A small herbaceous annual known for its leaves, which contain a natural sweetener that is gaining considerable popularity.
A short, shrubby annual generally growing to 12-18".
Not frost hardy, but can be grown anywhere as an annual.
Grow similar to basil and other annual herbs. Grow in full sun. Water regularly and plant in well-drained soil. Stevia is adapted well to container culture.
The leaves contain a natural sweetener similar to sugar. While they can be eaten fresh and added to foods directly to impart sweetness, stevia has come under much recent investigation for commercial use. Owing to complex governmental regulations, the isolated sweetener from stevia leaves is still quite limited in use in the United States and Europe. In Japan and parts of the Americas however, stevia products account for a reasonable percentage of the sweetener market.
Native to South America. Stevia has been used by indigenous populations for many years.