These instructions are sent with the plant gift
Looking after your young sweetleaf plant
Originating in China these plants are part of the raspberry family 'Rubus chingii var. suavissimus’, Like the better-known stevia they have very sweet leaves hence the other common names of the Chinese sweet tea plant and Raspberry sweetleaf.
A hardy perennial, these plants can withstand temperatures as low as -10 degrees. They grow vigorously during the spring and summer producing lots of leaves for use as a natural sweetener in drinks and cooking.
Keep your sweetleaf in its pot for now, but come autumn, plant it out in the garden in a spot that has well-draining soil. Alternatively, you can move it into a large container, but given its vigorous growing habit make sure this is at least 25L in size.
Keep your sweetleaf plant well-watered, especially if keeping it in a container. Aim to keep the soil moist but not overly wet. Your plant will also benefit from a feed with a general-purpose fertiliser every month or so throughout the growing season.
Your sweetleaf bush can reach a maximum height of 2.5m but it can be kept to a more manageable height if desired by regular pruning which will also help it to bush out and produce more leaves.
Once nice and bushy the leaves can be harvested. Simply rip or chop them up and then cover with hot, but not boiling water. Leave to steep to allow the sweetness to be released into the water, and use this to sweeten drinks etc. The leaves can also be dried and stored in a cool and dark spot for use through the winter months.
These plants grow quickly and if you find it is getting too tall, simply prune out the central stem from the top.
Be careful not to let your plant dry out, plants kept in a container will need more regular watering, especially during hot, dry spells in the Summer.
Being deciduous it will drop its leaves in the winter and so don’t worry if they start to turn yellow in the autumn.
This plant produces thorns, and so be careful when harvesting leaves or pruning.