Hibiscus sabdariffa (Roselle)

Scientific Name

Hibiscus sabdariffa L.

Common Names



Abelmoschus cruentus, Furcaria sabdariffa, Hibiscus acetosus, Hibiscus cruentus, Hibiscus fraternus, Hibiscus gossypifolius, Hibiscus palmatilobus, Hibiscus sanguineus, Sabdariffa rubra

Scientific Classification

Family: Malvaceae
Tribe: Hibisceae
Genus: Hibiscus


Color: White to pale yellow
Bloom Time: Summer


Hibiscus sabdariffa is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub that grows up to 8 feet (2.4 m) tall. Leaves are deeply 3- to 5-lobed, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long, and arranged alternately on the stems. Flowers are up to 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout, fleshy calyx at the base, up to 0.8 inches (2 cm) wide, enlarging up to 1.4 inches (3.5 cm), fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures. They take about six months to mature.

Hibiscus sabdariffa - Roselle
Photo via buyrareseeds.com

How to Grow and Care

Hibiscus should be moved outside in the summer, then back inside during the winter. Tips for a successful transition include: Trim the plant hard before moving it inside for the winter. It will go into near dormancy until late winter; After you trim it, but before you bring it in, treat it thoroughly for insects. Neem oil and liquid detergent work well, or use a hose to blast off insects; Once inside, don't overwater, but provide as much humidity as possible, including daily mistings. Don't expose to blowing air from vents; When the weather warms to above 50ºF (10ºC) at night, move it back outside and acclimate slowly.

Repot as necessary, yearly or biannually. Hibiscus will grow into trees in their native habitats, but this may be unwieldy in a home setting. There's also some benefit to keeping the Hibiscus in a relatively smaller pot, as it will make for easier pruning and moving. Failure to repot these plants often can leave them in soil without adequate nutrients for their survival, and repotting will often spur on growth if you're finding that your Hibiscus plants seem to have stalled out. Watch out for falling leaves or other signs of stress. See more at How to Grow and Care for Hibiscus.


Native to West Africa.


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