Cranberry Hibiscus, Rose Mallow, False roselle /Hibiscus acetosella/
An attractive perennial bush growing up to 2m with cranberry red stems, serrated leaves similar to a maple tree and small pink hibiscus-like flowers.
Tender leaves and tips are harvested in Summer. The leaves have a pleasant sour taste and retain their colour after cooking.
The flowers can be used to colour tea or drinks but have little taste.
The Cranberry Hibiscus thrives in fertile well-drained soil. It is a tropical plant so prefers warm and wet conditions in sun or partial shade.
Grow from cuttings in late Spring once the soil has warmed up.
Space about 60 cm apart.
Because of their colour and tendency to branch Cranberry Hibiscus can be grown as a short-lived colourful hedge. Pruning the hedge to shape and harvesting the leaves are the same task. Grown in this way the amount of edible material produced in a small space is quite large.
Leaves, growing tips and flowers.
The leaves contain oxalic acid, so should not be eaten raw in large amounts. Chopping and cooking reduces the oxalic acid in green leaves
Risks and weed potential
They will self-seed in the garden but are not an identified weed.
Harvesting & Processing
Cranberry Hibiscus can easily become leggy so to encourage new growth and keep the plant bushy, cut out the top 20cm of each stem as you harvest. Remove the tender leaves for the kitchen and the remainder of the leaves and stem can be laid on the ground as mulch.