Hibiscus Species, Red-Leaf Hibiscus, False Roselle, African Rose Mallow

Hibiscus acetosella

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus) (Info)
Species: acetosella (a-kee-TOE-sell-uh) (Info)
» View all varieties of Hibiscus


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Late Fall/Early Winter


Grown for foliage


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

Wear gloves to protect hands when handling seeds

Foliage Color:



Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

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:

, (2 reports)

Tempe, Arizona

Bella Vista, California

Carpinteria, California

Clayton, California

Fresno, California

Los Angeles, California

Redlands, California

Richmond, California

San Diego, California

Winchester, California

Apopka, Florida

Cocoa, Florida

Crescent City, Florida

Dunedin, Florida

Fort Myers, Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Micanopy, Florida

Mulberry, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

North Fort Myers, Florida (2 reports)

North Port, Florida

Oakland, Florida

Ocoee, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida

Riverview, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sarasota, Florida (2 reports)

Tampa, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Venus, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Barbourville, Kentucky

Zachary, Louisiana

Bellevue, Michigan

Gautier, Mississippi

Saint Joseph, Missouri

Mesilla Park, New Mexico

Kure Beach, North Carolina

Cayce, South Carolina

Memphis, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

Corpus Christi, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Emory, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

San Marcos, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 3, 2017, erleyedit from Memphis, TN wrote:

I love the deep purple leaves and blooms of this perennial hibiscus and the bushy habit. I bought it at a local garden shop, a good one. I thought I had lost it after a hard freeze during the first winter I had it. I am in Memphis TN, Zone 7. But it finally came back and has continued to return every year. But the leaves are no longer purple, and it has not bloomed again. I have it in a large pot that I can move around my deck. Is it just not getting enough sun? Does it need a special fertilizer or acidity to be purple? Was it a hybrid that reverted to green leaves after it froze out? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.


On Jan 31, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This is commonly planted here in the north (Boston, Z6a) in containers or as summer bedding, for the beautiful burgundy foliage. I've never seen it bloom here, but I think the foliage alone is worth the trouble of planting it annually.

Grows quickly, needs regular pruning to keep it bushy.


On Jan 31, 2015, susan0 from North Port, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

North Port, FL: Received a plant at a master gardener swap, and three years later enjoying one of its decedents mostly for the gorgeous deep red foliage but also the pink, dark-veined flowers. This plant made friends with my new neighbor by producing lots of flowers on her side of the shrub (South). As reported by others, it does get top-heavy and need staking if you don't keep it trimmed. Gets woody and may die in a year or two, but new plants will volunteer or you can start them from seed. Likes water and sun, but not the hottest, west sun.


On Dec 8, 2012, kimturner from Gulfport, FL wrote:

Bought this plant from the Green Thumb Festival in Saint Petersburg, FL this year (I think in May or June). It was a little over a foot tall. I replanted it in a 10" pot in my garden. Now it's nearly 8 feet tall and the blooms are a deep red and beautiful. I see the flowers in the early morning, but by noon, when it receives direct sun, the flowers shrivel. Where are the seeds on the plant? And if I cut branches, is it easy to root by sticking the cuttings in a pot?


On Aug 28, 2012, Tuscawilla from Micanopy, FL wrote:

Vigorous, beautiful plant. Tends to be leggy and should be pruned to keep a shrub like form. Cuttings root easily and quickly. Just shove cutting in the ground. If you let it get too tall you will need to stake it. Mine gets a good bit of sun, but not full sun. I am in zone 8b-9a.


On Sep 10, 2010, Wrinkledlight from Palm Bay, FL wrote:

I have about 8 of these plants growing in my backyard. I grew all of them from seed I took from some plants growing in an empty lot. They are very easy to grow. I have also used the leaves like spinach or cooked them with other greens too. They have a mild tart/lemony flavor.


On Oct 11, 2008, dayondon_mildzS from maramag,
Philippines wrote:

is already popular?..well, i just want to know if this plant do have any medicinal uses... it grows in our place..


On Feb 28, 2008, lcosden from Pawling, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Also known as granberry hibiscus over in Japan


On Feb 20, 2008, jganjay from North Fort Myers, FL wrote:

Not only a beautiful plant but a nutritious edible as well! The leaves are quite tasty in salads and in many other uses.


On Oct 8, 2007, garduncan from Melbourne, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

I cooked some of the leaves like spinach and found them to have a sweet tart citrussy flavor.


On Nov 3, 2006, Zingy from Titusville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just had these plants identified for me. We spread compost and wood chips from the recycling center this spring, and we had a slew of interesting stuff pop up. Three of these plants popped up -- two of them grew to over 8 feet very quickly. I thought they were red maples, so I trimmed them like trees. Duh! on me!! I hope they overwinter here in Titusville Fl. Still no flowers -- hope I didn't put them into shock trimming them like trees.

We also have 3 gorgeous Senna alata with huge yellow flowers that popped up. That was a great load of mulch we got this spring!!


On Oct 26, 2006, JudyinPascoCoFl wrote:

Although I was not familiar with this plant, I loved the uniquieness of the leaf shape & color when I spotted it at a local nursery. Unfortunately, they weren't able to give me much info on it. I planted it about a month ago, and it has really taken off! I couldn't understand why it seemed to want to grow horizontally along the ground though. After reading info at this site I've purchased a wooden trellis for each plant and they look amazing! No flowers as yet, but I'm hopeful. One tip: As you trim the branches, remove the lower leaves from the cut section,
dip the cut end in a little root stimulator powder, and put it in the ground. Water well and the cutting will take root and develope a new plant, much like a Dracaena will do.
I love plants that keep on giving!


On Jul 26, 2005, vossner from Richmond, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

started my plant from seed. Very slow starting but all of a sudden it took off like a bandit. As of this writing, has buds all over. beautiful plant.


On Dec 26, 2004, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

This vigorous bush has leaves that are a redish-purple color in full sun, making a striking specimen plant or border plant! In the shade, the leaves are a deep green with redish-purple viens. When not in bloom, many passersby often think they are Japanese Maple. To top it off, the flowers are a beautiful light pink with dark pink viens and are shaped like little cups and go all the way up each stem of the plant, blooming each fall with a profusion of color! These hibiscus will easily reach a height of 10 in one season and bloom the first year they are planted. You may keep them trimmed back into a hedge or let them grow tall. For the most blooms, cut the top of the plant back (take about 2-3 inches off) when the plants are 2' high, this will make the plant send out side branches; trim ea... read more


On Aug 1, 2004, ReggieattheGulf from Englewood, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

This beautiful burgandy colored leaf Hibiscus grows like a weed in Charlotte County, Florida. And it grows BIG! Best to chop it down in February and let it grow anew. Flowers from dawn to midday and dies. Invasive by seed. Not yet tried to eat the leaves in my salad.


On Nov 15, 2003, TheWildchild from Candler, NC (Zone 6b) wrote:

I found this plant growing wild in a vacant field by my home. The field is going to be bulldozed for building so I dug up 2 of them to plant in my garden.I found the plant to be interesting but I had no clue what it was. To my surprise it gave me a wonderful show of beautiful blooms yesterday morning. I found that they close in the evenings and re-open in the morning. I have also seen today that Bees and Butterflies are attracted to it.
Thanks to the wonderful folks here...I got my answer to what these plants were! :-)


On Oct 2, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

A friend gave me a cutting of this plant last Spring and told me it wasn't hardy here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, so I put it in a large pot intending to protect it over the next Winter. However, it is now about eight feet tall and bent over from the weight of the leaves and all the Summer rain. So I took some cuttings of my own and stuck them straight into our sandy soil, but still in a pot, and they took.

The first plant is way too big to try to protect this Winter, so I think I will plant it into the ground in a semi-shady place under some trees where it will get some protection from frost. My own cuttings are still small, growing in a pot, so will get protected over Winter. Hopefully I will still have both plants next Spring.

The leaves are very ... read more


On Oct 1, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

This is a nice maroon plant to grow where it stays warm enough. Its only real problem is that it tends to become top-heavy and flop over, so grow along the ground and through other things. Sometimes this is very pleasing, sometimes it isn't. It is easy to grow where it can lean on a fence. You can eat the new leaves, they have a nice tangy taste. I've grown these off and on over the last 10 years or so. They tend to be somewhat short-lived for me, but not terribly so. I have not tried making more from cuttings, but I will have to as some gardening friends have expressed interest.