Edible hibiscus? How to grow and use Hibiscus sabdariffa

Edible hibiscus? How to grow and use Hibiscus sabdariffa thumbnail
Tyrant Farms is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Certain hibiscus plants don’t just make beautiful flowers, they can also make wonderful edible plants! In this article, you’ll learn more how to ID, grow, and use edible hibiscus, specifically Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Ready to learn about edible hibiscus plants? Use the links in the table of contents to jump right to the section you’re interested in or read the whole article:

Table of contents:

1. An introduction to edible hibiscus and Hibiscus sabdariffa 
2. Edible parts of Hibiscus sabdariffa and how to use them
3. How to grow Hibiscus sabdariffa from seed
4. How to harvest hibiscus calyxes for food or seed saving
5. How to make hibiscus tea and other hibiscus recipes
6. Where to buy certified organic Hibiscus sabdariffa seeds, tea, or powder

1. An introduction to edible hibiscus and Hibiscus sabdariffa 

Many people have heard of hibiscus plants and can even identify a hibiscus flower. After all, the plants are quite common in traditional landscapes where they’re beloved for their large, showy flowers which bloom throughout the summer or even longer in warmer climate zones.

Are all hibiscus plants edible?

While hibiscus plants are valued for their beauty, there is another side to these plants that you should know about: many of them are edible. The edible parts of a hibiscus plant are the flowers, leaves, and fruit aka “calyxes.”

Some people say that all hibiscus plants are edible, although given the number of varieties (including new hybrid varieties) that abound, that’s a riskier claim than we’re willing to make. We recommend getting hibiscus varieties that are bred and known specifically for their edibility.

The best edible hibiscus that we know of is Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Edible Hibiscus sabdariffa: a plant with many names

For over a decade, we’ve enjoyed growing and eating Hibiscus sabdariffa, which goes by many other common names including:

  • Florida cranberry,
  • cranberry hibiscus,
  • roselle,
  • Jamaica sorrel, and others.

Yes, this plant has quite a few common names, which is why we use the botanical name Hibiscus sabdariffa to avoid confusion! For instance, this is NOT the same plant as the also-edible hibiscus known as ‘False Roselle,’ (Hibiscus acetosella).

Origins and basic information

Hibiscus sabdariffa is a subspecies best known for its edibility, and it’s the hibiscus variety traditionally used to make hibiscus tea. It’s a large, fast-growing, sun-loving shrub native to West Africa.

In our climate zone (7b), Hibiscus sabdariffa grows as an annual, similar to tomatoes. However, in warm, tropical regions it grows as a perennial. 

Flowers, leaves, and calyxes of edible Hibiscus sabdariffa.

Flowers, leaves, and calyxes of edible Hibiscus sabdariffa.

As you might be able to tell from the flower structure (see above), hibiscus is in the Mallow family, and closely related to okra and cotton.

It’s interesting to note that marshmallows (the confection) used to be made from actual Mallow plants closely related to hibiscus, back before the advent of corn starch and high fructose corn syrup.

2. What parts of Hibiscus sabdariffa are edible?

The calyxes, leaves, and flower petals of Hibiscus sabdariffa are edible. 

Edible Hibiscus sabdariffa plant at Oak Hill Cafe & Farm. The plant's leaves, flowers, and calyxes are edible.

The Tyrant showing off an edible Hibiscus sabdariffa plant at Oak Hill Cafe & Farm. The plant’s leaves, flowers, and calyxes are edible.

a. Calyxes

What is a hibiscus calyx? The calyx is technically the fused sepals of the flower; attached directly to the stem of the plant, it’s the first part of the flower to develop. 

Hibiscus sabdariffa calyxes are the ingredient used to make Hibiscus tea, a bright red-colored, tangy vitamin C-rich delight. They’re also used to make sauces, jams, and other treats.

A handful of hibiscus calyxes.

A handful of hibiscus calyxes.

b. Leaves

Hibiscus sabdariffa’s large green leaves pack a tangy punch, and can also be used to make tea or chopped to be used in everything from salads to sauces to stews/soups.

c. Flower petals

Hibiscus sabdariffa branches are covered with colorful yellow flowers whose petals make a nice addition in salad. After pollination, they develop into ripe calyxes, with a seed pod inside. 

In more northern climates, it can take quite a while for flower development to initiate – sometimes well into mid-summer.

While Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers are a bit smaller than the common hibiscus varieties used ornamentally in landscapes, the fact that they form a delightful edible fruit/calyx more than makes up for their size deficiency relative to hibiscus varieties bred purely for show, which don’t make good edible calyxes.

3. How to grow Hibiscus sabdariffa from seed

Given its tropical origins, Hibiscus sabdariffa thrives in warm, wet weather. We’ve grow them from seed for about 10 years, and have learned a few tips and tricks along the way:

Step 1. Soak seeds for 24 hours.  

Some sources recommend scraping a hole in the seed surface with a file before sowing. We don’t think it’s worth the aggravation. Instead, soak your hibiscus seeds in water indoors for 24 hours before you plant them. This will soften up the thick, hard seed coating.

Step 2. Start indoors.   

  • Sow your pre-soaked hibiscus seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before your last frost date in spring. (If you grow tomatoes from seeds, start at the same time!)
  • Sow seeds 1/4″ deep in dampened seed starting mix inside seed starting containers (biodegradable pots or plastic cells).

Step 3. Use a heat mat. 

Hibiscus seeds need very warm conditions to sprout. Normal indoor temps around 70°F aren’t warm enough for optimal germination.

To get the best and fastest hibiscus seed germination possible, start them on a heat mat set to 80°F.

Step 4. Keep soil warm and damp (not wet).

Keep the containers on the warm heat mat and make sure to maintain adequate soil moisture (keep the seed starting mix damp, but not soaking wet). Within 10 days, the seeds should germinate.

Step 5. Place under grow lights.

If you’re a serious gardener, we recommend making a DIY indoor grow light setup like this one. Modern, energy-efficient windows filter out too much sun to keep hibiscus seedlings healthy indoors.

Put your hibiscus seedlings under grow lights, set to about 1-2″ over the tops of the plants (if using fluorescent bulbs). The heat mat is optional at this point, but the plants will grow faster if kept warmer.

Step 6. Transfer outside after last frost. 

You may need to pot up your hibiscus seedlings into larger containers one time before it’s time to transplant them outdoors. Then, after your last frost date has passed and there are no temperatures below 40°F, transplant your hibiscus plants outdoors into their final location.

Hibiscus sabdariffa plants can grow to 6′ tall x 4′ wide, so give them plenty of room! Also consider providing support using wide, heavy DIY tomato cages since their branches are subject to snapping in heavy winds, especially when they’re loaded with calyxes.

4. How to harvest hibiscus calyxes for food or seed saving

Here’s when and how to harvest hibiscus calyxes:

Step 1. Pick the ripe calyxes.

After a hibiscus flower has bloomed, it will desiccate (shrivel up and drop from the plant) about 24-48 hours later. Then the calyx will close around the internal seed pod and continue to develop.

Freshly harvested edible hibiscus calyxes from Hibiscus sabdariffa plants.

Freshly harvested edible hibiscus calyxes from Hibiscus sabdariffa plants.

How do you know when to harvest the calyx? This is somewhat subjective, but we usually give them anywhere from 3-7 days after the flower has dropped.

When young, the calyxes can be easily snapped off the plant by hand at the stem. When fully ripe, the calyxes will not easily snap off of the plant by hand. Instead, you’ll need to use clippers or snips to cut them off at the stem.

Seed saving note – Any calyxes you’re planning to harvest expressly for seed saving purposes should be left on the plant for at least a few weeks so the seeds mature – the longer, the better.

A Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flower blooming at Tyrant Farms. Also notice the other older blooms turning into ripe calyxes above and to the left of the flower and the nearly ripe calyx above and to the right of the flower.

A Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) flower blooming at Tyrant Farms. Also notice the other older blooms turning into ripe calyxes below and to the left of the flower, and the nearly ripe calyx directly to the left of the flower.

Step 2. Separate the calyx from the seed pod.

Here’s how we process our calyxes / remove the internal seed pod:

i. Cut fully through the base of the calyx, removing the stem and severing the attachment point for the internal seed pod.

ii. Option 1: Cut a slit down the length of the calyx and remove the calyx, but this method means you won’t have a perfectly intact calyx when you’re done. Option 2: Use a firm object (like a stick or chopstick) to pop out the seed pod from the calyx. This leaves the calyx intact. 

Step 3. Immediately use or dry the calyxes.

If you plan to use the calyxes within 24-48 hours for tea, sauce, or fresh jelly, you can just leave them on your counter. However, the calyxes do start to lose moisture and texture the longer you let them sit, and they may even start to mold if you’ve had a lot of rain prior to harvest. 

They will store in a bag or jar in your fridge for a couple weeks. 

If you want to save your processed calyxes for later use (like when you have large harvests), dry them in a dehydrator or on a rack under a ceiling fan.

We LOVE our Excalibur dehydrator for drying edible hibiscus and other garden delights that we grow throughout the year.

Hibiscus calyxes drying on a dehydrator rack at TF.

Hibiscus calyxes drying on an Excalibur dehydrator rack at Tyrant Farms.

Step 4. Save the seeds.

We’re always amazed by how productive our Hibiscus sabdariffa plants are.

Each year, we leave several of the largest calyxes on a few of our plants so we can grow seeds for future years. The longer you leave them on the plant, the better for seed production and seed viability.

Once you harvest a Hibiscus sabdariffa calyx/seed pod for the express purpose of seed-saving, be sure to let the seed pods dry for a month inside before storing them in a ziplock or any container that would trap moisture and reduce their viability.

The seed pods should be dry, brittle and easy to crack open, spilling out dozens of small black seeds for future bounties.

Hibiscus seeds being separated from the seed pods.

Hibiscus seeds being separated from the seed pods.

Remember, even though all varieties of hibiscus may be edible, the best variety of hibiscus for edible flowers, leaves, and calyxes is Hibiscus sabdariffa.  

5. How to make hibiscus tea and other hibiscus recipes

The very first recipe you should make with Hibiscus sabdariffa calyxes is hibiscus tea. It’s super easy to make, vibrantly beautiful, and incredibly tasty…

Edible Hibiscus sabdariffa tea

Hibiscus tea – yum!

How does hibiscus tea taste? Unsweetened hibiscus tea tastes like lemon-cranberries, ergo it benefits from a sweetener like stevia or honey. It also packs quite a bit of vitamin C, calcium, and magnesium. 

Making a basic hibiscus tea is easy. Here’s how:

  • Pour boiling water over a cup containing three whole hibiscus calyxes (dried or fresh) and let steep for about 5 minutes. The tea should be bright pink when ready.
  • Sweeten tea to taste, then serve! 

We like to sweeten our Hibiscus tea with stevia powder or local honey. We also like to add fresh-muddled ginger and makrut lime leaves for a spicy citrus finish.

Poured over ice, hibiscus tea is one of our all-time favorite homegrown and homemade teas

Deee-licious! A glass of gorgeous edible hibiscus tea, made from the calyxes of Hibiscus sabdariffa. Three fresh or dried calyxes is all it takes to flavor a large glass of hibiscus tea.

A glass of gorgeous edible hibiscus tea, made from the calyxes of Hibiscus sabdariffa. Three fresh or dried calyxes is all it takes to flavor a large glass of hibiscus tea. Even after the calyxes are removed from your tea glass, they’re still edible and quite yummy.

More hibiscus recipes

Ready to move beyond hibiscus tea?

Try our hibiscus relish recipe:

Tyrant Farms' Hibiscus relish (or chutney). This recipe is quite versatile and can be used as a side dish similar to cranberry relish or even as a topping on cheese and crackers!

Tyrant Farms’ Hibiscus relish (or chutney). This recipe is quite versatile and can be used as a side dish similar to cranberry relish or even as a topping on cheese and crackers!

And if you want a crazy-delicious dessert recipe, try our Hibiscus coconut rice made with Carolina Gold rice (or other steamed rice of our choice):

Hibiscus coconut rice dessert made with Hibiscus sabdariffa calyxes, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, ginger, Carolina Gold rice, and other ingredients.

Hibiscus coconut rice dessert made with Hibiscus sabdariffa calyxes, lemongrass, makrut lime leaves, ginger, Carolina Gold rice, coconut milk, and other ingredients.

Want to find out how to boost your pickle-making skills with hibiscus? Check out our Florida betony-roselle pickle recipe:

6. Where to buy certified organic Hibiscus sabdariffa seeds, tea, or powder

Ready to start growing your own edible hibiscus plants? OR want some edible hibiscus but don’t have the time or ability to grow your own? Here’s where to get what you need:

We hope this article answered all your edible hibiscus questions and has you ready to grow your own beautiful, edible hibiscus plants in your garden next summer!

How to ID, grow, harvest & use edible hibiscus roselle plants. All parts of the plants are edible and delicious: leaves, calyxes and flowers! #ediblelandscaping #ediblehibiscus #hibiscus #FloridaCranberry #CranberryHibiscus #tyrantfarms #growyourown

Want to see a video summary of this article? Check out our Google Web Story about how to grow and use edible hibiscus!

stay in touch

Like what you're seeing here? Please be sure to subscribe to Tyrant Farms so we can let you know about new articles you'll love.


  • Reply
    July 24, 2023 at 5:53 pm

    Hello – My husband was told Hollywood Hibiscus is edible. Is that correct? I searched online but no where does it list Hollywood Hibiscus are edible.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      July 25, 2023 at 7:35 am

      It’s very difficult to provide sweeping generalizations as to the edibility of novel hybrids like those carrying the Hollywood hibiscus name. The answer is that the flowers are probably edible. The leaves may be too. They’re also very unlikely to be either: a) very good from an edibility standpoint since that’s not what they’re bred for, or b) poisonous. Since the plant is not likely to contain harmful compounds at high concentrations, you could taste a small amount and see if you find it flavorful and also see if you have any averse reactions. However, if you want the best edible hibiscus plant that has a long history of safe use as food, choose Hibiscus sabdariffa, aka roselle.

  • Reply
    September 24, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    hi , I live in the tropics and we have Hibiscus moscheutos commonly found here. The flower is bright red and some leaves are checkered or variated while most are dark green. Is this variety edible ?

    • Reply
      Susan von Frank
      September 24, 2022 at 10:13 pm

      Hi Rumi! Yes, Hibiscus moscheutos leaves and flowers are edible, raw or cooked. They’re not as good as Hibiscus sabdariffa in our opinion. Very mild flavor and slight bit of mucilage. The flowers are beautiful on a plate though. As far as edible hibiscuses go, we don’t know of a better one that H. sabdariffa.

  • Reply
    Ann Redmond
    July 26, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    I would like to grow more hibiscus. I have one beautiful, [ i think it is a double yellow..] I want to use hibiscus for teas … I am unsure if my yellow one is edible, Ive only seen the red ones being used for ingesting. Do you sell any of the edible Hibiscus? or seeds? or can u recommend some one who does.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      July 27, 2022 at 11:44 am

      Hi Ann! Some people say that ALL hibiscus plant flowers are edible, but we’re not comfortable making that absolute claim for two reasons: 1) There are innumerable subspecies, varieties, and hybrids of hibiscus out there, each one featuring slightly different chemical compositions. 2) Individual physiology varies by person and some people may be taking medications that negatively interact with compounds found in hibiscus. That’s to say, one person consuming the same hibiscus flowers at the same quantity might be fine and another might experience some ill effects.

      That’s why we recommend utilizing hibiscus plants such as Hibiscus sabdariffa, with a long history of safe culinary use/human consumption. (Even then, safety exceptions may apply for people taking certain types of medications.) Are your yellow hibiscus flowers edible? Probably so, but don’t take that as a guarantee or an assurance of safety. If you do decide to try them, start with a small amount, such as a single flower made into a tea, and see if you notice any adverse effects.

      As far as where to buy Hibiscus sabdariffa seeds, we provide a link to a recommended and highly rated retailer (the Plant Good Seed Store) in the article but we’ll include it again here:

  • Reply
    Martha Norris
    February 15, 2022 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Aaron I have been looking for Hibiscus Sabdariffa plan to grow out side, I live in Sacramento Ca. I have other Hibiscus plants that are not the Sabdariffa, can you suggest where to buy one or mail order a plant ?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      February 15, 2022 at 3:35 pm

      Hi Martha! It looks like you’re in Ag Zone 9. Hibiscus sabdariffa/roselle can be grown as a perennial in Zones 8+ so you’re fortunate in that regard – you won’t have to get or grow new roselle plants every year.

      I have seen a few online nurseries selling Hibiscus sabdariffa as potted plants. Example, Logee’s: However, buying them as plants is quite expensive (up to $20/plant) whereas you can buy a pack of certified organic seeds for under $5. You may want to go that route instead?

      Another option is to call local nurseries in your area to see if they happen to have any available. You might get lucky.

  • Reply
    Barbara K
    December 28, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    I am in Zone 7a on the NJ shore. I would like to try edible Hibiscus, but I guess it won’t be perennial in this climate. Wondering if I could do it in a pot. I have several tub plants, (ornamental hibiscus tree, lemon, mandevilla, ferns, oleander, fig) , which I winter successfully in a sunroom which stays above freezing. Does it seem to you that it would be worth a try?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      December 29, 2021 at 11:55 am

      Hi Barbara! We’re in Zone 7b in Greenville, South Carolina, so our zones are nearly identical. We don’t grow edible Hibiscus sabdariffa as a perennial here, we grow it as an annual.

      Yes, you can grow Hibiscus sabdariffa in pots if you want to, but in your case you actually don’t need to. However, to get a good yield of hibiscus calyxes in our temperate climate zone, you’ll need to start the plants early indoors – right around now through early January would be ideal. Then transplant them out after your last frost date in spring.

      If you do try to grow them in pots, keep in mind that they’re relatively fast-growing and can get pretty large (~6 ft tall with a 4-5′ spread). So you’ll eventually need to pot them up into large pots (5 gallon+) and have plenty of room for them indoors in your sunroom. Again, our recommendation would be to grow them as annuals instead.

  • Reply
    Ivona S
    March 3, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    Hi, i am trying to plant hibiscus sabdarifa this year. They sprout but when they have 2 leaves they dy out and die. I have them inside it is March curently, on windows that get a lots of sun, it is too soon to plant them out yet. Please advise what i need to do to keep them alive for rest of the seazon. I water at least 1 a week. Temp is around 74- 75 F, i spray to mist almost every day, they dont sit in water.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      March 4, 2021 at 8:00 am

      Sorry, Ivona. It’s hard to provide an accurate diagnosis of what’s going on with your Hibiscus sabdarifa seedlings without seeing the plants. It doesn’t sound like you’re over-watering them, which would cause rot and/or damping off. If you’re only watering them once per week, it’s possible the soil is actually too dry and that’s what’s killing them. You want to maintain even soil moisture with your seedlings – not too damp, not too dry. Ideal consistency is like a well-wrung out sponge.

      Another possibility is they’re not getting enough sun if you have modern energy-efficient windows which filter out a lot of light. If this is the case, the seedlings would look tall and spindly, before eventually flopping over and dying.

      Let me know if this info helps or if you’d like to send some photos for a diagnosis?

  • Reply
    December 15, 2020 at 2:55 am

    my hibiscus tea is ready for harvest but I don’t know when to cut it and I don’t also have the dryer

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      December 15, 2020 at 12:54 pm

      No problem, Riches! Just snip off the dark red calyxes from the plant, remove the interior seed pod, and enjoy. You can eat your Hibiscus sabdariffa calyxes raw, cooked, or made into tea. They’ll also dry fine without a dehydrator. Remove the seed pods, lay out in a single layer on a table or cookie sheet, and place them under an indoor fan for about a week until they’re nice and dry. Then store in ziplocks. You can also use the leaves – younger leaves are better for fresh eating or cooking.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    Hibiscus sabdariffa, aka ‘Florida cranberry,’ ‘Cranberry hibiscus,’ and ‘Roselle.’ it’s a little bit confusing to me, because I thought that “cranberry hibiscus” is Hibiscus acetosella.
    Thank you!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      December 15, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      I think ‘cranberry hibiscus’ is more commonly used to refer to Hibiscus acetosella, but we’ve also heard people refer to Hibiscus sabdariffa with the same common name. That’s why we simply call the plant by its scientific name, Hibiscus sabdariffa – hard to confuse that one! Hibiscus acetosella is a good edible in its own right (for greens) but does not produce edible calyxes like H. sabdariffa.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2020 at 6:35 pm

    Hi, I’ve never had hibiscus until last week when I harvested some from a friends plants to make tea. It was maybe the best thing I’ve ever had to drink and I want to plant them everywhere.

    I saved the seeds and have them indoors, but notice some are molding and turning black. I’m in north Florida, its November. I opened one of the pods and took the little seeds out. They are still white. Will they be usable or does the entire pod have to dry out with the seeds inside?

    What is the proper method for drying the pods and preventing mold?

    Thanks kindly : )

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      November 17, 2020 at 10:39 pm

      In our experience, Hibiscus sabdariffa can be a little tricky to save seed from. You need to let the calyxes mature beyond the ripe stage that you’d harvest them at for eating in order for the seeds to fully develop. Basically, leave them on the plant until they’re desiccated, then harvest and dry for seed. You might want to ask your friend if they can leave some of the calyxes on their plant for the purpose of seed saving.

      Once you have pods with fully mature seeds, dry them indoors with the seeds inside or remove them from the pod for drying (it doesn’t really matter either way). My guess is the reason your hibiscus pods molded is because the seeds/pod were immature so they basically started to rot.

  • Reply
    Eileen Johnson
    November 7, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    I reread the article again and found the link to the false Rosella. That’s what I have.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      November 11, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Ah, great! Glad you identified your False Roselle!

  • Reply
    Eileen Johnson
    November 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm

    I was given what i am told is a hibiscus several years ago that is a perennial in my northern Florida location. It dies and come back in the spring . The leaves are rather purplish and maple shape and the flower or calyxes have no taste for tea. But the leaves are awesomely tart and I love eating them raw. Do you know if indeed it is a type of hibiscus and I’m safe to eat it? I also have the annuals that I plant and use for tea. Thank you.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      November 11, 2020 at 5:01 pm

      Hi Eileen! There are so many hybrid hibiscuses out there, it’s impossible to say for certain whether a particular hibiscus cultivar/plant is edible or not. In your case, since you’ve had years of experiencing ingesting your plant presumably without ill effect, it sounds like it is indeed edible. Given the distinct morphological features of hibiscus plants, you should be able to positively identify it as belonging to the Hibiscus genus.

  • Reply
    October 25, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Home is in Columbus Ohio. I started my seeds indoors in February and were planted outside in May when about 6-8 inches tall. I planted several in different light settings. Plants consistently only grew 5 ft tall. Can see potential flowers and calyxes but never bloomed and it is the end of October. I will harvest some leaves before frost but why didn’t I get blooms. I can bring one plant indoors. Should I try and overwinter it by a window?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      October 26, 2020 at 3:48 pm

      Hi Ellen! Hard to say for certain what happened, but Hibiscus sabdariffa is a tropical native that does require a pretty long growing season to produce calyxes. I’m wondering if your season was either a bit too short or your light levels a bit too low to trigger calyx production. Next year, you may want to start your seeds 6-8 weeks earlier so your plants have an even longer jumpstart. As for your current plants, yes, you can bring them indoors to overwinter if you have a bright, sunny south-facing window. Please check back in to let us know how things turn out.

  • Reply
    Rebecca Dean
    October 5, 2020 at 5:40 pm

    Do you havest the purple before the white flower comes. I wish i could send a picture. The plants are as tall as my house and loaded. I’m confused on how to harvest. If I wait until it gets white flower I can’t get the purple.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      October 5, 2020 at 10:32 pm

      Rebecca, can you please send photos of your hibiscus to aaron @ If you’re growing Hibiscus sabdariffa, the calyxes should enlarge significantly and become easier to harvest after they’ve flowered and set. So, please shoot me some photos and let’s see if we can figure out what’s happening with your plant.

  • Reply
    September 26, 2019 at 9:07 pm

    Actual seeds I get from my Hibiscus are black/brown in color and on the widest part have like a hairy kind of ring around them I have nevr got them to grow by planting them but have had alot of seedlings come up from dropped seedpods never understood why I cant get them to produce seedlings when I plant them in good seed soil in peat pots

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      September 27, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      Are you growing Hibiscus sabdariffa or a different variety? Not sure why your saved seeds wouldn’t germinate if the seeds you leave outdoor are germinating. Is it possible you’re harvesting the roselles that you’re planning to save for seed too early, therefore not giving the seeds enough time to mature? We’ve actually made that mistake ourselves before.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2019 at 11:44 am

    How do I make tea from the fresh leaves? Can I dry the leaves and have them for use at a later date?

    I’m a few months too late getting to the fresh calyxes, I think. These plants have done wonderfully up here in south-central Pennsylvania, but I too had to start them under lights in March.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      September 23, 2019 at 11:09 am

      Harvest, chop, and dry the leaves, then use them throughout the year.

      Are you saying your plants formed calyxes but you’re just late harvesting or that your hibiscus plants didn’t have enough time to form calyxes in the first place up in PA? Would be good for other people in northern climates to have some additional info based on your growing experience. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Rachel Davenport Jasper
    June 8, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    Is it too late to plant Roselle hibiscus seeds directly in the ground? Middle TN.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      June 9, 2019 at 11:01 am

      Hi Rachel! Hmm. Sounds like you’re somewhere in Zone 7b, which is equivalent to us (we’re in Greenville, SC). The fastest we’ve ever gone from seed to harvestable hibiscus roselle is ~3 months. You could feasibly get 1-2 months of production out of them, especially if you have a late first frost this year. The plants are not at all frost tolerant. However, you probably won’t have time to get a LOT of roselles. Our recommendation: go for it! Just make sure you save some seeds for next year and try to get an earlier start.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      June 9, 2019 at 11:12 am

      I should also note that Hibiscus sabdariffa leaves make an excellent tea too, and taste proximate to the calyxes. So you can use the leaves even if you run out of time on the calyxes.

  • Reply
    Jennifer S.
    July 8, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Been trying to harvest from my hibiscus but my calyxes only go from the normal green while bloomed then to yellow after blooms fall, how do I get them to produce the red calyxes for jelly and teas?

  • Reply
    Thu Thuy
    June 25, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    i would like to have some seed,
    please. I can’t find the plant any where near me.
    My email : [email protected] and mailing address: 1310 W 43rd CT Kennewick,WA 99337. Can i put the seed down right now or have to wait until fall.

  • Reply
    Linda Gray
    May 12, 2015 at 3:30 pm

    Where can I find the edible Hibiscus in my area of Central VA?

  • Reply
    May 4, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Can you use ANY hibiscus for the tea? I don’t know the name of mine but is has large red flowers.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I’m assuming you can’t use hibiscus plants found in garden centers for edible purposes? I’ve been seeing hibiscus used in recipies and diy beauty treatments which I’ve been getting into lately. I’m getting ready to start a blog about all my adventures, and growing and using hibiscus is definitely in my plans. I think I’m a little late to start them this year but plan to try anyway. Thanks for the great info!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Do you just grow new hibiscus plants each year as annuals? I love Hibiscus tea (am drinking some right now). I am a medical student in Augusta, GA, but I love gardening. I have actually been testing the weather here this winter to see if Camellia sinensis (for green tea) would survive, and the little plants I have are really thriving so far. The cold weather and frosts did not bother them at all. I would really like to try growing Hibiscus sometime. Do you just grow them out in the garden during the warm weather, and they get big enough in one season to harvest plenty of calyxes? And how early in the spring would you need to start the seeds?

  • Reply
    January 24, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    I am LOVING saril tea in Panama. Would like to try growing it in Victoria BC Canada, but not sure whether I should bring seeds in suitcase or whether this variety will grow there.
    I will certainly try.

  • Reply
    Ita Carey
    January 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    This was very interesting information. My Mom buys a new hibiscus every year because in New Mexico they tend to freeze. We had no idea these beautiful flowers were edible and good for you. We would love to receive some of your seeds.

  • Reply
    Courtney the
    January 2, 2015 at 4:02 am

    Any chance you would ship those seeds to the states? I live in so cal and would be thrilled to grow these beauties.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Do you have any seeds to spare still?

  • Reply
    Zachary Johnson
    October 22, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I love growing plants if you can send me some seeds I will share them with my friends ..Ewa blue worms is my handle worms make my garden grow seeds sprout in the vermicast.

  • Reply
    October 5, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Curious… I have hibiscus flowers, but the calyxes never turn red… they pretty much stay a tan or brown… are these useful? are those flowers ok to use as tea, if not the calyxes?
    Thanks for whatever information you can give.

  • Reply
    June 18, 2014 at 8:20 am

    I recently went to a tea sampling class and had the opportunity to try iced hibiscus tea and what a delight. I was so amazed. Not only a beautiful flower but your post and pics educated me to all of the other uses of this wonderful flower. Thanks for this! I would love to try to plant some of your seeds if you have any left. Thanks and I look forward to your other tips and recipes!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    these flowers are very useful in many ways!

  • Reply
    April 7, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Senait: Please send us an email with your address to [email protected]. I’d be happy to send some seeds to you.

  • Reply
    October 20, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    I was given a a handful of hibiscus calyxes today at the farmers markets. I’m so glad I found your blog! I wasn’t given enough to make jelly, but I now know I can use them in place of cranberries (fresh) and for tea (dried). Thanks so much!
    And to think I grew up with hibiscus in the yard and never knew about the tart calyx.

    • Reply
      October 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you and same here, Paulette! We both grew up with hibiscuses and never had any idea about their edible properties until we became obsessed with gardening a few years ago. Now, we love them for their food, not just their beauty, and have to grow them every year.

  • Reply
    Charlie@Seattle Trekker
    October 3, 2013 at 2:18 am

    Very interesting, I am always looking for ideas that stretch me as a gardener. Thank you.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2013 at 11:24 am

      Thanks Charlie! The variety of plants to choose from in a garden is staggering. Each new season offers a chance to try something new (although it’s always nice to have a bunch of staple perennial plants).

  • Reply
    Patricia Chandler Walker
    October 1, 2013 at 12:45 am

    I hope to drop by in the next few weeks. You are definitely out of my stomping grounds, but I do come to Gville now on tue evenings for something. Maybe one Tue I can come early and drop by. Also I really want to get to one of those Permaculture meetings.

    • Reply
      October 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Sounds good! Just give us a little bit of a heads up if you know you’ll be swinging by on one of your Tuesday visits.

  • Reply
    Reid giacomarra
    September 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Love hibiscus. Good for mild hypertension. Live in n.j. & have 2 other varieties that are tasty but don’t make that beautiful ruby tart tea.thanks for the interesting information.

    • Reply
      December 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks Reid! Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, there are also a number of interesting medical benefits that can be enjoyed from drinking tea hibiscus as well.

  • Reply
    Kanit Jacobs
    September 30, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    that’s great information. I’ve tried hibiscus tea once, it was delicious.

    • Reply
      October 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm

      Thanks Kanit! Glad you enjoyed – the article and the tea. 🙂

  • Reply
    Patricia Chandler Walker
    September 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    The picture itself looks scrumptious.You two are so creative in your gardening. You make it so fun. I will have to try some next year. I would love to get a couple of seeds of that and the Cape gooseberry (isn’t that the one you raved about?). I ordered a couple of Goji berry plants I can’t wait to get them going.

    • Reply
      September 30, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      @Patricia: You know it! Want us to drop some in the mail or do you think you’ll be able to swing by in the next few weeks before the summer growing season officially ends? And thanks for the nice compliments!

  • Reply
    September 30, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Love edible floras! I spent the summer dreaming of growing edible hibiscus, but that wasn’t on our to do list this year. This will give me the opportunity to do so next year!

    • Reply
      September 30, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      AJ: We just emailed you at your gmail account so let us know your address and we’ll get some seeds in the mail to you. We’re glad this will push you over the edge. Next summer, make sure to get them planted in a warm, well-draining spot with rich soil, and you should have get all the hibiscus calyxes you can handle. They’re a great and unusuak treat!

      • Reply
        December 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm

        This is very late, but I received the seeds. I’m very excited to add these to the garden next year. Already have a great, sunny spot to put them. Thank you so much!

        • Aaron
          December 18, 2013 at 7:36 pm

          Thanks for growing seeds! Please let us know how they do in the spring. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Native Passion Fruit (Passiflora Incarnata): How To Grow, Forage, & Eat How to hatch goose eggs – tips, tricks, and troubleshooting How to hatch duck eggs via a mama duck or incubator Best EDIBLE plants to grow in shade (fruit, herbs & veggies) Understanding duck mating & courtship 9 amazing duck facts that will blow your human mind