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In general, Stevia should be treated as a vegetable crop. When hot weather sets in, usually a month after planting, beds should be mulched 3 to 6 inches deep with organic residue such as grass clippings, chopped leaves, straw, hay, or compost. This will protect the shallow feeder roots and hold in moisture. Plant growth is slow at first, accelerating by mid summer.
A consistent moisture supply is important for Stevia. Irrigate once or twice a week, whenever rain fails to water the plants. Sandy soils require more frequent irrigation. Trickle irrigation is ideal, ensuring consistent moisture levels without wetting leaves. A simple and effective system is the black, "weeping" soaker hose made from recycled rubber. Place a soaker hose between the two rows of plants, beneath the mulch. Attach to a garden hose and turn the water on at a trickle for a couple of hours. The system can be automated with the addition of a timer.
Side-dressing is usually not necessary, but low nitrogen or organic fertilizer may be applied in the summer as plant growth begins to accelerate. Excess nitrogen causes tender growth and reduced leaf sweetness. Mr. Oddone recommends application of a 10-10-12 foliar fertilizer directly on leaves at 30 and 60 days from transplanting.