Hibiscus Species, Roselle, Jamaican Tea, Maple-Leaf Hibiscus, Florida Cranberry, October Hibiscus, R

Hibiscus sabdariffa

Family: Malvaceae (mal-VAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hibiscus (hi-BIS-kus) (Info)
Species: sabdariffa (sab-duh-RIF-fuh) (Info)
Synonym:Furcaria sabdariffa
Synonym:Hibiscus cruentus
Synonym:Hibiscus fraternus
Synonym:Hibiscus palmatilobus
Synonym:Sabdariffa rubra
» View all varieties of Hibiscus
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4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


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:

Pale Pink


Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Mid Fall

Late Fall/Early Winter



Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect 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 is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chandler, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Corona, California

Huntington Beach, California

Los Angeles, California(2 reports)

San Pedro, California

Bartow, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Daytona Beach, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hollywood, Florida

Kissimmee, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Lutz, Florida

Mc Intosh, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Palm Bay, Florida

Panama City, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Port Orange, Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Sebring, Florida

Titusville, Florida

Trenton, Florida

Venice, Florida

Webster, Florida

Welaka, Florida

Winter Park, Florida

Winter Springs, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida(2 reports)

Honolulu, Hawaii

Pukalani, Hawaii

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

Xenia, Ohio

Vida, Oregon

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Nashville, Tennessee

Belton, Texas

Donna, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

San Augustine, Texas

Schulenburg, Texas

Sinton, Texas

Temple, Texas

Waller, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 8, 2019, JennysGarden_TN from Collierville, TN wrote:

I grow Roselle every year to harvest its calyxes for tea and leaves for culinary use. It produces endless pretty flowers. Its bright red buds and dark, deeply lobed foliage attract attention.


On Jun 20, 2017, janelp_lee from Toronto, ON (Zone 6a) wrote:

There is also a less common White Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) with white flowers and white fruit.


On Nov 2, 2016, kristeenryan from Panama City, FL wrote:

I was given 5 very small cuttings of Roselle hibiscus on September 10th of this year and all 5 have grown immensely and I have just started to get flowers! I am very much looking forward to harvesting them and trying to make a drink.

I had never heard of them prior to receiving these tiny cuttings. 4 of them are between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 feet tall and the 5th is almost 2 feet tall already and all of them are covered with buds.

They are so pretty. I will certainly be adding to my 5 and I think I will create a garden back wall with them. I wish there was a way to share photos on here,

I am in Panama City, Fl.


On Oct 25, 2016, malsprower from Daytona, FL wrote:

Never expected them to flourish in my poor sandy soil, but they sure did, topping a total of 8 feet tall at the moment. I was expecting them to grow only 5 feet tall so I got a surprise. These plants survived hurricane Matthew and I used a thick rope to keep the bunch tied together for the storm, I live 1 mile from the ocean, 20 feet from the intercoastal, and we got a direct hit. The wind blew them down from the east. I propped them back up and they are doing awesome despite the beating, they are towering above my boyfriend, who is 6' 4". First bloom opened today, I will grow these again and again, as I heard they are annual. I never water them or feed them, seems like they handle life on their own quite well.


On Nov 8, 2015, Xtal from Temple, TX wrote:

An annual here in Central Texas. VERY low water. Because of our recent series of heavy rains, they have all fallen over. They certainly didn't like it when I watered them. I lost a couple. I promised not to water anymore. The tea is fantastic. I'll alway have this in my garden.


On Oct 5, 2014, williamca from Plant City, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Grown from cuttings from the Community Garden the flowers are the same color as the red foliage. Seeds from this clone produced green plants but the flowers which are beginning to appear have not matured so I'll watch them while they mature. It is a lovely addition to a tropical garden. Wikipedia has a good description and interesting details.


On Oct 12, 2012, JerseyGirl711 from Millington, NJ wrote:

We are going to get our first heavy frost tonight in Morris County, NJ so I dug up my 4 roselle plants and potted them to spend the winter in the garage. They are covered with flower buds - has anyone else tried transplanting them at this stage? They are between 2 and 3 feet tall and a little spindly as they were growing in the shade of 4 foot tall lemon grass ( which I have also just potted up for the winter). Hope they both make it - otherwise it's gonna be Thai soup for dinner next week!


On Dec 29, 2010, seminole_CFL from Winter Springs, FL wrote:

We grew three sorrel plants from seedlings, planted in June 26. By late November the plants were huge, 4 or 5 feet in diameter, lovely spheres of sorrelness. We harvested a LOT calyxes for sorrel drink and dried some for mailing to family up in NYC.

Obtained our seedlings from local organic nursery.


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

I am growing about 30 of these plants for the first time. I started them all from seed in the ground. I purchased my seed from rareseeds.com. I have used the leaves cooked with other greens. I find it better that way instead of by themselves. They have a very tart/lemony flavor. Very good. Starting at the end of August they started to bloom and produce the calyces.


On Jul 1, 2010, merginglight from Gravette, AR wrote:

I purchased Red Thai Roselle seeds (collected from Thailand) from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds because I had read that the leaves and the calyxes of this specific plant can be made into a drink and a sweet sauce.
I started my Roselle seeds indoors on March 5th and thenmoved them outdoors once they took, but to my surprise we had two snow storms, which set my
seedlings back quite a bit. I started roughly 6 seeds and only three took and grew into seedlings. Of the three, only one has matured. One seedling was put near garlic and was slightly shaded and it never developed past it's two first leaves. The other two I put in two year old loose compost. One plant never developed past it's first two leaves, but the other one finally developed other leaves and is now two foot high and... read more


On Sep 25, 2008, kdaustin from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In my area its not perennial, so you have to store it over the winter. Pretty not spectacular though. Can be rangy.I bought it 8 years ago at a herb show, my little 4" pot grew to be 3' x 2' in the garden. I couldn't find info about hardiness at the time, and it froze. However if you were growing it purely for culinary purposed it would be worthwhile, the flavor is delish and rather unusual.


On Jul 5, 2008, Darmananda from New Iberia, LA wrote:

This plant was grown as a vegetable plant in Burma, where I grew up. They are grown seasonally. They are mainly used for soup. The Burmese add fish to it and make a delicious sour soup. Add a few chilies and you get a very tasty soup that is very good for clearing up your sinus system! This soup is especially good because it is winter (that's when this plant likes to grow when no other vegetable want to bother). Both leaves and seedbags (the budlike things (fruits) in which the seeds are stored) can be eaten. Use only the skin of the fruit. You can also put the flower in the soup to make it creamy! Now in the US, I didn't know what this plant was called or does it exist in the US? Then I remembered the flowers kinda looked like hibiscus so I searched for keyword "edible hibiscus" on Google... read more


On Nov 5, 2007, melgir from Santa Monica, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

Beautiful and It grows fine in zone 10b, coastal Southern California, but it got off to a slow start. It would not germinate outside during our mostly cool summers. Hot weather comes in Sept and doesn't last long enough to allow much time for the plant to produce prolifically. Now, In early Nov., the plant is starting to get downy mildew from the bottom(from overnight & morning fog perhaps?). No one knows which parts of the plant to use or how to dry or prepare it. Attempts to dry resulted in mold. Any suggestions?


On Oct 22, 2006, onalee from Brooksville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Roselle is a WONDERFUL plant in the home landscape and one that I am truly impressed with for it's ease of care and beauty. Fifty years ago it was widely grown in Florida as a summertime hedge and for its edible calyces and I don't know why it still isn't! I have found these to be PEST FREE, super easy to grow, will take FLORIDA full sun with no problem and require NO TRIMMING to form a beautifully shaped shrub.

The dark green leaves contrast nicely with the red stems and petioles, making it a beautiful specimen even before it starts to bloom. In the fall the plants EXPLODE with flowers that start the day yellow with a light blush of pink and end the day as a dark, dusty rose color. Although each flower is only about 3" across and lasts only a day, they bushes are covered i... read more


On Jul 31, 2006, gregr18 from Bridgewater, MA (Zone 6b) wrote:

If you ever go to a Senegalese restaurant, ask for a drink called Bissap. It is the Senegalese national drink and is made from the dried flowers of this Hibiscus.

I thought it was pretty good, but I forget exactly what it tasted like.


On Jan 9, 2004, anomina from Bradenton, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

this plant is known all over the caribbean and latin america for the tea made from its flowers which is a popular soft drink. the dried flowers are sold in bulk in the markets and brewed and sweetened to taste. i do not know the chemical properties of the drink but it is very tasty and has the tartness of cranberry. i have grown it here in west central florida and it is quite available if you keep a lookout on the roads or ask other gardeners.


On Jul 15, 2003, nusi from Sebring, FL wrote:

I was born and raised in Sebring Fl. As a child we made what we call the Florida cranberry jam. It is made from the sepals of the seed pod. I am very much interested in obtaining a plant or some seeds. It will not take the cold weather. I do know it will grow here in Sebring as we are about mid state and do not have the extreme cold weather.
I am very fond of the plant. and would like to grow it again. I am retired.


On Nov 25, 2002, Peanut123 wrote:

I have two plants that I started from seed in the middle of the year they are about four feet tall now (11/02). The flowers are a light burgundy with deep burgundy center, about two inches in diameter. I obtained the seed from a lady in Ocala,Fl. and I live in N.W. Fl. I don't know if they will live outside through the winter or not, I have them in pots in the green house. More info.as I follow their growth and fruiting,if they do fruit.