Now Sowing: Roselle Hibiscus (March–May)

About Roselle Hibiscus

Common Name: Roselle Hibiscus

Scientific Name: Hibiscus Sabdarifa

Seed Saving Level: Advanced

Borrow seeds

Want to check out some seeds? See Roselle Hibiscus seeds in our catalog.


Plant in full sun in the spring in well-drained soil, spaced three feet apart. They can grow several feet in height. Roselle Hibiscus will begin to bloom as the days shorten, ready to harvest in October or November. The fleshy, bright red cup-like structure – called a calyx – contains the seeds. The flower’s leaves have a tart flavor like cranberries.


When the calyxes appear, they are most easily harvested and snapped off by hand when fully grown, but still tender and plump. Harvesting will encourage more buds to grow and flower. When they get harder, use clippers. Harvest before temperatures get below 40° F.

Seed Saving

When the calyxes are still fresh, separate the flower petals from the seed pods. Spread the petals and the seed heads out on separate paper towels to dry in a cool place.

When dry, place the petals in a jar to store for making herbal tea.

Harvest the seeds by pulling apart the seed heads, shaking out the seeds and winnowing on a flat surface. Store seeds for next year and/or donate some to the Seed Library. Enjoy!


How to Grow Hibiscus

Roselle: University of Florida Gardening Solutions

Recipe: Hibiscus-Tangerine Iced Tea


  • 12 hibiscus tea bags (or 4 tsp loose hibiscus)
  • 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups fresh tangerine juice
  • 1 thinly sliced tangerines
  • Ice


In a heatproof bowl, cover the tea with the boiling water. Let steep for 20 minutes. Strain the tea through a fine sieve into another heatproof bowl. Let cool to room temperature, then stir in the tangerine juice. Divide the tea and all but 4 tangerine slices among 4 ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the reserved tangerine slices.

The tea can be refrigerated for 2 days.

Source: Chun, Kay, “Hibiscus-Tangerine Iced Tea,“ Food & Wine, Mar2016, Vol. 39 Issue 3, p92.

Learn more about the Seed Library

Find out how to borrow seeds and learn all about planting, growing, and harvesting by visiting the Seed Library.