Common names: Roselle, Jamaican Sorrel, Ambali, Asam Susar
Scientific name: Hibiscus sabdariffa
Plant history & use:
Origin from Africa, then spread to Asia and the Caribbean.
Most popularly used to make juice (Agua de Jamaica) from the fresh sepals, but you can also let them dry to make hibiscus tea. Dried sepals are also used as a flavoring agent for Gin. The fresh leaves can also be used to add a sour flavor in salads and soups of Asian character.
In Asia, the leaves are fried, made soup of or cooked together with various dishes e.g. fish, chicken and beef.
Roselle is also often used for its health-enhancing properties .
Roselle is a perennial plant that thrives in bright locations. Grow the plant indoors next to a bright window and feel free to move it outside in the summer. Alternatively, grow as an annual outdoor in pots or sow the seeds directly on open ground when the risk of frost is over.
Roselle is commercially grown in one-year periods. In nature, however, the plant is perennial and it can also be such when grown at home. Overwintering in a bright location is a prerequisite for growing Roselle as a perennial northern Europe.
In southern Europe: Spain, France's southern coast, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, southern Greece and west/south Turkey, Roselle can be grown outdoors as a perennial all year round. Roselle is USDA Zone 9-12.
The Roselle plant grows into a small tree/tall bush.
Soak the seeds 1 day in advance. Sow in moist soil and preferably cover with plastic with punctuated small holes to retain moisture. Optimum temperature for rapid germination is between 25-30 ºC, but the seeds also germinate at around 20 ºC. You may use a heating mat for improved germination conditions.
Height: up to 3 meters
Germination Time: 7-30 days
USDA Zone: 9-12