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SmashTheState's avatar

Propagating a stevia plant -- possible? Desirable?

Asked by SmashTheState (14245points) June 10th, 2010

I have a stevia plant which I’ve been growing for a year or so. It did quite well, I harvested it once and got quite a few leaves from it. After cutting back the stems to harvest, it grew new stems, but it also started to flower. I’ve read that after flowering, the leaves become less sweet, and that certainly seems to be the case.

The plant is in a window box in my kitchen, and just recently I found some nasty little buggies in the soil. The leaves started blackening and crisping, from the bottom of the plant up. I poured some habanero sauce into the soil, which seems to have obliterated my multi-legged invaders, but the plant is looking a bit wilted and about half the leaves are looking damaged.

I’m wondering if it’s possible to take some slips from the plant and get them to root, and, if they do, will the new plants still have the lesser sweetness of post-flowering? Or does it start from scratch from the slip?

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4 Answers

Andreas's avatar

@SmashTheState New plants from old are clones of the original plant. Therefore I would anticipate the new plants will have the full sweetness as your original plant.

I don’t know if you know this technique for propagating soft-stemmed plants, but this is the usual technique: Place the slip(s) into a glass of plain tap water and see if roots develop. If they do, then place the cutting(s) into the same type of soil as you have ONCE the root system(s) is/are well-established.

Let us know how you go.


stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

As @Andreas said, the propagated slips are clones of the original plant. If you are willing to tolerate the low insect resistance of the plant you have, go ahead with propagation. I have no direct experience with stevia, but am considering it as a companion crop (they are known to repel aphids) after I’ve got my castor bean project fully sorted out.

SmashTheState's avatar

Excellent, thanks for the advice, @stranger_in_a_strange_land and @Andreas, I’m going to take a half-dozen slips and see if I can get them to sprout. I’ll let you know how it goes. If it works well, I’ll do some more slips and give them to friends; stevia is hard to get to germinate, so they’ll probably appreciate a nice, strong sprout.

Andreas's avatar

Sounds good @SmashTheState. You should have at least one or two succeed, maybe even all six. All the best, and please keep us updated.

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