Roselle Growing Guide
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Roselle Growing Guide

What is Roselle?

What is Roselle? It’s a species of a flowering plant in the genus Hibiscus that goes by many other names, such as Red Sorrel, Florida Cranberry, Queensland jelly plant, and many others. Its native origins are from Central and West Africa and can/is grown all around the world. Roselle is a highly versatile plant that is used around the world in many different ways. The leaves can be used fresh or dried and made into various items. Traditionally, some cultures have used the plant as a natural diuretic and even a mil laxative but Roselle has many more uses apart from direct medicinal applications. In many place, Roselle is used as a vegetable in cultural dishes such as chutneys, soups, and salads or simply used to add mild sourness to other dishes. Some cultures, such as those in the Caribbean, use the fruit to make teas. These teas are often made form the fruit or leaves, dried or fresh, mixed with cloves, bay leaves, and sugar.

How to Start Growing Roselle

Roselle should be planted from April to May in an area that has plenty of room as these plants can range from 7 to 10 feet tall. It is recommended that you plant them at a minimum of 3 feet apart go allow enough room for their foliage. This plant can take heat as it is a tropical plant, however, if used as an ornamental in a pot it will require daily watering. They also tend to become root-bound when planted in pots. We highly recommend planting in-ground, if possible. Roselle has a 3 to 4 month growing cycle and does well in zones 7 through 10. Those living in zones 6 and lower would have difficulty as it is a plant that requires more tropical environments to survive.

Roselle germinates at soil temperatures between 75- 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In the low desert, plant Roselle form seed or transplants once temperatures warm up in March through the end of May. (Start seeds indoors from February through April) If you are in cooler climates, start roselle from seed indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost. When plants are 3-4 inches high, transplant them into a spot in the garden that gets full sun.

Did You Know?

Not all hibiscus plants are Roselle, but all Roselle are hibiscus plants. An example of hibiscus plants that are not Roselle is Tropical Hibiscus, Hawaiian Hibiscus, or Chinese Hibiscus! These plants don’t typically produce calyxes as Roselle does.

Our Favorite Roselle to Grow

Roselle Plant Spacing

In-Ground Planting

Row Spacing - 5 to 6 feet apart

Plant Spacing - 24 inches

Planting Depth - 1/4 inch

Roselle Soil, Irrigation, & Fertilizer

Soil Requirements to Grow Roselle

  • Loose, well-draining soil
  • pH between 5.5 and 7.0
  • Rich in organic materials
  • Good quality compost added to the soil

Roselle Irrigation Requirements

Roselle plants need at least 1 inch of water per week. Using drip irrigation is always recommended to be sure that your cauliflower plants are getting moisture directly to their root system. If you’re using conventional overhead watering techniques, try and use something like the Dramm Watering Can and water and fertilize at the base of the plant to keep moisture off the leaves. 

Raised Bed Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

At Time of Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 5.5 – 7.0, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row or ¼ cup per plant of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

1 cup Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement with 5 gallons of water. Each plant gets 1 quart of the solution next to the plant stem. Repeat every 4 weeks.

4 Weeks After Planting and Every 4 Weeks

¼ cup Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per plant evenly spread around plant.

In-Ground Fertilizer Schedule

Several Weeks Before Planting

Test your soil at your local extension office.

At Time of Planting

After adjusting soil pH to 5.5 – 7.0, mix 1 1/2 cups per 10 ft. of row or ¼ cup per plant of Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer with your soil.

2 Weeks After Planting

1 cup Hoss Micro-Boost Micronutrient Supplement with 5 gallons of water. Each plant gets 1 quart of the solution next to the plant stem. Repeat every 4 weeks.

4 Weeks After Planting and Every 4 Weeks

¼ cup Hoss Complete Organic Fertilizer per plant evenly spread around plant.

Roselle Pest & Disease Protection

Insects

Organic Controls

Horticulture Oil
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Spider Mites, Thrips

Bug Buster-O
Aphids, Flea Beetles, Whiteflies, Moths, Armyworms

Monterey BT
Caterpillars, Cabbage Loppers

Take Down Garden Spray
Aphids, Flea Beetle, Whiteflies, Moths

Diatomaceous Earth
Cutworms, Ants, Slugs

Sluggo Plus
Slugs

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Common Diseases

Organic Controls

Complete Disease Control
Gray Mold, Leaf Spots, Anthracnose, Powdery Mildew

Treat as needed using label instructions.

Harvesting, Preserving, and Storing Roselle

When & How To Harvest Roselle

You should typically expect to start harvesting your Roselle in October or at least until the first frost in your area. Nearly all of the plant can be harvested. Between 7 - 10 days after blooming is an ideal time to harvest your calyces or when the red calyx around the seed pod is just over an inch wide. Harvesting the calyces early and often tends to increase the yield.

Storing & Keeping Roselle

One thing you want to make sure of when storing your Roselle is that they are dried out! This is important. Once the seed pods are harvested, pull the dark red calyces from the seed pod. The calyces should be dehydrated for later use.

Shop Our Roselle Hibiscus!

Roselle Growing Tips & Tricks

Give Them Room to Grow!

Mature roselle plants can get very large, up to seven feet tall and 3 to 6 feet wide. That is why you must space your plants out at least 2 feet and your rows at least 5 feet, if not more.

A Relative To Okra

Roselle is a relative to okra, as well as hibiscus. If you have experience growing okra, you will likely enjoy growing roselle!

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