Ask a Question forum: Hibiscus Roselle

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Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Nov 13, 2015 6:35 PM CST
I am interested in growing red hibiscus for making tea. Specifically kombucha tea. Someone told me this is the variety they use and I was wondering if anyone has any experience with growing it? It looks like it matures late and gets pretty big but other than that, I'm not really sure about anything else.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 13, 2015 7:16 PM CST
It is not necessary to have the Roselle/Jamaice/red hibiscus to make Kombucha. My DD uses good quality black tea and sugar and adds the SCOBY.
Here is a helpful article.
http://www.diynatural.com/how-...

We can grow the Roselle here in Savannah, Georgia, zone 8b.
In 2013 I got a late start with my seeds; here they are on June 15th

but they still had enough time to mature.
Here are the same plants Sept 2013:

and on Nov 12 2013 ready to harvest

My friend Jane grows the Roselle. Here it is in her garden Oct 3 2015
Thumb of 2015-11-14/greene/d203e8

Since you are a 1/2 zone cooler I would suggest starting the seeds indoors under lights to get ahead start. You should enjoy a good harvest.
This is as easy to grow as Okra. Good luck. Thumbs up
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
[Last edited by greene - Nov 13, 2015 7:17 PM (+)]
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Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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Horntoad
Nov 13, 2015 7:20 PM CST
Mine have only gotten about 4 feet tall. I had poor luck with it this year. I had one plant in a good location in full sun. I got about 4 feet tall and about 3 wide covered in buds, but some bad weather uprooted it and it never recovered. I have another but it is growing in shade and is not nearly as bushy. It started to bloom last week but there are only a few buds. They are short day bloomers so you won't get buds until October or November. Then it's a rush to see how many pods you can harvest before a killing frost. One good thing is for tea you don't wait for the pods to mature like you would if you wanted seeds. On one site I read you can harvest them about 10 days after the blooms drop.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Nov 13, 2015 7:28 PM CST
@greene I realize I don't need them to make kombucha but I am looking to add them to my second fermentation. I had planned on starting them inside but I just wasn't sure how early. I did read not to let them get root bound.

Jay, that's good info. I would like to be able to save some seeds if possible too since they are a bit pricey. But you don't use the petals at all? I read the leaves are good to use as well. But I suppose the calyx is what is mainly used?

Wow, last year we had an early frost and this year tonight is supposed to be our first frost so it could be iffy I guess. I was planning on growing quite a few and harvesting and drying them. Do you think covering the bush would work if there is an early frost?


Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 13, 2015 7:31 PM CST
In 2013 I grew them in large pots so I could move them here and there as the weather required. Some nights I set the pots under some pine trees; other nights I carried the 5 foot tall plants into the house to keep them warm. They are fun to grow and worth the effort.
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Deborah
midstate South Carolina (Zone 8a)
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Deebie
Nov 14, 2015 9:42 PM CST
Arlene, it wouldn't hurt to cover them to protect them from early frost. I want to try growing some myself. Drooling So I'm all I'm all ears!
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Nov 16, 2015 8:18 PM CST
One of my favorites, I like the drink but it also makes a good jelly. I've grown Roselle in my zone 7b with very good success. If grown from seed outdoors, they do not sprout until the soil warms, around here that's sometime in May. It's true that they do not fruit until October, but that hasn't been a problem here in northeast, Tx. I grow them as an annual.

Here's a couple of good links:
https://pearlculture.wordpress...
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcro...
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Nov 16, 2015 9:06 PM CST
Back when I was researching the Roselle I found an interesting video. It's not in English but you can see the method of removing the seed pod from the calyx by using a simple home made tool - a broken umbrella handle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?...
Sunset Zone 28, AHS Heat Zone 9, USDA zone 8b~~"Leaf of Faith"
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Nov 16, 2015 9:12 PM CST
Great video! Thanks. Good information to know.
Name: Dean
Renton, WA (Zone 8a)
duckinn
Jul 31, 2016 9:23 AM CST
any luck in growing blooming hibiscus under lights?
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Jul 31, 2016 9:38 AM CST
So far, so good, except, some flowered early and I was thinking they were getting ready to flower. When I checked closer, they had already made seeds so I saved them and won't have to worry about doing that later. I haven't made tea yet but will continue collecting the calyx. Turns out a friend grows them for tea and they have a CSA they are looking to share some with the members. She had more plants than she needed and I have given them our excess produce many times so she shared some plants. I got five and planted them in my regular flower bed at home. I have ten or so at the farm. They haven't gotten very tall, but are very bushy. I'll try and get a photo. The ones here are tall and just starting to fill out but they were tall and lanky when she gave them to me. I was hoping by having some hear it would trigger a reminder to me to check the ones at the farm since we are no longer doing farmer's market and don't go to the farm every day anymore.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Jan 29, 2017 8:24 PM CST
And how did you germinate them and get them growing?
I have sown some seeds, but now I see in the database that they should be scarified? The package did not say to scarify?
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
Greenhouse Region: Georgia Garden Sages Organic Gardener Beekeeper Vegetable Grower
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abhege
Feb 15, 2017 9:50 PM CST
Dig them up and do it. That's what I ended up doing to some and it worked. I was happy with my harvest that I dehydrated for kombucha. But I haven't started any seeds this year so I guess I had better get busy!

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