1980s and no toxicity or adverse health effects have been reported. Do not over water stevia because the roots can rot, causing the plant to die.

Things You'll Need

  • Bedding plant(s)
  • Organic compost
  • Shovel
  • Wood chips
  • Low nitrogen fertilizer


  • Stevia Café: What is Stevia?
  • Stevia Café: Dangers of Stevia
  • Growing Stevia
Keywords: stevia Malaysia, sugar substitutes, sweet herbs

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.