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Rosella Plants

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Rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa)

The rosella, Hibiscus sabdarilla, is a member of the Malvaceae family of plants. Other well known members of this family include the ornamental hibiscus, cotton, cacao and okra. It is native to India and Malaysia but long ago was naturalized by many other tropical and sub tropical countries including Australia. Because of its popularity the rosella has many names some include roselle, Jamaican Tea, Maple-Leaf Hibiscus, Florida Cranberry, October Hibiscus, Red Sorrel and the list goes on.

The Rosella bush produces red edible calyxes that are high in vitamin C. They have a pleasant tart-sweet flavour that goes well in salads, jellies, red sauces, jams, cordials, syrups, fruit teas and wine. They are often found in shops, preserved whole in syrup or liquid, as a decorative and flavoring additive for cocktails, white wine or champagne. The seeds may be roasted and ground into flour. The young leaves may be steamed or stir-fried – these are also known as red sorrel.

The rosella bush will grow to between one and two meters tall.  As the plant grows young shoots and leaves can be used both raw in salads or cooked like a spicy spinach in curries, stir fries or just as a green vegetable

After flowering, the large fleshy calyx is ready for harvesting. The first harvest is usually underwhelming, but this plant will produce a more prolific harvest after its second flowering in Autumn. Simply snip the plumpest calyxes straight off the bush.

Plant Care 

Light

Full sun or part shade

Water 

Need regular watering during summer.

Soil

It grows in all soil types, preferably in light and well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. Best to grow in a large pot as they will spread out.

Fertilizer

Liquid fertiliser during growing season around Spring to late summer. 3-4 times a year with old chicken manure.

Wind

Hardy. Young plant needing some protection from wind in order to establish

Frost

Need protection from frost. Annual plant.

Fruiting

Plants normally begin to crop when about 3 months old and cropping may continue for 9 months or until the first frost. The fruit is ready to pick about 3 weeks after flowering, when they'll be 2 - 3 cm across at their widest part

Pruning

Not needed unless if its growing too bushy. Snipping the top new growth will encourage branching.

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