Hibiscus Flower Roselle Seed

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a culinary plant in the mallow family. It's also called Jamaica, Indian sorrel, Guinea sorrel, sour-sour, Queensland jelly plant, jelly okra, lemon bush, and Florida cranberry. Leaves and fleshy calyxes (which form post-flowering) are both edible.  Seeds are certified organic.

Size: Packet: 30 seeds (1.2 grams), OG

Seed companies in the United States have also taken to labeling this plant as "Thai Red Roselle." In grocery stores Hibiscus sabdariffa is erroneously marketed as "Hibiscus flowers." While the pink flowers are gorgeous in their own right, it's actually the fleshy red calyces that are dried for tea and used as food.

This plant has an otherworldly appearance and is a real joy to grow. It goes without saying that the homegrown calyces are far superior to anything that can be found in the marketplace, but these seem especially more floral and fruity. Makes a great addition to lemonade or a bioregional substitute for cranberries.

When growing hibiscus, climate is definitely a consideration. It's considered a subtropical/tropical plant, so it needs a hot climate to bare usable calyxes and gentle early falls for substantial seed set. The timing of seeding is especially vital for cooler climates. Start seeds early in a greenhouse and transplant immediately after last frost. Here in Ojai (Zone 9B), we start seedlings in April, transplant them by May, get harvestable calyxes by late July, get and herb crop in mid-November. In colder climate zones, start earlier.

Seeds can be scarified (we gently brush them with a 150-grit sandpaper) prior to planting to improve germination. It's not necessary but it helps immensely. Amending the soil with copious amounts of potassium (most especially in soils where it is lacking) increases the vigor of the plants tremendously.

See Julia Morton's entry in Fruits of warm climates offers more cultural/historical background of this plant and offers some anecdotal fertility guidance, suggesting applications of a 4-6-7 NPK.


Common Name:
Hibiscus / Jamaica / Red Roselle
Scientific Name:
Hibiscus sabdariffa
Light pink flowers give way to deep red fleshy lemon-flavored calyxes that can be peeled for tea or eaten.
Plant Lifespan:
Cold Hardiness:
Zone 9b
Light Requirements:
Full Sun (min. 6 hours a day)
Seed In:
Seeding Depth:
1/2 in.
Days to Sprout:
Optimal Soil Temperature (F):
Plant Spacing:
2-3 ft.
Average Days from Seed to Harvest:

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