Stevia is a natural alternative to sugar.
image by Akajos: Flickr.com
Stevia is a natural sugar substitute that can be used immediately for baking, or ground and stored for later use. Stevia is considered to be one of the harder herbs to grow. However, the growing process is very similar to growing tomatoes. Stevia grows well as an indoor potted plant, but can also be transplanted outside with the proper care. Avoid watering the leaves of your stevia plant.
Fill your plastic flats with potting soil. Press two seeds into each section of your flat.
Spread just enough soil over your seeds to barely cover them, and water them just enough to moisten the soil.
Add about 1/4 inch of water in the tub under the flat. Cover the flat with a dome cover, and water your stevia every four to six days by adding 1/4 inch of water underneath the flat.
Turn on a grow light and keep it on while your plants germinate. Check the soil each day to make sure it is moist. If not, add more water underneath the flat.
Remove the dome cover when the seedlings begin to appear. Begin turning the grow light off at night so the plants only get 14 hours of light a day.
Inspect each section of your tray to find the strongest seedling. Remove the other seedling.
Transplant your stevia after eight weeks of sowing the seeds. Stevia can be transplanted in a 6-inch plant pot, or outside. Acclimatize your plant if you are transplanting it outside by setting the flat outside each day and bringing it in at night for a week.
Pop each root ball out of the flat individually. Dig a hole in the soil large enough for the root ball, then cover the roots with a mound of dirt. Space the plants 8 inches apart. Water the soil directly, and avoid wetting the leaves. Water your stevia just enough to keep the soil moist.
Fertilize your stevia with seaweed fertilizer. In the fall, dig up the plants to bring indoors for the winter.