Stevia - sweet plant but little success

>> Thursday, December 30, 2010

For the second winter in a row I purchased a Stevia plant thinking I would get some natural sweetness for my coffee and tea. For the second year in a row the poor thing shriveled up and died before it can become healthy enough to do anything with.

It’s weird that I have so many other houseplants that survive year after year. Why won’t this one make it?

I move it around the house desperately seeking a suitable place for it but to no avail.

I’m told it can be grown anywhere from South America to Canada. They can survive temps down to 50-60 and trust me it never gets that cold in the house. Soil requirements are nothing special, common garden-variety is said to be fine. I suspect that maybe I over water the plant, but I try to provide good drainage. They have a shallow root system so maybe they are getting dried out.

In its natural habitat, the plant occurs naturally on acid soils of 4-5 pH but will grow well on soils up to 9 pH. Plants are said to respond well to liquid seaweed as a foliage spray applied every couple of weeks, but I hold off on feeding indoor plants as a general rule because of their slower growth rate.

I guess the bottom line is I need to treat it differently than my other house plants, which are doing quite well. There is some encouragement though, I just read someone saying that even if the plant dies completely down, you can keep it up to a year and it could come back. I suppose keeping a pot with just dirt in it for a year may not seem odd to some people, but I would rather have something growing in it. Oh well, they are pretty cheap plants and there’s always next year.


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