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CRANBERRY HIBISCUS GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Hibiscus acetosella
African rosemallow, false roselle, maroon mallow, Florida cranberry
Native (most likely) to tropical Africa
This plant is a short-lived perennial shrub in the subtropics and tropics but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates.
It grows rapidly to 1.7 m high with deeply cut leaves similar to Japanese maple. The leaf colour of deep cranberry red is
highly ornamental; the flowers are a small, very pretty, rose-pink hibiscus-type. Cranberry hibiscus is a hardy plant that
thrives when it is warm and wet; it prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. It needs ample water, rich, fertile,
well-drained soil that is kept mulched and a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5.
A very nutritious vegetable; the leaves are high in vitamins B3 (niacin), B2, A and C.
It is high in protein and an excellent source of antioxidants and anthocyanins. The young leaves are known for their
pleasantly tart flavour, eaten either raw or cooked. As the leaves contain oxalic acid, cranberry hibiscus should not be
eaten in large amounts - e.g. as the only raw green vegetable in a salad - or more than once a week. Unlike Aibika, it is
not particularly mucilaginous. Cranberry hibiscus leaves retain their colour after being cooked. Flowers are used to make
teas or other drinks where they contribute colour rather than taste. In Central America the flowers are combined with ice,
sugar, lemon, or lime juice and water to make a purple lemonade.
The vivid leaf colour makes this a good choice as a background plant in
Recommended Planting Time:
Cuttings are best taken when the soil temperature is at least
: It is easily propagated from cuttings 10 - 20 cm long, half buried in
potting mix and kept moist.
Space plants at 60 cm apart. The plant responds well to pruning, rapidly becoming
bushy. Pruning also prolongs its life.
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. 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
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