Hibiscus sabdariffa, Rosella is a well-known plant for its petals and leaves. This plant is an additional source of beauty to gardens, and lawns, and is also edible. Its red coloured calyx is used to make different cordials, jams, and teas. It is an annual plant and grows well in various parts of Australia.
Rosella plants grow well in the warmer climates, well-drained, and rich soils. This plant is hardy, and its susceptibility to pest and disease attack is also low. Spring is the best time for rosella plantation so that it can produce good yield for autumn harvest. These plants can grow well and reach a height of about 2 meters in six months only. Gardeners should select the growing place where plants can get direct sunlight. These plants cannot withstand shade, so growing these plants in shady or partially shady conditions must be avoided.
Seed Sowing, and Seedling Transplantation
Usually, these plants are grown from seeds, but they can also be raised from the healthy and vigorous cuttings. Gardeners can directly sow the seeds in the gardens in the presence of favourable conditions, but sowing in trays is strongly recommended in the harsh environmental conditions. Seeds must be buried for half an hour before planting. These seedlings can be transplanted when they have developed at least four leaves.
Seeds can be directly sown to the fertilized gardens by creating 1 cm deep hole. These seeds should be adequately covered with soil after planting. Moreover, optimal watering is also essential to provide moisture for seedlings germination. Covering seeds with natural mulch is also a right approach as mulch is helpful for nutrients release and moisture conservation. The seeds must be planted at a distance of about 1-2 meters apart to provide enough space for growth and development.
The soil must be kept moist to ensure uniform and good germination. However, overirrigation should be avoided as it can directly kill the seedlings. The watering frequency must be determined according to water holding capacity of the soil, and prevailing environmental conditions. Checking the soil moisture contents by finger testing is a recommended approach to know about soil wetness and dryness.
If the plant has developed many branches, gardeners can harvest few leaves before flowering initiation. These leaves can be used to make stir-fries and salads. Moreover, leaves trimming is an excellent technique to produce quality yield. Rosella plants take four to five months to get mature and flower production. Usually, flowering is initiated at the beginning of autumn.
Rosella flowers can be harvested when the petals start wilting and falling off, leaving behind deep red coloured calyces. The diameter of calyx should be allowed to grow 20-25 mm in size before harvesting. The fruit should be cut appropriately by using a pair of sharp scissors, or secateurs.
Gardeners should leave few calyces on bushes for maturity. These seeds can be collected after complete drying and can be stored in any appropriate place.