United States Edition


Hibiscus sabdariffa

Roselle is part of the Hibiscus genus and its scientific name is Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Although originally native to South Africa Native Rosella is now considered to be native in most of the northern parts of Australia.

A woody sub shrub growing 7-8 feet (2-1.5m) tall, acting as an annual or perennial.

This variety typically blooms in the following colours:   Crimson and   Pale pink and   Antique white. The mature flowers are of a single form. The leaves of this particular variety normally show as   Islamic green and   OU Crimson Red colour. Roselle grows as an annual and is a flowering edible legume / flower. Being an annual plant, it tends to grow best over the course of a single year. Normally reaching to a mature height of 6.50 feet (2.00 metres). This plant tends to bloom in mid autumn, followed by first harvests in late autumn.

South Africa is believed to be where Roselle originates from.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Roselle have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Roselle

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Irrigation: Mature plants are highly drought resistant but may
require water during dry periods when soil moisture is depleted to the point
where wilting occurs.

Nutrition: A side dressing of NPK and dolomite before planting will
promote early growth on soils that are marginally fertile, otherwise fertiliser
is rarely necessary unless the soil is completely deficient in nutrients.

Harvest: The inflated and ripened outer fleshy casings (calyces) should be
ready for harvest 20 days after flowering. The inside seedpod should be still
green when fruit is picked, although fruit can remain on the plant until the
pods mature and seeds disperse. A yield of 1.5 kg of calyces per plant can
be obtained (approx 8 t/ha). Young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw or
cooked as a vegetable and are harvested when required. Yield for leaves,
is about 10 t/ha.

Post Harvest: Store fresh at 7-10?C at a humidity of 90–95%.

Pests and Diseases: Root-knot nematodes, caterpillars, leaf spot
(Cercospora sp), and black spot.

Plant in a location that enjoys artificial lighting / artificial lighting and remember to water very often. Zone 1 to 14 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Roselle requires a chalky, loamy and peat-rich soil with a ph of 7.6 - 9.0 - it grows best in weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Roselle is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

See our list of companion Plants for Roselle to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Roselle from seed

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 1.46 feet (45.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.39 inches (1.0 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 24°C / 75°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Roselle

Ground Preparation: Soil should be deep ripped and formed into
wide beds.

A green manure crop grown and turned in before planting is

Seed can be broadcast onto beds and thinned to 60–80 cm apart or
as seedlings and transplanted into rows 80–100 cm apart. Seeds should be planted during the early wet season as rosella is a
short day-length plant and requires 12–12 ½ hours of daylight to flower.

Ensure that temperatures are mild (minimum night temperatures should be around 22°C / 72°F) and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Roselle is a tender plant.

Harvesting Roselle

Nowadays the red calyx is commonly used in jams and cordials

Flowers are edible and the petals and leaves can be used fresh salads, the tender young leaves may be cooked as spinach 1

Seed Saving Roselle

Let the calyces dry and pick when the interior seed pod has opened. Seed Viability is two to three years.

Common Roselle problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Roselle plants:

Susceptible to root knot nematodes, therefore, do not plant in the same place every year.

Roselle Folklore & Trivia

Traditionally, shoots, leaves and roots were eaten without preparation, flowers were eaten raw or cooked and the fibre was used to make dilly bags and hunting nets. 1

Other names for Roselle

Roselle thai red, Native rosella, Jamaican Tea, Maple-leaf hibiscus, Florida Cranberry, October hibiscus, red Sorrell, Flor de Jamaica

Latest Roselle Reviews

  • 26 Feb 2015

    Kevalsha Kevalsha's Roselle Celeste's was Reviewed day 359

    We had an excellent turn out with just 9 of these plants. We let them go to seed and now I am collecting seeds for planting more. I am going to start 10 plants because they will all come up. We used them for teas and for making jelly.

    5 stars

  • 08 Jan 2014

    Scha Scha's Roselle was Reviewed day 351

    Very easy to take care of. Grows even taller than my tall husband.

    5 stars

See all Roselle reviews and experiences »

Roselle care instructions

How long does Roselle take to grow?

These estimates for how long Roselle takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!


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