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Rosella Growing Information Frances Michaels

Botanical Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
Common Names: asam balanda, bissap, edible hibiscus, flor de jamaica, grosella, karkade, lumanda, luo shen hua, meshta, omutete, paya, queensland jam plant, rajeab, rosela, roselle, saril, sorrel, susur.
Plant Family: Malvaceae.

Plant Description
A native of tropical West Africa, it prefers warm climates. Rosella is an attractive annual shrub to 1.5 m high with large, lobed reddish leaves and attractive yellow hibiscus-like flowers. Rosellas are easy to grow, with few pest problems, hardy and productive. Most soil types are suitable, provided they are rich and well-drained. Plenty of water is needed to maintain growth, flowering and fruit development, mulching is beneficial. Three to four plants is all that is needed to produce a good crop. Plants normally begin to crop when about 3 months old and cropping may continue for 9 months or until the first frost. The fruit is ready to pick about 3 weeks after flowering, when they'll be 2 - 3 cm across at their widest part.

Planting Details
Sow When: Sow in early spring in tropical areas, rosellas need at least 5 months frost-free to bear. Rosellas need a very warm soil to germinate, preferably over 25C. In southern areas of Australia this would be as late as October outside. Some years the soil might take even longer to warm up. So gardeners in cooler areas need to start seed indoors using a small bottom-heat unit, or the top of the water heater.
Planting Depth: Cover seed with 12 mm of fine soil.
Spacing: Plant several seeds 50 cm apart and thin seedlings to the strongest.

Uses
Food: the fleshy calyx is used in salads, jellies, cranberry-like sauces, jam and cordial, syrups and wine. Dried the red calyx is used for tea and it is an important ingredient in the commercial Red Zinger, Hibiscus and Fruit teas. The tea is very similar in flavour to rose-hips and high in vitamin C. Seeds are roasted and ground into flour. Young leaves can be steamed or stir-fried and are known as Red Sorrel in the Pacific.
Hedge: Rosella is an attractive annual hedge or windbreak for the summer garden.

Available as seed: Rosella

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