|We purchased stevia seeds from you in spring, plants doing fine now at 18 inchs tall. When should leaved be picked for drying? Are there special ways to dry?|
|The timing of your question is perfect - National Gardening Magazine just did an article on stevia that includes all the information you're looking for! The article appeared in the on-line magazine at www.garden.org a few months ago. Here's the address for the article: http://126.96.36.199/articled...
In cold northern areas, it's best grown as an annual, or potted up and grown indoors during the winter. In nature it grows on moist, sandy streambanks and marshes, so in the garden, provide a well-drained humusy-loam soil that is slightly acidic (6.0-6.5, which is good for most garden vegetables). Transplants are slow to get going, but will take off in midsummer. Harvest leaves before the plants flower, and dry them for storage. A few days of strong sun should be enough to dry them well. You can try experimenting with propagation with cuttings taken in summer. Dip 3" tip cuttings in rooting hormone and plant in a tray of moist - not soaking wet - sand, and mist frequently. Or try rooting them in a vase of water. Indoor plants require supplemental light and a warm room (70F) during the winter.