There are some plants that are tricky to propagate but stevia isn't one of them! Stevia rebaudiana is an herb used as a substitute sweetener for sugar. It isn't reliably hardy here in Tennessee even though I did have a plant come back one year. Since then I've kept a plant in a pot to bring indoors for the winter. I've tried to grow stevia from seed but had a lot of difficulty in getting good germination which is why I turn to cuttings. Taking a cutting of stevia is as simple as it can be. I trim a stem or branch just above a set of leaves, leave two leaves on the top of the cutting and stick the bottom end of the cutting in moist sand. Rooting hormone is not necessary.
I kept the cuttings moist for about 3-4 weeks and found the root system to be very well developed at that point. It's covered in sand in the picture which I don't ever worry about removing. I potted this cutting and a second one in 4" pots to grow a little larger.
I kept my cuttings under a fluorescent light, nothing fancy just your typical shop light, and a heat mat. The heat mat helps keep the temperatures consistent in the spring. It's set at around 70 degrees.
We don't use stevia a lot around here but some people like use it as a substitute for sugar. On occasion we'll mix it with fresh mint and use it in tea. It is sweet to the taste but does tend to have a slight bitter flavor to it. I'm propagating these for the local farmer's market.
Labels: herbs, plant propagation