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Stevia propagation help

Posted by the_gurgler DFW, TX Zone 7b (My Page) on
Fri, Apr 3, 09 at 10:59

My wife recently purchased some Stevia. While I don't think growing the plants will be an issue propagation sounds a little more involved. I was hoping for some help here from anyone with experience in the area.

Here are the caveats as I understand them:

- Sweetness of specimens is inconsistent therefore propagation from seed is not ideal.

- Once the plant begins to flower they take on a bitter taste. So, you need to harvest before this.

- Whole plant harvesting (clipping at the base leaving only the roots) is best, but the roots usually only produce sweet plants for 2-3 seasons.

Assuming that all that is true it sounds like I'll need to propagate from clippings. One site I saw said that you can propagate without the use of auxin by simply keeping the base of the clipping moist. Then planting the clipping once 2 inches of roots form. It seems to me that you would have to use some kind of root hormone to get the roots form, but I have no experience with this sort of thing.

Maybe I should try the propagation forum, but I thought there might be more experience with stevia here. My overall goal is to have annual yields of sweet stevia without having to head to the nursery.

Any help is appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Stevia propagation help

This year is my first year growing S. rebaudiana from seed. Through lots of research online, I have learned most of what you mentioned above. I haven't tried propagating from cuttings yet (seedlings are only a couple inches tall).

But I'm sure it would work; I even heard of someone getting a 50-50 success rate by just sticking the cuttings into the ground. Obviously a root growth hormone would help a lot.

If I get a particularly sweet plant that I like, I'll probably try and save cuttings from it throughout the year and hopefully keep it going.

RE: Stevia propagation help

I've had my stevia for many years, and the leaves are still overpoweringly sweet - even when the plant is flowering. Mind you, it will invariably die down if I don't remove those flowers! But it always resurrect, although once it took a year to get on with the job.

I have never, ever been able to propagate it from cuttings. I've tried every method known to mankind, and nothing has worked. I honestly don't know why. It's not as though I haven't successfully propagated hundreds of other plants, thousands of times! It's just stevia which seems to be my Achilles' Heel when it comes to propagation.

Still, it's always worth a try. You can use pure honey instead of commercial propagating hormones with confidence. I find it better in many cases than the commercial stuff.

RE: Stevia propagation help

This was a helpful posting. So, I guess it looks like I'll be attempting to get one going with some root hormone and an itsy bitsy green house over winter.

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