Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) or Stevia, a biennial sweet, honey grass is a herbaceous perennial shrub of the Astera family (Clumpy). Its homeland is considered to be South and Central America.
In 1887, the South American naturalist Antonio Bertoni was first discovered by Stevia in Paraguay. Then she became known in Europe. Stevia was brought to Russia by Academician N.I. Vavilov from the expedition to Latin America.
Stevia is used in traditional medicine. Currently, this plant has become widely known as a dietary supplement for weight loss and a sugar substitute for diabetics. The plant contains rebaudiosides and stevioside, the sweetness of which is 300 times higher than the usual sugar from sugar beets and cane.
Stevia is a fairly affordable plant. It can be grown at home or in your backyard.
Stevia Herb Description
This herbaceous, abundantly branched semishrub in height reaching 0.8-1 meters. Leaves paired. Their length is 2-3 centimeters. Root system developed. Stevia blooms in small white flowers.
Stevia contains more than 100 phytochemicals. It is rich in stevioside, terpenes and flavonoids. Stevioside contained in the leaves is 10-18 times higher than the sweetness of regular sugar.
1 sheet or 1/4 teaspoon of crushed leaves replace 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Stevia also contains such sweet diterpene glycosides as: Dulcoside A, Rebaudioside AE, Steviol Bioside.
- trace elements, fiber, essential oils, polysaccharides, antioxidants (quercetin, rutin).
- minerals, such as: calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, magnesium, potassium, chromium and selenium.
- vitamins: groups B, A, C, E, P, D.
Conditions for growing stevia
Stevia is a subtropical plant growing at a temperature of + 24-25 degrees in a semi-humid climate. For growth and lush flowering of honey grass requires 140 millimeters of rain per year. It grows on loamy and sandy, acidic, moist, but not flooded soils. Saline soils and lowlands are not suitable for growing stevia.
To check the seeds for germination, they drop one by one into a glass of water. All seeds settled on the bottom are suitable for planting, floating on the surface are thrown away.
Proven seeds are soaked in warm water. Then they are dried on paper, after which you can begin to sow.
For this, plastic containers or cups are used. A mixture of 2 parts of garden soil, 1 part of rotted humus and 1 part of sand is poured into the container. Peat for planting stevia is better not to use. The soil mixture is stirred, calcined in the oven at a temperature of +100 degrees or spilled with a hot solution of potassium permanganate. After running off the water, you can start sowing.
Sowing is carried out in late March - early April. Seeds are sown superficially or laid out by 2 seeds in each well and lightly powdered with soil. The substrate is moistened from a spray bottle. Capacities are covered with glass or film and are removed in a warm place.
A phytolamp is placed next to the capacity with sowed seeds, which contributes to the rapid germination of seeds. Condensation that has accumulated on the glass or film is removed daily.
Seeds germinate very quickly, after 1-2 weeks the first shoots appear. After the germination of seedlings, daylight hours should be at least 15 hours, and the air temperature should be + 24-25 degrees.
The soil is moistened with seedlings as it dries out through the pallet. When 3-4 leaflets appear on the seedlings, the plants are seated in peat pots.
To transplant seedlings ready in 8-10 weeks. For growing at home, stevia is transplanted into a large pot, the volume of which is equal to 2 liters. The bottom is filled with two centimeters layer of drainage (fine gravel, pebbles, vermiculite).
Planting in open ground
Seedlings are better to replant in the evening or in cloudy weather. Landing is done in May or June, after the spring frosts pass and the air warms up to +15 degrees at night.
- Land for planting should be bright, protected from drafts and wind.
- The southern or western slopes with light, loamy or sandy soil with neutral acidity are best suited.
- On clay sites, river sand and humus are added, and clay and humus are introduced on sandy ones.
For the convenience of transplanting in open ground plants remain in peat pots. Landing is made at a distance of 40 centimeters from each other and 50 centimeters in between rows.
Each bush is deepened for 10-15 centimeters with a pot and sprinkled with earth. After planting, each plant is abundantly watered and covered with a trimmed plastic bottle or film, nonwoven fabric for a week.
Stevia care is to maintain moisture, loosening, weeding, dressing and pruning.
Watering should be regular. The soil is moistened as it dries. For better preservation of moisture, the soil around the plants is covered with a layer of organic mulch (sawdust, straw, needles). For irrigation, you need to take boiled or boiled water. Weeding and loosening the soil (in the absence of mulch) is carried out after each irrigation.
Complementary mineral and organic fertilizers (mullein infusion or rotted humus) are used as top-dressing stevia. Feeding alternates and is held every 2 weeks.
The only disease that can harm stevia is the black leg. It affects plants at the seedling stage. To avoid the disease, the soil during planting must be disinfected, in addition, we should not forget about the drainage. Watering should be frequent, but moderate.
Grown plants need pruning. When the planted plant is 20 centimeters high (approximately 4 months after sowing the seeds), the central stem is trimmed in the middle of the internode at a height of 5 centimeters from the top. Short shoots need to be shortened by 1/3 length, and long in 2 times. Bottom on the stems should be at least 3 leaves. Places cuts greased garden pitch.
Further pruning is done every six months. This procedure promotes tillering of the plant and the growth of new leaves.
Stevia is propagated by seeds and cuttings.
The properties of the mother plant when growing stevia from seeds may not be transmitted, which affects the sweetness of the leaves. To preserve the characteristics of stevia, you first need to grow seedlings. We must not forget to check the seeds for germination, otherwise the smaller part will sprout when sown. In addition, you must observe the temperature and humidity.
Every 3-4 years the bushes are updated by cutting the cuttings. Cuttings 5-15 centimeters long are cut from the tips of the shoots. They should be a few top leaves.
For planting is taken turf ground, sand, rotted humus and pots or boxes. Cuttings are planted in the ground and covered with film or glass.
When the air temperature is + 24-25 degrees and high humidity rooting occurs in 3-3.5 weeks. Rooted seedlings are transplanted into open ground, at night air temperature not lower than +15 degrees. Stevia also grows well in the home, as a houseplant in pots. In the northern areas it can be grown at home.
Wintering (at home)
In September, stevia needs to be cut, dug, and placed in a box with wet sand. Bushes on top are sprinkled with a layer of sand and sent to storage in the basement. You can also put honey grass in a pot and place it in a heated loggia, on a balcony, windowsill or in a greenhouse.
The western or eastern side is best for her. In the winter, it is necessarily illuminated by fitolampa.
Useful properties of stevia
If you compare stevia with other sugar substitutes, then it is the safest. It is less toxic and tastes good. It does not give side effects, has good tolerance. In addition, this plant can be grown independently at home or in the garden.
Stevia is useful in reduced immunity, blood diseases, diseases of the female and male genitalia, thyroid dysfunction, obesity of alimentary genesis, diseases of the oral cavity, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, diseases of the liver and biliary tract, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, pancreatitis, dispensary nervous system, skin diseases, including children's diathesis.
It normalizes high blood pressure, lowers blood sugar levels, reduce cravings for fatty foods, helps lose weight.
- When stevia is added to the mouthwash, it helps to improve oral health.
- Antibacterial properties of plants are used to treat skin diseases, small wounds.
- Infusion of stevia helps strengthen hair, smooth wrinkles, gives freshness to the face.
How to prepare stevia for the winter
Leaves are harvested at the beginning of flowering (3-4 months after sowing). The first leaves are removed, twisting inside. The stems are cut off at a distance of 5-6 centimeters from the ground. Collected leaves can be used fresh (stored in the refrigerator) or dried in a glass jar or paper bag. The leaves are dried in a ventilated, darkened place or electric dryer.
Harvested leaves are stored for up to 2 years. You can make powder from them by grinding them in a mortar and store it in a glass jar in a dark place.
To prepare the infusion, a thermos is taken, 20 grams of dry leaves are poured and filled with a glass of boiling water. Infused 12 hours. The resulting infusion is poured into a sterilized container. The remaining leaves are flooded again with half a glass of boiling water. Infused 8 hours. Infusions are combined and used instead of sugar. It is stored in the refrigerator for 7 days.
Infusion is used as a dietary supplement. It helps with obesity, gut disease, liver, kidney, thyroid gland. It is also effective in the form of compresses for wounds, rinsing with gingivitis, stomatitis and sore throat.
Cooked infusion boiled down to a state of syrup. It is added to many dishes by replacing sugar. Syrup is an excellent antiseptic. Stored in the refrigerator for 1 year.
Infusion of stevia and hypericum
10 grams of stevia powder and 30 grams of Hypericum, poured 200 ml of boiling water and infused for 2 hours. Strained infusion is divided into 3 doses and taken 3 times a day 20 minutes before meals with atherosclerosis, diabetes.
A teaspoon of dried leaves and 1/2 teaspoon of green tea should be poured over 200 milliliters of boiling water and infused for 5 minutes. Strain, add a leaf of mint and a slice of lemon. This tea strengthens the immune system, acts tonic.
Infusion of stevia and chamomile
1 teaspoon of stevia and 1 tablespoon of chamomile is poured with 1 cup of boiling water. Cools to 35 degrees, filtered and used as a syringe for thrush and dysbiosis of the vagina. You need to douche daily, in the morning for 10 days.
The consumption of sugar and meat products during this period should be reduced to a minimum. For the best effect, you can additionally drink tea from stevia.
20 grams of dry leaves of stevia poured 200 ml of alcohol and left for 24 hours in a warm place. Filtered and applied as a tonic.
Ulcers, boils, burns, injured areas should be powdered with dry stevia powder or crushed with fresh leaves for 30 minutes, then rinsed with warm water.
Growing honey stevia at home
Today's article is devoted to all those who prefer to see not only beautiful, but also useful plants at home or in the country. Is it possible to grow stevia at home, so that this famous inhabitant of southern latitudes pleases us with her juicy sweet leaves?
Of course, many gardeners have long been cultivating this grass, known for its taste and healing properties, on its window sills and summer cottages.
How to purchase stevia seeds
Since we will grow stevia directly from the seeds, it is worthwhile to find out in advance where to get them.
This plant belongs to the Astrovs or Compositae family, and despite the common opinion that only a small percentage of seeds germinate, stevia is cultivated in the northern countries very successfully, but more often as an annual plant.
Small seeds of stevia — only 0.5 mm wide and 4 mm long — are easy to purchase from the online store and receive by mail.
On specialized sites you can find different packaging and, accordingly, meet a large range of prices for this plant. The minimum number of seeds in one package is 7-10 pieces with a guarantee of a high percentage of germination.
Today, the questions of where and how to purchase stevia seeds are no longer worth it - order an exotic plant and receive it by mail!
How to sow the seeds of stevia
Most often, it is recommended to purchase stevia seedlings that have already grown, especially if there is no experience of growing plants from seeds - this method is considered more reliable.
But if you want to try your hand, then it's time to find out what you should pay special attention to when planting this grass with seeds.
Selection of stevia seeds
To sow stevia with a maximum percentage of germination, we select the material by the method of windage, that is, simply release each seed and see how it falls.
- If quickly and strictly down - the seed is good.
- If it turns and turns over, it is better not to plant it, it most likely will not give rise to shoots.
What land to use for sowing stevia
Soil for the successful cultivation of stevia should consist of black soil and humus in a ratio of 3: 1.
- If the soil seems too clayy, add sand.
- The ideal will be loam with compost.
- It is also possible to purchase ready-made soil, since the surface corvus of stevia is very sensitive to various foreign inclusions.
Before planting (we produce it in the middle of March), we moisten the seeds with warm water and lay them on a clean cloth or paper until it is completely dry.
Because of their small size, it’s not worth covering up, i.e., covering seeds after planting. Simply lay out stevia on the surface of a moist soil, sprinkle with water and cover with plastic wrap, a slice of a plastic bottle or a glass jar of suitable diameter.
From time to time we moisten the soil by spraying and keep it in a well-lit place in a warm place - the temperature should not fall below 22-25 ° C. In such favorable conditions, the seeds germinate within 5-7 days.
We finish sowing stevia no later than mid-May.
Honey Grass Seedlings
When the first shoots appear under the film or can, pay attention that weeds are not among them. It will be easy to distinguish them from stevia seedlings: the latter grow very slowly and are very small.
If all the seeds have risen and it seems that they grow too often, we should dive them through one. We transplant young plants into separate dishes with the same soil composition, so that they are well established.
If we do not plan to grow stevia in the open field, we plant sprouts right away in a wide, shallow pot, since the root system of this herb, as we remember, is superficial and grows in breadth.
The resulting seedlings are best to dive at the age of 2 months either in the greenhouse or in the pots - for many, it is more convenient to monitor the plant's microclimate.
Just remember that in this case the pot should be prepared in advance and designed for an adult plant.
Seated seedlings are also covered with a can or a plastic bottle to create the optimal level of heat and humidity.
When planting seedlings of plants in open ground
Planting in open ground is allowed not earlier than the middle or even the end of June, so that the temperature of the soil is 10-15 ° C, not less.
In addition, two weeks before the intended planting, stevia seedlings need to begin to harden. To do this, we open the one and a half month plants and put them into the open air, first for a couple of hours, gradually increasing the “airing” time.
After the seedlings become accustomed to be outside the shelter throughout the day, transplant them into open ground. With such preparation to grow stevia in the country will not be so difficult, despite its low frost resistance.
Transplanting stevia from open ground
In late August and early September, plants will need to be dug up and transplanted into a pot and put into a greenhouse or brought into a house, since the minimum temperature at which the plant does not die is 4 ° C heat.
If you have plans to keep the grass alive during the winter and return it to the open ground at the beginning of summer, you should not risk it - we remove stevia from drafts and frosts much earlier.
We monitor the PH indicator: it must be neutral. If the soil is too acidic or, on the contrary, alkaline, we continue to keep stevia in pots even in the open air, without planting it in the ground.
Top dressing of a stevia honey
After a month, stevia can be transferred to a greenhouse. Там стараемся держать молодые растения в том же микроклимате — теплом и влажном. В это же время пора начинать подкормку.
Чтобы вырастить стевию в теплице или в домашних условиях опрыскиваем растения один раз в две недели, чередуя органические и минеральные удобрения. Разводим их по инструкции.
Место для высадки
While young plants are getting stronger, we are preparing a place on the site, if there is a desire and opportunity to grow honey stevia on open ground.
The place should be selected taking into account all the needs of the plant - in no case lowland, so as not to accumulate moisture, it should be well lit throughout the day. Near there should not be other plants, we assign a separate section to Stevia.
Pruning adult plants
When the shoots in the greenhouse or at home on the windowsill reach 20 cm, and after planting 2 months have passed, we cut the tops. The best thing to do is from mid-May to early June. Thus, we will contribute to the appearance of lateral processes, creating a shrub in several branches, which can be used in food in the fall.
Cut off the shoot in such a way that on an adult plant its part with a pair of internodes remains.
Rooting cuttings of stevia
We are not in a hurry to throw out the remaining cuttings, because with their help, Stevia multiplies faster and more reliably than by planting seeds.
Rooted cuttings of stevia as follows:
- put them in a jar with slightly sweetened water (1 tsp sugar per 1 liter),
- Cover the container with an opaque material preferably black. In the dark the roots appear faster
- in order for the cutting to stand steadily, we fix it in a cardboard stand placed on the jar so that the leaves do not fall into the water,
- every 3 days we change the sweet solution, and for the quickest appearance of the roots, we spray them with leaves.
With such home care, it will be possible to transplant stevia into the soil in two weeks.
A freshly planted plant is kept under film or glass, and we open it not earlier than in a week. To settle down Stevia will need high humidity and soil.
Agrotechnology stevia involves transplanting it into the open ground after at least two months from the time the seedlings emerge. We continue to regularly spray and water the pre-hardened plant in the air in order to achieve maximum sweetness in the leaves, because stevia grown in the country and not at home will be the sweetest.
Now, when we figured out what is planting this plant and caring for it, find out what can be done to make stevia.
Harvesting Stevia Honey
As you know, stevia is an excellent natural sweetener that does not cause an increase in blood glucose levels. As a result, it can be used by both types of diabetics.
In addition, honey grass is sweeter than usual sugar several hundred times, so not much will be needed to sweeten drinks and food.
Stevia can be harvested in several ways.
Drying and grinding the leaves is one of the easiest ways to harvest.
- When the time comes to harvest, we cut off the stems with shears and pick leaves from them.
- Dry them in any convenient way - in the sun, in the oven with a slight heat or in a drying cabinet.
The main thing is not to overdo them at high temperature for more than 12 hours, so that sweetness is not lost.
Dried leaves are ground in a regular coffee grinder or blender bowl, poured into a jar and stored for several years.
How to use dried stevia
- If necessary, add to the drink we brew them and use them as herbal tea.
- And for the preparation of baking or another dessert based on stevia, pour 80-100g of chopped leaf into a linen bag and brew 1 liter of boiling water. After 10-12 hours we will have a sweet broth.
- If you want to add stevia to porridge, batter or fermented milk products, you can not even brew it, but simply grind to a state of fine powder. We put it right like that.
But besides simply drying the leaves, stevia can be prepared for the winter in several more ways - by boiling a syrup or extract.
Stevia Extract Recipes
To make an extract of stevia leaves at home, you can and alcohol, and water. The difference will be in the sweetness - in the first case, it will be even more tangible.
We stock up on dry leaves and vodka or other strong alcohol, such as whiskey or brandy.
- Fill the dried leaves of stevia with alcohol in the proportion of 1:10 and insist day.
- Then we filter and we can use it directly, diluting it with clean water, and we can heat the resulting liquid, but not bring it to a boil, this will help reduce the alcohol content.
In a similar way we make water extract.
- Fill the leaves with water in a ratio of 1: 5 and begin to evaporate over very low heat.
- Hold for 15 minutes, then filter and resume warming until the volume of liquid decreases 5 times.
Stevia Home Syrup
Stevia syrup at home is done in the same way.
- Keep the aqueous extract on the fire until it thickens to the desired consistency.
The resulting syrup from stevia is sealed in a sterile jar and used as needed, adding to pastries or drinks.
Now you know whether stevia can be grown at home, how best to do it, and also why its wonderful honey leaves can be useful!
Since this plant is a real storehouse of useful substances, do not be afraid of failure and postpone planting - try to organize “sugar plantations” on your window sill now!
With warmth and care, endocrinologist Dilyara Lebedeva
A plant like stevia has been known to many people for a long time. In ancient times, the Indians used this plant in order to prepare various sweet drinks and called it Guarani. In Europe, people learned about honey grass thanks to one botanist Antonio Bertoni, who studied culture in Paraguay.
Of course, many want such sweet grass to always have on hand.
That is why the ideal solution will be growing stevia from seeds at homethat allows you to control the quality and purity of the product. In the wild, this plant grows on the territory of tropical forests, so growing stevia in our Russian climate in the open field is quite problematic, but if desired, anything is possible.
Growing stevia at home from seed
In order to grow stevia from seed at home, you need maintain a special indoor climate. Experienced flower growers say that this crop is quite capricious, requires high air temperature and humidity, its young shoots are very delicate, and the stevia seeds purchased at the same time are not particularly pleasing with good shoots.
That is why many people prefer to buy ready-made honey grass seedlings and plant them in a pot or in an open ground at their summer cottage.
However, if you have a great desire to go all the way to growing stevia at home on your own, while creating a sweet bush of seeds, you can familiarize yourself with some simple rules for the care and maintenance of this plant below.
How to grow seedlings from seed?
First of all, it is necessary to get seeds that can grow into full-fledged seedlings in the future.
Fortunately, now such seeds can be purchased in specialized stores. If there are no such stores in your area, then seeds can be ordered from one of the many online stores and just wait for the package. But to take care of the purchase of planting material is necessary in advance, since it is recommended to sow no later than mid-March.
This item is quite important for honey grass when planting.
- Stevia prefers to grow in light, fertilized loamy soil. If it seemed to you that the soil is too clay, it is allowed to add a little sand. For this, a mixture of three parts of chernozem and one part of compost is also suitable.
- If you do not have the opportunity to mix good soil on your own, then you can buy ready-made soil mixture at a specialty store, since the plant root system is superficial and very sensitive to various impurities, pebbles and debris.
- It is also worth paying attention to the acidity of the soil, in nature it is aged to 5 PH. At home, it is recommended to adhere to a neutral indicator of soil acidity.
- Speaking about the choice of pots for stevia, which will be filled with the necessary soil, they should not be very deep, but wide. In this case, it is necessary to remember that the root system of honey grass is superficial.
Landing in open ground
With the onset of heat, you can think about how to plant stevia in open ground at your summer cottage. However, before this, it is necessary to carry out the procedure of hardening the seedlings in advance, bringing it on warm days, first under the day of trees or bushes to a warm place protected from drafts. Over time, the period of finding the seedlings in the fresh air should gradually increase.
The process of planting in open ground can begin 8-10 weeks after germination and only after the air has become warm enough outside. Seedlings, as a rule, planted in open ground in June, when the soil was already heated up to 10 degrees or more. Otherwise, young plants can be ruined.
Stevia is a rather capricious culture that is whimsical in almost everything, even at the landing site. For honey grass, it is recommended to select plots on the elevations so that all the water flowing down after the precipitation does not accumulate at the root system of the plant. The place, at the same time, should be secluded, protected from drafts and wind, well lit, with light and clean soil without any stones and a large amount of clay. Acidity in the soil should be neutral.
You should also pay attention to the fact that honey grass likes to grow alone, so it is not recommended to plant it next to other cultures.
When you have chosen the ideal place for planting stevia in the open field, you can proceed to the main process. To do this, each sprout must be removed carefully from the pot along with an earthy clod and planted in a pre-prepared hole at a not very great depth. The root system of seedlings needs to be slightly tamped, covered with primer, and generously sprinkled with a layer of mulch on top, which will help the plant's surface root system to maintain ideal humidity.
Stevia seedlings should be planted at a distance 40 cm apart. Between the rows should be 50 cm.
In order to successfully grow plants, it is recommended to cover the beds with foil. You can also cover each sprout with a separately cut plastic bottle for one week. But if at the same time on the street there is a good warm weather, then the seasoned seedlings are good to take root in the open field without additional shelter.
Habitat of stevia
Homeland sweet strava - Paraguay. This country is located in South America, therefore The main conditions for growing stevia are heat, sun and sand..
The optimum temperature is 23-28 degrees Celsius. Protection against strong winds and drafts is necessary.
Priming - sand or a mixture of sand with humus with a weakly acidic medium (pH 5.5-6). The land should be loose and very light. Worst of all, stevia tolerates peat and calcareous soils.
Since there are no cold winters in South America, stevia does not tolerate cold. Therefore, it is grown or at home in a pot on the windowsill, or as an annual plant on the ground.
Preparation for growing stevia from seed
There are two main stages, the correct implementation of which will ensure good chances of grass germination.
- Soil preparation. To create a soil that is similar to that of Stevia, you need to mix sand, chernozem and humus. They can be bought in garden centers, and you can get it yourself in the forest. To get humus, remove the top layer of foliage. The soft layer to the solid layer of soil is humus. Black earth and sand is better to buy in the store. You need to mix the components - 2 parts of sand, one part of humus and 1% of black soil. By the way, I saw on the Internet ready-made soil mixtures especially for growing honey grass.
- Stevia Seeds. Seeds can be bought, and in case of long-term cultivation of grass, it is possible to harvest it yourself as a harvest and a pleasant bonus. When picking pay attention to the windage of seeds. Raise a seed half a meter above the ground and throw. If it falls quickly - the seed is suitable for growing. Slowly flying grain is empty. They are not suitable for further use.
How to grow stevia from seed at home
- A good time for seedlings is March - April. Even if you grow grass at home, it is important to respect the seasons. If additional lighting is used, stevia can be planted a month earlier.
- Capacity for cultivation can be any. Beginners are advised not to start big boxes, but to confine myself to a plastic cup.
- The thickness of the soil should be 10 cm.
- Pre-soak the seeds with warm water for 30 minutes. Then dry a little.
- How to plant stevia seeds - make a lot of small grooves in the soil of 5 millimeters, and put there 1-2 seeds. Cover with soil. Spray some water on top of the sprayer.
- Stevia plant loves heat and light. Therefore, cover the seedlings with a plastic or glass lid and place them in a very bright place. Ideally, you should put it under a fluorescent lamp. But you can not put in direct sunlight.
- When the seedlings come up, it needs to be thinned and removed the cover.
- Keep track of soil moisture. It should be slightly wet. If you can - make the bottom watering.
- When the grass reaches 5 cm, transplant it into seedling soil. It differs as follows - instead of one part of the sand you need to add one part of the sod land. Plant sprouts at the depth of the first leaves.
- Once a week you need to feed stevia with mineral fertilizer.
- When the grass reaches 10-12 centimeters, cut a little tip. Then it will start branching.
- The seedling period of stevia is 8 weeks.
- After you can plant it in a permanent habitat - in a flower pot. Do not forget to make the bottom drainage layer of pebbles. Enough 3 centimeters. Next, seedling soil.
Long-term cultivation of stevia at home, care
With long-growing stevia, it can be propagated using cuttings. It is much more efficient and easier than using seeds. To do this, in adult grass, aged from 2 months, cut off the shoot with leaves. The best time is May.
Plant it to a depth of 4 centimeters. Well pour and cover with a can or a film, creating a greenhouse. In the warm and good watering cuttings germinate within 10 days.
Do not forget that honey grass needs a good light. But it can die from the direct rays of the sun. Also, it must be watered once or twice a week.
Twice a month, you can feed the plant with fertilizer.
How to grow stevia in the country in the open field
Prepare the seedlings as described above.
- Stevia should be planted on the ground at an average daily temperature of 15-20 degrees. This is usually May or June.
- Dig the soil and remove all weeds. Sweet grass is very difficult tolerates the neighborhood with other plants.
- Planted seedlings need a depth of 6 centimeters. The distance between the plants is about 30 centimeters. Add 300 grams of humus to each well. After planting, pour a liter of warm water, and spud dry earth no more than a third of the height of the plant.
- For 2 weeks cover the place of planting grass with agrofibre.
When growing honey grass on the ground, it is important to remember its intolerance to cold. Therefore, in the winter the roots will need to dig, and store until the next planting. This method of growing stevia is more effective than every year and from seeds, since every year the roots will grow stronger and produce more and more crops.
The roots experience wintering in a box with earth, at a temperature of 4 to 8 degrees, and at a humidity of about 80. Usually such conditions in the cellar or basement.
At the beginning of flowering, at 16 weeks after planting, it is already possible to collect the long-awaited harvest. This is usually the summer season. Stem stem is cut at a height of 5 centimeters from the ground. The grass is tied into bunches, and dried.
If the grass was grown for seed, the grain is harvested in September.
At the end of September, the roots can be dug up for storage, if growing takes place in open ground.
If you grow stevia at home, the leaves can be torn off permanently.
Drying the grass takes no more than 12 hours. And you can chop the leaves with a coffee grinder.
For rules on the use of stevia, and its sweetness, read this article.
Stevia is a herbaceous perennial of the Astrov family, pollinated by insects in a cross-sectional way. In the wild form can be found specimens reaching a height of 60-120 cm. Externally, they resemble a branched shrub, with simple paired leaf plates. White flowers are small, collected in inflorescences. Seeds are small (only 0.5 x 4 mm).
When grown at home from sowing seeds to collecting leaves It takes about 16-18 weeks (for a seedling period accounts for 8-10 weeks). Such a sweet grass, grown in a room or in the garden, will be a good alternative to synthetic drugs.
It is possible to find stevia seeds both in free sale and in online stores. Старайтесь выбирать только проверенных поставщиков, давно работающих на рынке. Минимальное количество семенного материала в одном пакетике — 7-10 штук, но при этом производитель обещает их высокую всхожесть.
К сожалению, на практике это далеко не всегда оказывается правдой, и половина семян пустые внутри. Therefore, to avoid disappointment after sowing (especially in our climate), it is advisable to pre-check the purchased product, for example, by sailing method. To do this, it is enough to throw each seed from a meter height and evaluate the features of its fall: full copies quickly reach the floor, while the empty ones dive smoothly.
In order to grow good raw materials for therapeutic or culinary purposes, first of all, you should properly prepare and germinate the selected planting material. This procedure can not be called complex, but will have to adhere to a certain phasing of all the actions performed. Germination of stevia is performed as follows:
- In the loosened and heated soil should be made several grooves and placed in each of them for 1-3 seeds, covered with soil or vermiculite from above (the land layer over the seed should not exceed 30 mm).
- The top layer of soil needs to be moistened, but only very carefully so as not to wash the seeds from the ground (it is better to use a spray bottle).
- Now it remains only to close the box with a plastic lid and place under a fluorescent lamp, which in the first weeks of cultivation should burn constantly (up to 15 hours of daylight decrease only after three weeks of growing stevia). The temperature in the room should not fall below + 24 ... + 27 ° C.
When young plants reach a height of 12-13 cm, they cut 2-5 cm from the top of the main stem and wait for branching.
Soil selection and preparation
Those flower growers who have already faced with the domestic cultivation of stevia, certainly know about the capriciousness of this plant. It may well not take root in the usual garden soil, so it is better to immediately add to the standard chernozem compost or humus in the calculation of 3: 1. If the land on your site is very clayey, then in an additional order it is worth adding one more part of river sand. An alternative to such a prepared soil mix will be a ready-made purchase composition, in which stevia should feel good. Among the most suitable options for such soil mixtures are the following:
- sand and two-year humus (2: 1),
- sand, land of coniferous forest, humus (all in one piece)
- black soil and sand (5:1).
Like any other indoor plant, when transplanted into open soil, stevia needs to be quenched. To do this, from the place of germination it is moved to small containers in order to regularly take them to fresh air a little later (1-2 hours per day). All pots should be placed in bright sunshine and freely blown by the wind. As soon as the seedlings become stronger and undergo the process of acclimatization, you can safely transplant them into the garden.
Transplantation in open ground
Considering that stevia is a heat-loving plant, its landing on the territory of the middle lane often does not bring the desired result, of course, if you do not wait with this venture to the middle or end of June. For transplanting seedlings, the soil temperature should be at least + 10 ... + 15 ° C, although the minimum value at which the plant is still viable is considered to be +4 ° C.
In southern countries, stevia is cultivated all year round, but in our climate it can grow only in the summer. With the advent of autumn, it is usually dug up and transferred to a pot to be planted in the spring again.
When choosing a place for future growth, be sure to consider the pH of the soil, which should be close to neutral. In this case, a good substrate is considered to be light, not clayey, well-drained earth, constantly heated by the sun's rays. In the shade and dampness this plant will not be able to grow and will die quickly.
The process of transplanting to the selected site involves the following actions:
- Carefully remove the plant from the pot, keeping the soil around its root system.
- Move the grass into a previously prepared indentation in the open field, sprinkle with soil and lightly tamp.
- Sprinkle the substrate with spray water. (it is not recommended to use a watering can).
- Grind the root zone with plenty of mulch.because the roots of the plant are very close to the surface and can dry out.
Caring for the southern whims can not be called too troublesome, but you have to follow some of the rules. So, the key to active growth and well-being of the plant is timely and proper watering, which is carried out several times a week (weather conditions are always taken into account).
In dry times, the land should be constantly wet, but not very wet, since stevia reacts equally badly to drought as well as to an excess of moisture. 3-4 hours after watering it is useful to loosen the ground, removing weeds from it (the procedure is performed as needed).
Harvesting and storage
Most often, the described grass is grown for the purpose of harvesting, so the correctness of its collection and storage does not lose its relevance. This process begins during the flowering of stevia, which can be observed already 16-18 weeks after it was sown (approximately in July), and ends in mid-September.
Cut the grass at a height of 5-10 cm from the surface of the soil and collect in separate bunches in order to hang it in a well-ventilated, covered room for drying. True, stevia can also be dried in bulk, simply by spreading out the torn leaves and the cut sweet tops on paper in one layer. If possible, a lamp or electric dryer is used to speed up the process, but in any case the plant should not dry for more than 12 hours, otherwise most of the sweetness will be lost.
Dried leaves are easily crushed using a conventional coffee grinder, after which they can be moved to a glass container for permanent storage. The finished product is used for the preparation of alcohol tinctures and syrups, which are successfully used in culinary business.
If you are more interested in grass seeds (as planting material for the next season), then you should move on to the harvest by the end of August, focusing on the dark leg of the plant. Do not miss this moment, otherwise a fully ripened seed will simply spread over the plot.
Pests and diseases
Stevia does not have serious enemies on the territory of our state, and parasites familiar to middle latitudes practically do not threaten it.
- The only thing that can be encountered in growing a plant is it's a black leg which in some cases can ruin whole grass plantations at the seedling stage of its growth and development. To prevent infection, you only need to disinfect the soil in a timely manner, piercing the soil in the oven or steaming in a water bath. It is also useful to water the soil with a solution of potassium permanganate.
- Occasionally, greenhouse whiteflies live on plants, but they are more characteristic of domestic plants. With a massive invasion of this pest, the leaves dry quickly and fall off, so it’s worth taking the most prompt measures to eliminate them. This can be done by treating the lower part of the leaf plate with soapy water, then loosen the soil in the pots for a few centimeters and pour in sawdust, peat or humus.
That's all the tricks of growing stevia at home. As you can see, there is nothing particularly difficult in this process, so you can safely plant sweet grass on your plot without worrying about the problems in its cultivation.
What is stevia
Stevia is a whole genus of perennials from the Astrov family, which unites over 250 species of all kinds of shrubs and herbs. Their homeland - the plains and mountainous regions of America. The most popular type of stevia is honey, which is cultivated in suburban areas. The botanist Stevus first studied this plant in the 16th century, after whom it was named. The fact that the natives of Stevia used as food was originally established by the scientist Antonio Bertoni during his expedition to Paraguay. He noticed that the Indians called this plant “Guarani” and made tasty and sweet drinks from it.
Stevia is a natural sugar substitute.
The fact is that stevia is a natural sugar substitute: a couple of leaves of grass is enough to sweeten a cup of tea. Its leaves contain a substance that in the twentieth century was called "stevioside" - it is hundreds of times sweeter than regular sugar. By the way, stevioside is recognized as the sweetest natural product in the whole world.
Honey stevia - semi-shrub up to 80 cm high, abundantly branching, with small paired leaves and a developed root system. It blooms in small white flowers. Now widely used in cooking in Asian countries and South America.
The most popular type of stevia is honey stevia.
Growing stevia from seeds is not an easy task. This is a very capricious plant. Most seeds are ultimately unsuitable for cultivation. The seedling period in Stevia lasts about 2 months, so sowing seeds begin in April.
- Prepare crates and soil for sowing.
We prepare the soil and container for planting
Create a greenhouse effect
The first shoots of stevia
Stevia can be grown from cuttings. This method is much simpler than the previous one, but it will take a mother plant no less than 2 months old. Cut cuttings-tops of shoots about 10 cm long should be in May and June. Before rooting, he removes the lower leaves, then digs into the ground to a depth of 6 cm, sprayed with water and covered with a can or film. At first, the cutting and the soil around it are sprayed several times a day with a spray gun. Rooting occurs within 10 days.
Growing stevia from seed