Growing Your Own Hibiscus Sabdariffa Plant

Updated on October 10, 2018

Overview

While Hibiscus sabdariffa is a native plant of the tropics, given the right care they are also perfectly capable of being grown and harvested in northern climates with seasonal temperatures. Also known as roselle or sorrel, they are similar to humans in that they thrive best and are healthiest in conditions of moderation. Whether you are dealing with temperature, water, or fertilizer, too much or too little is harmful. Moderation is key, and a healthy hibiscus will produce quality calyxes for consumption.

Source

Seeding

Be sure to nick the bottom of the seed, the flat part, before planting. If there is no seed meat, it will not grow. If you do not live in a climate that has reasonably predictable spring weather or weather that is too wet, it is best to plant hibiscus seeds in early spring in trays. You can then be in a position to move them indoors if the weather becomes hostile. Wait until they are established enough to not be tipped over by an exceptionally hard rain to plant them in the garden. Tipping can kill a new seedling quickly. It is probably safe to move them outside after they get to be about three inches tall. Seeds will typically germinate between ten days to three weeks after planting. After planting the seeds, keep them lightly watered, enough to keep the soil moist but not wet. Spray them with a mist bottle three or four times per day.

Pot or Garden Planting

If you live in a cooler climate and don't have a greenhouse or an adequate place indoors, you may need to adjust the time of planting described above accordingly to ensure there will be no temperatures that are too cold. Hibiscus sabdariffa can die at temperatures below 40 F or 4 C. If you live in an area with frequent frosts, planting in ground may not be an option. If in doubt, grow your hibiscus in containers.

When planting outside, choose an area that will be in full sunlight. If you live in a consistently warm climate, this is not as critical. In most circumstances, however, they thrive best with as much sunlight as possible. The soil needs to be made to not retain water. If you don't have any well drained soil on your property, you will need to adjust the area where you decide to plant by adding a few inches worth of a combination of sand and peat moss. The ideal ratio should be 2:1:1 of soil, peat moss, and sand, respectively.

Immature Hibiscus sabdariffa that, climate permitting, is ready to be ground planted.
Immature Hibiscus sabdariffa that, climate permitting, is ready to be ground planted.

Maintenance Care

Water the soil when it becomes dry to the touch. To reiterate, water only enough to make the soil moist, not wet.

It is critical to use the right type of fertilizer. The fertilizer needs to be one with low phosphorus, moderate nitrogen, and high potassium. Fertilize every two to three weeks. If the leaves are turning brown at the tips, that is a sign they are getting too much nitrogen. That is a warning sign of stress, but don't panic, just prune the bad leaves and adjust your fertilizer frequency. Hidden Valley Hibiscus recommends a 17N - 5P - 24K fertilizer. The most critical aspect of the fertilizer is that the phosphorus content is low. Too much phosphorus can sicken a hibiscus in a matter of a couple weeks.

Apart from freezing temperatures, a grown, established hibiscus usually gives ample notice of stress before it is killed. The usual sign that you are doing something wrong is when the leaves turn yellow. Look at what they may have been getting in excess. Remember how the recent weather has been. The most common reasons for leaves turning yellow are the wrong amount of water, too cold of a temperature, not enough water, or the wrong amount of nutrients. While too much nitrogen will turn leaves brown, most other problems will cause yellow leaves. If they are not getting enough sunlight, you will need to move them. This is a less extensive task if they are potted rather than in ground. If it has been cold lately, pay more attention to the weather forecast, and bring them indoors. If their soil is too wet, cut down on the amount of water.

Harvesting the Calyx

Calyxes are easiest to remove and cut when they are fresh. When they are first fully grown, they can be snapped off of the plant quite easily by hand. If you wait until they harden, then you will probably need to use pruners.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Marybess 

        5 years ago

        My plants are huge and beautiful. No blooms!

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        5 years ago from sunny Florida

        Yes, I would like one please. Interesting plants need a home in my yard. Thank you for sharing this. Did I miss this? Is it related to the hibiscus with the lovely flowers?

        Angels are on the way to you today ps

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)