Days to Full Maturity: 85 Days
Non-GMO – Heirloom – Medium Germination Rate
Minimum Seed Count: 10
Red Roselle can be found in humid subtropical locations, like Southeast Asia and the Caribbean. The plant can grow as a perennial in warm climate areas and is hardy in zone 9-11. But can be grown and harvested as an annual in zones that have warm summers. A mature Roselle plant can grow up to 6’ wide and 8’ tall. In late summer, it is covered in big beautiful hibiscus-like flowers. When these flowers fade, their calyces are what’s harvested for use, however, the entire plant can be used, the bright red plant stems are used for making a fiber similar to jute, and its fruits are harvested for beverages, sauces, jellies, and wine. The hibiscus roselles contain high levels of antioxidants such as gossypetin, flavonoids, hibiscetine, and sabdaretine. The fresh calyces are rich in riboflavin, ascorbic acid, niacin, carotene (vitamin A), calcium, iron, and Vitamin C. The red roselle tastes similar to cranberry but less bitter and is high in pectins which makes it excellent for jellies.
How to grow:
In early spring, start seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before outdoor temperatures are reliably in the 50°F. I recommend soaking seeds overnight or nicking the hard shell before planting. Sow seeds 1/4 inch deep and 1 inch apart in seed starting mix in a small pot or seedling tray. When 2 inches tall, transplant seedlings into individual 4-inch pots. Keep the soil warm 75 to 80°F and moist but not soggy in partial shade. Gradually acclimate seedlings to the outdoors this plant prefers full sun. It’s necessary to expose the seedling to full sun to avoid them from becoming “leggy” which can affect mature plants. Full sun is necessary for a good yield of the calyx.
For Containers: choose pots 18 inches in diameter and 16 to 18 inches tall.
Early pruning will increase branching and the development of more flowering shoots. Roselle does best in well-drained soil and appreciates watering when rainfall is inadequate. After flowers have finished blooming, harvest the deep-red, teardrop-shaped, calyxes at the base of each blossom. Snap off calyxes that are ready, removing spent flowers if still attached Use fresh, or air-dry for longer storage. Calyces stay fresh for about a week after picking. Harvesting encourages more flower buds to develop. You don’t need a lot of plants to get a bountiful harvest, one plant can give you as much as 12 pounds with the right care. However, it cannot tolerate frost and requires a lot of moisture to grow happily.