Today, we are going to talk about Stevia plant. First of all, we will know what is Stevia. Stevia is a sweetener and is also the best substitute for sugar that is extracted from the leaves of Stevia. The complete name of Stevia plant is Stevia Rebaudiana. Stevia plant contains the most active compound, known as Steviol Glycosides, that contains 150 times more sweetness than sugar.
Stevia plant has Steviol Glycosides of which 4mg/kg is sufficient in controlling body weight. Stevia plant is a natural and zero-calorie sweetener. It is known by studies that Stevia contains a sweet compound named Stevioside that helps you lower blood pressure when it increases unnaturally.
Stevia plant is a zero-calorie sweetener that does not affect your blood glucose and it makes insulin sufficient in your body so it helps you fight diabetes. Stevia does not increase the level of blood sugar because of glycemic index which is zero in Stevia. Use of Stevia plant makes active beta cells of pancreas which produce sufficient insulin.
Scientific Name: Stevia Rebaudiana
Common Name: candyleaf, sweetleaf, sweet leaf, or sugarleaf.
How to maintain Stevia plant:
Soil and Temperature: Stevia grows well in sandy loam soils with an ample supply of water. Stevia prefers acidic to neutral soil with a pH range of 6.5-7.5 for its best growth. Annual average temperature of 31o C with a rainfall of 140 cm per year has been found optimum for its good growth. The day temperatures should not exceed 48oC and the night temperatures should not fall below 4oC.
Sow and Plant: Start with a purchased Stevia, because stevia seeds are very reluctant to sprout. Plants are grown from rooted cuttings taken from greenhouse-grown plants.
Propagation: Stem cuttings of 15 cm length taken from leaf axils of the current year’s growth have been given better results. The best months for propagation are February-March. The cuttings will be ready for transplanting after 25-30 days of rooting.
Harvesting: Gather sprigs as needed in the kitchen. Gather stems for drying in midsummer, just before the plants bloom.
Pests and Diseases: There are no pests and diseases found in Stevia crop, If anything noticed, spraying neem oil with diluted water would work just fine.