What is the name of the red plant that is a natural sweetener? Is it an annual?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi, Carol: The only plant I am familiar with that is used as a natural sweetener is Stevia rebandiana, commonly referred to as sweet leaf or honey leaf. The foliage on this plant is green and the bloom is white, not red, so I am not sure if we are thinking of the same plant or not. If we are then yes, this plant is an annual. It is a sub-tropical plant native to Paraguay and Brazil, where it grows as a small shrub. It will not survive our cold winters but can be grown indoors if you have a sunny windowsill. Unlike most herbs we grow, it prefers a coarse, infertile sandy soil. This plant has been used by tribes since pre-Columbian days. It can be used to bake and cook with as well as an all-natural sweetener to add to a beverage. Let me know if this is not the plant you are wondering about.