Hibiscus acetosella

ornata(London UK (8/9?))June 2, 2005

Hi. I grew Hibiscus acetosella from seed this spring. They are still pretty small (probably due to a combination of our lower light levels in the UK and my tardiness in potting them on) but are very attractive plants. I have a couple of questions:

1) Are they true annuals or can they be overwintered somewhere warm? (Having said that, I'm not expecting them to flower this year, given the short growing season, so I'm hoping to be able to keep a few indoors for next year.)

2) I understand the leaves are edible (pleasantly acidic, rather like sorrel - hence the "aceto" part of the name): do any of you use them in salads/cooked dishes?

Thanks a lot for your time.

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beachbarbie(z9a/8b NC)

They are perennials, needing winter protection.
I overwintered mine and it bloomed around Christmas, then went dormant. I brought it back outside with my tropical hibiscus when the temps were steadily in the low 50's. Well, we've had a cool spring and it died; I'm assuming because it didn't like the cool temps. Sad - it was 6' tall! I have another one started and will treat it properly (hopefully) this winter. I'll probably bring it in the house.
I have heard about using it for tea, but haven't tried it myself. Here's a link -http://www.hibiscus.org/recipes.php
Barb

    Bookmark   June 2, 2005 at 11:53AM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I grow the plant, but I haven't bothered to try and overwinter it at about $4.00 a plant--easy enough to get a new one every year. I understand it's the flowers that are used in tea, like the rosehip tea from Germany that contains rosehips and hibiscus flowers.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 4:08PM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

I've done a bit more research and apparently people do eat the young leaves in salads and stir-fries. The flowers can also be picked and blended with lime juice and sugar to make a drink.

As for the plants being easy and cheap to obtain, not in the UK they aren't! I've grown 12 from seed this year and they are such beautiful plants I will definitely try to keep some alive for next year.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 5:40AM
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bruggirl(8b)

I live in zone 9b, and if we have temps in the low 30's, they usually die. Normally, the 40 degree temps put them into dormancy, and they come back up. 50 degrees for dormancy is perfect.

With your short growing season, I don't suppose you get seeds, do you? I have several plants, so if you need seeds next year, let me know.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 9:22PM
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ornata(London UK (8/9?))

Thanks a lot for the offer. Who knows - my plants might flower, depending on where in the garden they are positioned (the back garden is north-north-west facing and gets a fair amount of shade, whereas the front is south-south-west facing, surrounded by white walls and mulched with gravel - always MUCH warmer than the back).

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 5:22AM
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bruggirl(8b)

Good luck, but keep my name just in case. I have hundreds of seedlings coming up right now from plants I didn't get a chance to deadhead. I hate it, but I have to mow them down every week.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 2:27PM
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beachbarbie(z9a/8b NC)

Ornata,
Keep Bruggirl's name. I doubt they've bloom for you outside. Mine was 9 months old before it bloomed and we have a much longer growing season than you. I suppose though, if you bring it in for the winter and keep it warm and in a sunny spot, it could.
Good Luck!
Barb

    Bookmark   June 13, 2005 at 11:42AM
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