Vegetables and Fruit forum: Stevia seed starting?

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Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 12, 2010 8:27 PM CST
Anyone have any ideas or experience with Stevia rebaudiana seed germination? Growing just for fun.
(aka CindyMzone5)
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Joannabanana
Feb 14, 2010 2:52 PM CST
I didn't start it from seed, but I did grow it last year. It sounds like it had low germination rates. How many seeds are in your package? Perhaps try to germinate 1/2 a dozen in a damp paper towel & baggy, place in a warm place. Or if you are going to sow them, mix your seed starting mix 1/2 & 1/2 with cactus soil mix. Surface sow. The darker the seed, the more likely it is viable.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 15, 2010 9:33 AM CST
Joanne - I probably have about 15 seeds. DD and I shared a packet from Seed Savers Exchange. The seed needs light to germinate? I can try both methods. I don't have cactus mix though since I don't grow any. I have some seed starting mix, peat moss, perlite, maybe some vermiculite or play sand at my disposal. Would any of these work instead?
Thanks for the info!
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 15, 2010 9:37 AM CST
Maybe add more perlite & sand to your regular starting mix to allow for more drainage. I found that worked for rosemary, which all needed sharp drainage.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 16, 2010 8:50 AM CST
Thanks for the info. Sowing the seed today. DD has had one sprout so far since sowing two weeks ago.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
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mom2goldens
Feb 17, 2010 5:57 PM CST
Hi, Cindy
Nice to see you over here. I grew stevia from seed last year, and had decent germination (I didn't use a heat mat). This year, I was using up my leftover seed and had 0% germination--not a single seed sprouted. Guessing perhaps fresh seed is also critical here? I have a new pack ordered, so will try again as soon as it arrives...will try it on a heat mat, also.
Linda
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 18, 2010 9:10 AM CST
Hiya Mom - Thanks for that tip on using the heat mat. I'll move them today. I'm starting seeds in my little GH this year instead of the spare room. We're building a Murphy bed and my light setup would be in the way. The GH runs a little cool (65) but I guess I could also turn the heat up a notch as well.
(Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member
debsroots
Feb 19, 2010 12:53 PM CST
I started my Stevia seed about three weeks ago, and they started showing growth around 1 1/2 weeks. I planted them in a soil mixture where I had addes quite a bit of perilite.

Looking forward to seeing if they do anything for me.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Feb 19, 2010 4:25 PM CST
Deb: Did you use a heat mat? I've read conflicting information on that point. How deeply did you plant? Sorry for all of the questions--just trying to figure out what is the best method with these darned seeds. Fresh packet of seeds arrived today, so want to try again.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 20, 2010 8:51 AM CST
I think they like light for germination if I remember. DD has the seed packet. Trying to keep the mix dry. Used extra perlite. I sowed them in a little 4-pack - I can cover with plastic wrap and move them where I need to under the lights.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Feb 20, 2010 9:11 AM CST
Thanks, Cindy. Got a fresh packet of seed yesterday, so want to try to start again this weekend. Will try the extra perlite in my mix.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 21, 2010 10:17 AM CST
I checked the "babies" this morning and I see tow little green sprouts still emerging from the seed in the Stevia 4-pack. When first planted, I didn't use any bottom heat but I think I moved it to the heated holding flat a few days ago. I sowed the seed on 2/16.
I'm using Gardener's Supply Organic seed-starting mix for the first time this year (a Christmas gift) and I'm very nervous using it because it's a lot heavier than their standard germination mix. It holds a lot more water and I know from all the input that Stevia doesn't like to be wet. So I'm being very cautious with it.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 27, 2010 9:00 AM CST
I still have 4 little Stevia seedlings. They sure don't grow fast. Not sure what conditions to give them at this point. No way they can be moved from their little 4-pack - way too small yet.
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
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Joannabanana
Feb 27, 2010 9:25 AM CST
Are you fertilizing them? I like to use fish emulsion fertilizer for seedlings. You will see a difference within days.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Feb 27, 2010 5:41 PM CST
YAY!! I have stevia germinating. I didn't use a heat mat, but did keep them off of the wicking mats, so on the dry side. Looks like I have about 15 -18 of the 20 seeds I planted that have germinated. It appears that the fresh seed and less moisture did the trick. Cindy--they do grow slowly. Last year, after they had gotten probably 2 sets of true leaves I took them out of cell packs and potted them into 2.5" pots and watered with 1/2 strength fertilizer. They finally took off then, but they were still relatively small at planting out time. They seem to like being outside in the sun better than the lights; eventually, they got to be probably 20" tall.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Feb 28, 2010 1:00 PM CST
Congrats, Mom!
I haven't started fertilizing them yet as I'm not seeing any true leaves on them. They are planted in an organic seed mix which looks like it may have a few nutrients in it as opposed to regular seed starting mix. They still haven't put on much growth but I'm really hesitant to mess with them - might end up losing them. If we had any decent sunshine I'd stick them in a window but since it's been cloudy just about every day, grow lights will have to do.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Mar 9, 2010 9:01 PM CST
Gosh, these things are still just poking along. They are barely bigger than when I last posted, but I do remember that they were very slow-growing last year. I'm also afraid to take them out of the cell-packs--they are just too tiny yet. No fertilizing here yet, either, as the first set of true leaves has just barely formed.
Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Shadegardener
Mar 10, 2010 10:27 AM CST
I do have one little plant, maybe 1/2" and then 3 or 4 tiny little seedlings. I originally planted them in a 4-pack since it seemed like they needed special attention - not too wet, etc. I'm sure glad I did because I don't have to worry about planting them up or their lack of needing to be planted up. It is slow going but it seems that once they put on their first set of true leaves, growth speeds up a little (and that's relative!).
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
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CarolineScott
Mar 23, 2010 3:43 PM CST
I have Stevia from seeds and now I am taking cuttings to keep it going. They are a slow grower.
It does root nicely from cuttings.
I just seeded them in a south window--not lights and not heat mat.
Name: Linda
Carmel, IN (Zone 5a)
Forum moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Charter ATP Member Region: Indiana Dog Lover Container Gardener
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mom2goldens
Mar 23, 2010 5:08 PM CST
Caroline--thank you for that information. I didn't even think about taking cuttings. It might be easier to do that and overwinter some plants than start them from seed each year, as slowly as these darned things grow.

I finally got germination on 12 of my 20 seeds. Most have 3-4 sets of true leaves, but there are a few slow pokes that are still just cotyledons. Mine are still in a 4 pack also, but I"m going to have to separate a few here pretty soon.

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