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Post  llama momma on 6/4/2012, 3:30 pm

Got my first couple of stevia plants, after about 2 weeks they settled nicely in Mel's mix so today I took off a couple leaves for my cup of tea. Gently washed it off and then kind of smashed it in the tea with a spoon like I do with fresh mint in ice tea. Expected more sweetness out it. Honestly kind of disappointed. If I bite a tiny bit of the leaf while drinking it explodes with sweetness. But that's not how I want to drink hot tea. Maybe dry the leaves and crumble into powder? Anyone?? I went to the search box and didn't really find an answer.
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Post  PeonyLover on 6/4/2012, 4:14 pm

I'd like to know too. I planted two plants for the first time this year.
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Post  littlebear on 6/4/2012, 5:24 pm

Just planted my first stevia also. I have read that it is much sweeter dried than raw. Everything I have read reccomends drying the leaves before using them for maximum sweetness...



I have wanted to try a leaf but am holding off until I dry them. Anticipation is killing me....
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Post  milaneyjane on 6/4/2012, 6:15 pm

We grew it last year and never used it. Didn't plant it again this year.Laughing
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Post  llama momma on 6/4/2012, 6:37 pm

@milaneyjane wrote:We grew it last year and never used it. Didn't plant it again this year.Laughing

Wow. I use liquid stevia every day and go through a tiny 2 oz. bottle every month, @ $12.00/bottle. I am determined to make (2) $3 plants last me at least all year long. I believe the plants are unable to tolerate cold and can be brought inside for the fall, winter, and spring.
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Post  happycamper on 6/4/2012, 7:04 pm

I agree that the stevia is sweeter dried than fresh. Be careful how you dry it as it can lose much sweetness during the drying process (I leave it on the stem and hang upside down to dry naturally). I have mainly used a mortar and pestle to powder it. You may want to save your seeds after it flowers as they are a bit pricey.

Llama momma is correct about the plants not liking cold weather. I dug up one of my two plants last year and brought it in the house and it survived. The one left outside to the elements did not (even with a cloche on it).
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Post  llama momma on 6/5/2012, 6:06 am

The e-how instructions are straightforward for making the liquid. Neither article discusses making the powder form which seems like the easiest way. It would be nice to know which method stretches out the best results. One of my gardening books says to gather leaves in the early morning when the oils are most concentrated. Dry the leaves till crumbly, and crush with mortar and pestle or toss into a spice grinder. That sounds pretty easy. If I can keep the plants going long enough I'll have to try both the liquid and powdered preparations. In the same book , Bountiful Container, it says when you see small flower buds either cut or pinch them out or it will take vigor out of the plant, and just before it buds, the leaves are at their sweetest. Apparently Japan has grown stevia for ages. My son is fluent in Japanese and has lived there for years, maybe he can find some some English translated info.
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Post  llama momma on 6/5/2012, 7:24 am

Here is what I was looking for, I missed this before, it was on another page.

How to grow and prepare and even propagate--

http://www.stevia.com/Stevia_article/Growing_Your_Own_Stevia/8077
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Post  SwampCatNana on 6/5/2012, 9:26 am

llama momma - the article claims that it is difficult to get the seeds but I found them on several sites. One I liked gives 25 or 50 seeds for $3.95.
Gotta order some.
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Post  llama momma on 6/5/2012, 10:50 am

SwampcatN
I don't know what local store I was in but I did purchase a Burpee packet of Stevia, it was 2.49 for 3 mg. maybe about 25 seeds. Seeds are so tiny almost invisible and shaped like microscopic marigold seeds. I tried to germinate from seeds back in early March with no luck. That was before I had a seed mat warmer thing. So I'll try again sometime. The packet said one plant could yield up to 1/2 lb. of dried leaves.
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Post  michellentn on 6/5/2012, 10:51 am

i have read from several sources that they are hard to start...google start stevia from seeds and read how to germinate as it is difficult to start. let us know your progress. i am still debating on ordering any seed. i hope you let us know how hard or easy it was.
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Post  malefacter on 6/5/2012, 10:55 am

also try making the extract then evaporate the liquid all off you should get a high concentration of sweet powder that way
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Post  michellentn on 6/5/2012, 10:57 am

i also used a heating pad on low to start all seedlings that weren't direct sowed in the garden and it works great! i had used jiffy pellets like 36 of them for $2.50 or so at home depot and put them in a covered clear plastic container like the ones baby spinach comes in. must ck daily, which i didn't do as they germinate quickly in this environment. next time i will set my phone to remind me daily to check on them.
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Post  llama momma on 6/5/2012, 11:08 am

I guess the stevia exploration begins. I'll try to keep the 2 purchased plants going and I'll read the article just recommended on starting from seed and share the progress on this thread. If they grow I'll keep them in pots that will go outdoors in good weather and bring inside otherwise.
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Post  CapeCoddess on 6/5/2012, 5:20 pm

I got 4 stevia plants 4 yrs ago from a local nursery for free as they looked about dead. I brought them back to life and then cut & hung 3 upside down to dry the leaves, the other one is still growing in my bay window. It's been amazing! I have photos of how crazy it is and will look for them later. Anywhosey, I cut it back every fall to hang the leaves, and pinch like a mum as it gets taller and leggy in spring, then let 'er rip. But I thnk this may be it's last year as it didn't get as tall as the previous years. But who knows...I'll have to wait and see. Maybe repotting would give it a needed boost. I also collected seeds from it end of last year but haven't planted any yet.

The powdered dried leaves were a disappointment in my coffee and other things. So now I only use them in my smoothies, baked goods and other blender fixin's.

That's all I know.
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Post  SwampCatNana on 6/5/2012, 6:21 pm

CC - have you tried to root a cutting?
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Post  Turan on 5/22/2015, 7:58 pm

A stevia plant followed me home today.

Any updates from you who have already tried growing and preserving the leaves?

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Post  CapeCoddess on 5/23/2015, 8:00 am

Hi Turan, I think the other two threads on stevia have more information. The Stevia Seed thread also has a recipe or 2 on how to preserve the leaf. I only use it as a dried leaf but others put it in vodka or oil.

Helpful hint: the plant is cold sensitive like basil. I grow mine in a bay window year round.
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/24/2015, 8:34 am

I dried all of the leaves from my plant and use them in tea.  Just crush them up w/ the peppermint/whatever and mix together.

This next time I plan to stuff them in a jar, pour over vodka or grain alcohol & make extract.
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Post  Turan on 5/24/2015, 12:53 pm

Thanks for the info.

Are you rooting stems to keep it going? I have read it called a annual to a short lived perennial.

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 5/25/2015, 7:42 am

I didn't, but may try that next time.  I've got enough dried right now to keep me going for a while.  One plant gave me a gallon of dried leaves!!

Yes, that's correct.  Once the frost hit it, it was gone pretty quickly.
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Post  CapeCoddess on 5/25/2015, 11:59 am

Never tried rooting stems. Once I cut them back, which is as they are forming seeds, I spread some of the seeds around on the soil below the the plant and sometimes one or two will sprout up.  My plant is pretty old now, unless it's just a series of new ones taking the place of old ones.
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