Where can I buy a stevia plant in the GTA?
Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about where to purchase a Stevia plant in the Greater Toronto Area.
The mandate of the Toronto Master Gardeners is to educate and inform the public about plants and gardening practices. However, we cannot recommend suppliers. You might want to try contacting a company listed on the Landscape Ontario website for such information. Garden centres and herb specialists in the Toronto area might also be able to help.
However, to successfully grow and harvest Stevia, The Missouri Botanical Garden http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?kempercode=e489 offers this guidance: Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) in our climate is grown as an annual plant either in the garden or in a container. Its general use is as a calorie-free sugar substitute with 200 to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. The leaves can be eaten fresh or added to teas and foods. They have been used for over 1500 years by the people of Brazil and Paraguay.
Stevia, aka sweetleaf, candyleaf, grows about 1 to 2 feet tall, 30 to 60 cm, with about the same spread. The plant itself is not ornamental and the white tubular non-fragrant flowers should be pinched off as soon as the buds appear because the best quality leaves occur prior to flowering in July or August. If overwintering, bring pots indoors before the first fall frost. Cuttings may be taken. Harvest fresh leaves for use in teas; eat leaves directly off the plant or dry and store them and then grind into stevia powder. Dried leaves are generally sweeter than when fresh.
We wish you every success in your acquisition and growing of Stevia.