The Q&A Archives: Stevia

Question: Can stevia or sweet leaf plant(S. rebaudiana) be grown from seed? I saved several different stages of seed (everything from bee and hover fly pollinated to hand pollinated), and in every stage from pulling flowers off to letting seeds naturally drop in a paper bag after the plant died). I've tried several different ways of propargating; everything from on top of soil to underneath and hot to cool, wet to dry, and several combos of each. None have sprouted, not even volunters in the garden.

Please help.

I see seeds for sale so shurly I am just doing something wrong. Could you please tell me what it is?

Answer: My sources indicate that Stevia is self-incompatible, which means it must be cross-pollinated in order to produce viable seeds. You must have more than one Stevia plant in your garden for either (or both) plants to produce viable seeds. If you have only one plant, you'll never get seeds that sprout.

Try planting two Stevia plants in your garden this year and collecting the seeds after the seed pods turn a tannish brown but before they burst open and spill their seeds on the ground. When you get a good collection of seeds, sow them on top of moistened seed starting mix (they need light to germinate) and cover the pots or trays with plastic wrap to help hold in the moisture. Viable seeds will sprout in less than 14 days when kept warm (70F). As soon as the seeds sprout, remove the plastic wrap and place the pots or trays under a source of bright light. Keep the potting soil moist but not soggy wet.

Best wishes with your new little seedlings!

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