How to Plant Stevia


The stevia plant is native to Paraguay and Brazil, and was used by the Guarani Indians for centuries to sweeten mate tea. Stevia is used as a substitute for sugar. It's up to 30 times sweeter than sugar, and it is popular for use by diabetics because it doesn't change insulin levels in the body. Stevia often is grown from stem cuttings because there is only a 10 percent chance of the seeds being viable enough to grow.

Step 1

Cut a 2-inch long piece of shoot from a stevia plant in the fall. Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.

Step 2

Dip the cut part of the stem in rooting hormone. Fill a peat pot with rich and loamy potting soil. Bury half of the cutting in the soil. Make sure none of the leaves on the cutting touch the soil surface.

Step 3

Cover the planted cutting with a plastic bag to raise the humidity. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy each day. Place the plant under a grow light for 12 to 16 hours a day.

Step 4

Transplant the stevia in the spring once the soil temperature reaches at least 65 degrees F and all danger of frost has passed. Choose an area that gets full sun.

Step 5

Add about 2 inches of compost to the soil and mix it evenly through the top 6 inches of soil. Stevia prefers soil that is rich in organic matter. Apply a low-nitrogen garden fertilizer such as 6-24-24 at half the rate recommended on your package. Make sure the soil is well-drained.

Step 6

Dig a hole in the garden area that is large enough to set your peat pot into so that the base of the plant is even with the surface of the soil. Cover the peat pot with soil. Pat down the soil around the base of the plant.

Step 7

Space each plant 18 inches apart in rows that are 22 inches apart.

Step 8

Water the stevia plants enough to keep the soil moist but not soggy. Water the plants lightly each day to keep the soil moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Stevia plant or cutting
  • Root hormone
  • Peat pots
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic bag
  • 6-24-24 fertilizer


  • Kansas State University: Grower's Guide to Stevia
  • Stevia: Growing Stevia
  • Purdue University: Seed Germination in Stevia

Who Can Help

  • USA Gardener: Growing Stevia
  • Stevia Canada: Growing and Harvesting
  • Stevia: Growing Your Own Stevia
Keywords: growing stevia, planting herbs, sugar substitutes

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.