We depend on donations from users of our database of over 8000 edible and useful plants to keep making it available free of charge and to further extend and improve it. In recent months donations are down, and we are spending more than we receive. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Stevia rebaudiana - Bertoni.

Common Name Stevia, Candyleaf
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards May cause dizziness, headache, flatulence, nausea & muscle pain. Caution with diabetic patients. May increase blood pressure lowering effects of allopathic medicine [301].
Habitats Infertile, sandy acid soils with shallow water tables. This is normally in areas like the edge of mashes and grassland communities.
Range S. America - Brazil, Paraguay.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Stevia rebaudiana Stevia, Candyleaf

Stevia rebaudiana Stevia, Candyleaf


Translate this page:


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Stevia rebaudiana is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 9 and is frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Eupatorium rebaudianum.


 Cultivated Beds; South Wall. By. West Wall. By.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Sweetener

Leaves - raw or cooked. A very sweet liquorice-like flavour[K]. The leaves contain 'stevioside', a substance that is 300 times sweeter than sucrose[183]. Other reports say that they contain 'estevin' a substance that, weight for weight, is 150 times sweeter than sugar[4, 46, 61, 105]. The dried leaves can be ground and used as a sweetener or soaked in water and the liquid used in making preserves[183]. The powdered leaves are also added to herb teas[183]. The leaves are sometimes chewed by those wishing to reduce their sugar intake[183]. The leaves can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable[105, 177].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

References   More on Medicinal Uses

Now available: PLANTS FOR YOUR FOOD FOREST: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens.

An important new book from PFAF. It focuses on the attributes of plants suitable for food forests, what each can contribute to a food forest ecosystem, including carbon sequestration, and the kinds of foods they yield. The book suggests that community and small-scale food forests can provide a real alternative to intensive industrialised agriculture, and help to combat the many inter-related environmental crises that threaten the very future of life on Earth.

Read More


Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a sandy soil, requiring a warm sunny position[200]. It is a short day plant, growing up to 0.6 meters in the wild and flowering from January to March in the southern hemisphere. Flowering under short day conditions should occur 54-104 days following transplanting, depending on the daylength sensitivity of the cultivar. The natural climate is semi-humid subtropical with temperature extremes from 21 to 43 C, averaging 24 C. Stevia grows in areas with up to 1375mm of rain a year. Plants are not very frost resistant, but can be grown as half-hardy annuals in Britain, starting them off in a greenhouse and planting them out after the last expected frosts.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

Shop Now


Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on fast, planting them out after the last expected frosts. It could be worthwhile giving them some protection such as a cloche or cold frame for a few weeks after planting them out until they are growing away well.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Print Friendly and PDF

Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

sridharan a   Thu Nov 6 15:22:14 2003

can we grow this ,stevia,in trophical climate.If yes what is the maxm teperature it can with stand?

Rich   Thu Apr 29 10:21:40 2004

It should be noted that there are possible side effects associated with Stevia. Futhermore it is banned for sale as a food or food ingredient in the UK, EU. In the US it can only be sold as a dietary supliment and not as a sweatner. See for example Food Standards Agency and Center for Science in the public interest.

To give the other side of the argument there are many site promoting its use which are critical on existing studies www.stevia.net

kripa   Tue Sep 23 06:52:02 2003

The plant is very useful one for persons with NIDDM and with hypetension as well. it is an important breakthrough in the field of medicinal plants and nutrition

galikim@yahoo.com   Tue Dec 20 2005

Es excelente aditivo de azúcar sin caloria, especial para diabeticos tipo A y B. En el Paraguayexisten unas 600 hectáreas de cultivo y en e presente año fue declarado de interes nacional por el Gobierno. Se pretende darle mayor impulso para su cultivo, y exportar al Japon, EE.UU. y Francia. Excelente para los 50 millones de diabeticos que tiene los EE.UU. de Norteamerica. LA USAID en Paraguay ha dado apoyo para conocer mas de este cultivo y su mercadeoa este producto nativo de Paraguay. El precio que se paga en el Paraguay por las hojas es de un dólare el kilo, y falta incentivar más por un mejor precio y crédito para los productores, además de la extension agraria para la capacitación. Tiene futuro, y depende de que los Gobiernos interesados en importar la materia prima, como las hojas, las ramas y el producto cristalizado como azucar dietica, sea apoyado para que se le de mayor impulso. Me inicie en el cultivo de 1.000 plantas y he visto que es planta que realmente es el elixir de los guaranìes, ya que los indígenas los utilizaban para endulzar sus alimentos, además del uso medicinal. Es bueno para la hipertensión, el colesterol, como también para la purificación de la sangre. En los animales vacunos, pollos parrilleros, se ha utilizado a dosis de 0,15 gramos por kilo de alimentos y permitió mayor peso al termino de crecimiento

jaroslava   Thu Feb 28 2008

Hello, can you please, send me the email adresse of the company, where I can buy "Stevia rebaudiana" pots. Becose I can not find what I really wanted. ja.je@hotmail.co.uk Thanks a lot Jaroslava

paul norton   Wed Feb 18 2009

where I can buy "Stevia rebaudiana"

Sarah Mallett   Sun Dec 6 2009

Hello, Yes, someone else wanting to know where Stevia seed can be purchased from in the UK. sarah.mallett@hotmail.com Thanks.

   Jul 9 2011 12:00AM

I find this plant very useful, its great in tea's to add sweetness and you only need a small amount. Makes lovely Sweet Morroccan mint tea that is guilt free as stevia has no calories. I have a large plant from a cutting purchesed last year and am growing new plants from cuttings myself. I hope to use it as a sweetner in other things as I gain more dried plant material. Its been used for 30 years in Japan without problems.

   Nov 20 2011 12:00AM

This plant is really interesting, a sweetener with zero calories! I hope i can buy stevia on european market soon...

   Apr 23 2017 12:00AM

Stevia Kills Lyme Disease Pathogen Better Than Antibiotics (Preclinical Study) http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/stevia-kills-lyme-disease-pathogen-better-antibiotics-preclinical-study

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Stevia rebaudiana  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.