Sunday, February 27, 2011

Growing Stevia: a sweet adventure

I thought sweet Stevia had been overly priced. They didn't look too healthy. Anyway we bought 3 pots at a price of RM5 each at Felda Kemahang nursery on 26th of December 2010. We tried to propagate right away. After a month one had rooted. To get back the investment of RM15, I needed another two cuttings to sprout roots and grow. Now we have 10 tiny seedlings, and another 50 in the pipeline.

One of the three mother plants
 Stevia has a drooping habit, 
and new shoots try to straighten.

A simple technique indeed, cut a stem with a few nodes and place in water. Wait until there is enough roots to transfer into pot.

The first baby Stevia propagated

baby stevia
baby stevia

baby stevia
References mention about good practice to cut off flowers, because flowering is an indication that stevia is about to dry up and die.  So we keep cutting back branches with flowers, and propagate. What we know about Stevia  is only through reading.  And that doesn't stop us from planning to propagate more, setting a target of 1000 plants by middle of next year.

bangchik and kakdah
Tanah Merah

Notes on Stevia

What is stevia?

Stevia is a small shrub like perennial plant which belongs to sunflower (Asteraceae) family. It is also known as Eupatorium rebaudianum, sweetleaf, honeyleaf and sugarleaf, and sweet herb of Paraguay. The leaves of Stevia are a source of natural zero-calorie sweetener which is considered sweeter than sugar (sucrose). It has been used in South and Central America , Japan and many other parts of the world as a sugar substitute and in the treatment of a number of health conditions for centuries. Initially the leaves of Stevia were consumed fresh or dried but eventually chemists isolated the glycosides called stevioside and rebaudioside from its leaves that give stevia its sweet taste. Stevia also contains phytonutrients, trace elements, minerals, vitamins and volatile oils which give Stevia its nutritional and medicinal properties. In 2008, FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) approved sweetener derived from the herb stevia as safe for use in foods and beverages. The steviols glycosides are now used in herbal supplements, foods and beverages, and as sweetening powders and syrups. Unlike other sweeteners, Stevia can be used in baking and cooking and its lesser amount is ample.(click here for more:  Health Benefits of Stevia )

What are the benefits of Stevia

A number of studies show that Stevia can be beneficial in the treatment of many health conditions. Stevia is believed to have anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-glycemic, and anti-hypertensive properties which may help with hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, chronic fatigue, indigestion, upset stomach, heartburn, weight loss, cold and flu, gingivitis, tooth decay, cavities, dandruff and hair loss, brittle bones or osteoporosis, streptococcus, candidiasis, bacterial infections and skin conditions such as cuts, wounds, rashes, itchiness, blemishes, acne, seborrhoeic dermatitis, dermatitis, eczema, and wrinkles. It may also improve energy levels, strengthen immune system, stimulate mental activity, and may also help in withdrawl from tobacco and alcohol addiction. (click here for more:  (click here for more:  Health Benefits of Stevia )   



  1. Stevia is great complimentary for tea. Memang best kalau dapat tanam pokok Stevia ni. Elok untuk orang kencing manis ni.

  2. What an absolutely incredible plant...I've used Stevia as a sugar substitute! But how grand to know someone who is actually growing their own...and not just one but the goal of 1000! Are the health benefits gained from using the actual leaves...surely not from what is sold in USA in boxes. The plants you've already grown are (as usual for you) wonderfully healthy looking...I look forward to seeing your 1000 plants!

  3. Stevia sugar is so expensive, 100g is around RM100, its quite ridiculous.

    I rather cut the fresh leaves and add to my beverages instead. However once the plant flowered, the leaves will turn bitter.

    A very fascinating plant indeed.

  4. I've been wanting to grow this for awhile. This is something I'll have to add to my grow list.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I was about to buy Stevia seeds since we use Stevia powder as sweetener for our coffee or tea. How does the fresh one actually taste? You're right, Stevia is expensive. Even the packet of seeds cost a lot!

  7. Pokok gula Bangchik?

    I think the special plants that Bangchik has in your garden are not available at the commercial nursery in the city. I'll just sit and watch Bangchik tanam, can?;)

  8. I grew a few Stevia plants (not 1000!) from seed and my dog kept munching on the sweet leaves, which of course killed the plants in the end (he also eats cherry tomatoes and strawberries).

  9. We enjoy making stevia tea at our home too... very pleasant taste...

  10. I have this plant too!! But I dont know what I can do with this. Now I know..Thanks!!

  11. You think they are overpriced? I bought mine last week for RM8! But the price in KL is always higher! Have not tried to propagate yet. Wish you success in your 1000 goal!

  12. Hafiz
    Stevia senang tanam, tak banyak ragam. Cuma pokok stevia gemar sangat tunduk dan naik balik. Jadi bengkang bengkuk. Bukan hanya baik untuk diabetics saja, yang segar bugar pun eluk juga.

    Theanne and Baron
    It seems leaves retain most of the calorie free sugar. It is for the leaves that Stevia are grown. It sounds crazy to grow a thousand, but farms grow millions... Many will benefit from our first thousand. At least my younger brother and sister will.., with their early stage of being diagnosed as diabetics.

    We are talking about business here. Maximizing profits is in the mind most business people. They tend to get bitter after flowering, so we keep pruning... saving cuttings for propagation.

    It is good to grow one. Stevia is quite a survivor. Good Luck.

    The fresh leaves taste sweet... as expected. It is a standard welcoming gesture to friends visiting us, a leaf each to bite! It is rare, so it is expensive. If everyone grow one, then it wont cost even a penny! I heard, growing stevia from seeds is difficult.

  13. Aishah
    Yeap, stevia pokok gula. A good substitute to sugar. But the price is crazy, as most rare items. Come over to REDLAND and watch us basking and gardening.

    It seems stevia is hardy, insects normally leave them alone. Against canines, Stevia definitely is defenseless. After 1000, then a million!.. aha.

    Stevia tea is nice... Wait when we get to 1000 target, then stevia tea everyday!

    Food so delicious!
    Glad you have stevia too. Better propagate a few before the mother plant dry up..

    kitchen flavours
    Most high-rise buildings are in KL... so stevia has to be more expensive.. haha. I have to order Baba pots soon to accommodate the arrival of the first thousand.!!

  14. aloha,

    great post, i'm growing it but haven't had a chance to use it yet..maybe its time to make some sweet tea :)

  15. Hi Bangchik, a nice post. I have been hearing a lot about Stevia but haven't seen it yet. You are very good in propagating it and i can see they look so healthy. Propagate more and sell them as soon as others haven't done yet, haha! If only i am nearer, i will buy at least 2 plants.

  16. I googled for the pic of stevia. Oo, i see this plant every time i visit to the nursery (selling at RM10 per mini pot) but since it doesn't look attractive so i didn't bother to ask the name and the use of it. Thank you for sharing, i've learned from you again :)

  17. I tried to propagate but not successful. So far, I have managed to keep the plant looking healthy and not like it's about to die.. (when I got it, it was looking like it is about to expire!)

    Anyway, I have been trying to grow them by cuttings... I noticed that for lavender, I could grow them by cuttings. Hmmm...

  18. Hi Bangchik, Good to know you are growing this too. I have been continuously propagating this plant. There is a lot of demand for it. I have not been able to consume them yet since it didn't have the opportunity to grow big.

  19. I want to sip some stevia tea also... I want a bigger garden!

    Good luck with this sweet adventure with stevia Bangchik and Kakdah. You have achieved much accomplishment with roselle, I am sure you will do well with stevia also ;-)

  20. TheFusionTea
    Thanks, we made stevia tea over weekends. No bad, but roselle tea is nicer.

    Worth trying one, not before you cut a branch and propagate.

    By the look of it, my garden is not turning into a nursery but a Laboratory!

    The plant is never in the league of being aesthetic. But then, it can be the focal point for garden tour when friends and relatives turn up. Offer them a leaf each.., and sweet talk can begin from there...

    Food so delicious!
    Cut 10 little branches with 3 to 4 nodes, strip off the lower leaves, and soak in water for a minimum of one month. A clear small glass is suitable, because we can check water and roots easily. An inch of water will do. Try it out and share with us, a month from now!

    Kakdah has been alternating stevia with roselle tea/juice over weekends. Nice, no preservatives! A few had booked Stevia, after seeing so many pots with tiny plants in our garden. Kakdah had sweet talked them into it... haha.

    Stevia is never demanding over space. Three pots by the doorstep is enough for occasional stevia tea-break.

    Cheers, lets green and sweeten the earth!
    ~bangchik and kakdah
    Tanah Merah, Kelantan.

  21. I have been coming to your blog for the past week or so and I find that the information is very good. Thanks for sharing. I am very keen to get my hands on a Stevia!

  22. ~ Journey of My Gardening.
    Thanks for the visit. The blog is journal in nature, what I have gone through and the incidental observation that I made. Real, solid and scientific knowledge on plants is beyond me, so I refer and place the relevant sources. Thanks to them too... Good luck to your stevia.

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  24. Wow, such an interesting plant to grow...if I stay near your place, I will definitely booked several plants from you...^_^ looking forward to seeing your 1000 plants too...^_^

  25. ~Jack
    Thanks for the visit. I heard special packaging can be made to handle plants by pos laju... so it can be arranged... just wait.. :)

  26. This plant is totally new to me! One of the plant that i want to have too! I shall look out in nursery for them!

  27. Malar.... Keep looking for stevia. Most nurseries have them. Good luck.

  28. I was searching for stevia plants after reading about its properties. Bought some stevia sugar from Australia but didn't like the taste with coffee. The leaves taste okay?

  29. ~~My garden haven, the taste is ok. Fresh and dried leaves taste slightly different...

  30. Hi Bangchik! Very interested with stevia especially ive been diagnosed with a sweet tooth person so having to part with sugar is a real thinking of switching to stevia but the local price is just another nightmare! Itll be nice to be able to plant it in my in pasir mas btw.....can i buy some plants from you?

  31. Hi Bangchik! Very interested with stevia especially ive been diagnosed with a sweet tooth person so having to part with sugar is a real thinking of switching to stevia but the local price is just another nightmare! Itll be nice to be able to plant it in my in pasir mas btw.....can i buy some plants from you?


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