Where can I get Organic Stevia plant in Brampton?
How do I grow that in Brampton climate?
Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners.
Toronto Master Gardeners is unable to give specific product or product provider recommendations. We suggest you go to the Landscape Ontario website and search for “retail garden centres” to find all the garden centers in your area: https://landscapeontario.com/search
Do call before visiting a centre, and ask if it has organic Stevia in stock. Even if not in stock, note that some garden centres will order a specific plant for you.
An alternative is to grow Stevia from seed. Organic Stevia seeds are likely available from some of the members of The Canadian Seed Trade Association https://seedinnovation.ca/member-directory/ However, germination rate for Stevia seeds is spotty. Seeds should be sown 8 to 10 weeks before the last frost date, which for the Toronto area is May 9th. Germination is best between 21 to 24 C. Seedlings should emerge in about 7 to 21 days. When seedlings are large enough to handle, you can transplant them into 3-inch diameter pots and keep them inside until nighttime temperatures are above 10 C consistently.
Stevia like basil is considered a tender perennial herb (in USDA zones 9 – 11), in Toronto ( zone 6) it is grown as an annual. When planted outdoors, Stevia prefers full sun, loamy, moist, well draining soil with good air circulation around the plant. During the first 2 months of the growing season, pinch the tips of the plant every 3 weeks. This will result in a bushier plant. Stevia does not like to be moved once its planted, so make sure to pick the ideal location before planting. Mulch Stevia well, to protect its shallow root system from the heat of the sun.
Pinch off individual leaves as you need them, making sure not to remove more than 1/3 of the leaves at one time. As soon as the flower buds appear, harvest the entire plant by cutting it at the base and hanging it upside-down in a warm, dry, area for a few days. Do not pinch off the buds or try to postpone flowering; if you do, the leaves will lose their sweet flavour.