Hibiscus sabdariffa. [Tender perennial usually grown as an annual. Germination: best temp 75-85°F;7-14 days. Transplant. Full sun. 36-60" height]
Beautiful 3-5' high hibiscus-family plants with red stems, leaf margins, and calyxes. The bright red calyxes make a "zingy" tea, sauce, or jam. The tea is widely popular in Egypt where it's called karkade. Roselle was called "Florida cranberry" in the 1890s and is still sometimes called sorrel or Jamaica sorrel. The creamy-white flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang. It is also grown in warmer areas as a thick ornamental annual hedge. We tried a number of varieties and Thai Red was the only one to begin flowering by mid-summer here in Virginia.
Roselle Culture: grow similarly to tomatoes. Start indoors 1-2 months before setting out after last frost. Space plants 3 feet apart, in rows 5 feet apart. Prefers full sun. Keep unmulched, evenly moist, and well-weeded until 18-24" high. Then mulch to control weeds.
Harvest the red calyxes anytime. Simmer them fresh or dried to make tea or jelly (they contain natural pectin).
Seed saving: harvest the calyxes when dry and interior seed pod has opened. If calyxes are not already dried before first frost, cut branches off plants to let them finish drying down and maturing indoors. Pkt (0.6g, 20 seeds)
See the Mother Earth News article on how Hibiscus (Roselle) tea can lower blood pressure naturally >>
Read about how to grow Roselle >>
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