Rosella Growing Information
© Frances Michaels
Botanical Name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
asam balanda, bissap, edible hibiscus, flor de jamaica, grosella,
karkade, lumanda, luo shen hua, meshta, omutete, paya, queensland jam plant, rajeab, rosela, roselle, saril,
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.
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 25°C. 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
Cover seed with 12 mm of fine soil.
Plant several seeds 50 cm apart and thin seedlings to the strongest.
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
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.
Rosella is an attractive annual hedge or windbreak for the summer garden.
Available as seed: Rosella