Kenaf, Brown Indian Hemp 'Dowling'

Hibiscus cannabinus

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus) (Info)
Species: cannabinus (kan-na-BIN-us) (Info)
Cultivar: Dowling
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8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Bloom Color:

Pale Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Brooksville, Florida

Austin, Texas

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 2, 2005, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Kenaf (Hibicus Canabinus L.) is an annual, non-wood fiber plant indigenous to central Africa. Akin to okra and cotton, kenaf grows to heights of 12 to 18 feet in a six-month growing season.

Kenaf produces 5 to 10 tons of dry fiber per acre, consisting of external bast fibers (about 1/3 of the plant) and internal core fibers (the remaining 2/3 of the plant).

Uses of the fiber range from paper, grass mats, fiberglass substitutes, animal bedding, oil-absorbent materials, chicken and cat litter, animal forage, particle board, and potting soil, to name a few.

It is related to cotton and okra, as well as roselle. Kenaf has two leaf conformations, entire or divided. All kenaf plants start life with entire leaves. As they grow, some cultivars start to ... read more