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BOTANICAL NAME:Abelmoschus manihot formerly Hibiscus manihot
COMMON NAMES: Aibika, hibiscus spinach, ibika, bele, vauvau (Fiji), pele (Polynesia), ailan kapis (Vanuatu), tororo aoi (Japan), sunset muskmallow, sunset hibiscus, hibiscus manihot, lettuce tree, Queensland greens
FAMILY: Malvaceae
ORIGIN: Native to tropical Asia

This plant is a short-lived perennial shrub in the subtropics and the tropics but an annual in cooler climates. It grows 2 - 3 m high with large, nearly round, soft green leaves. There is a wide range of other leaf shapes grown in PNG; up to 70 types have been classified. It is a hardy plant that thrives when it is warm and wet. It can be prone to looper caterpillars; snails find it inviting too. It prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. Aibika needs ample water and rich, fertile soil that is kept mulched. It is a very nutritious vegetable; the leaves are high in vitamins A and C, and iron, and have 2% protein by dry weight. Annual types flower and self-sow readily and have the potential to become quite weedy; their seedpods are also very prickly so are best avoided.

Recommended Planting Time: Cuttings are best taken when the soil temperature is at least 25C.
Planting Depth: It is easily propagated from cuttings 10 - 20 cm long, half buried in potting mix and kept moist.
Spacing: Space plants at 60 cm apart.

SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered by residents of Norfolk Island, Tasmania and Western Australia. These restrictions are very important as they prevent the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock can be sent to South Australia. No tubestock can be sent to Northern Territory.
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