Harvesting Hibiscus ~ Cheryl's Delights

There are several different flowers referred to as  hibiscus however the hibiscus that is used to produce tea is the Rosella– Hibiscus sabdariffa.  These plants are kin to okra, this is very obvious when you look at the plant.  Like okra hibiscus need heat.  They are best suited for zones 8-11.

The plants will produce from the bottom working its way up.  Hibiscus produces a pretty bloom usually pink.  The bloom is identical to an okra flower.  The part of the plant harvested is the calyx.  When the bloom falls from the plant the remaining is what will be harvested.  The plant will continue to produce till well into the fall season.  Harvesting Hibiscus ~ Cheryl's Delights

The calyx is used for Agua de Jamaica (a Mexican drink), tea, jams, and syrups .  The flavor is tart so a sweetener is suggested.    The leaves are also eatable.

To harvest the hibiscus simply pop them off the plant.  They are easy to remove.  Once you have harvested the fruit, the calyx needs to be removed from the seed pod.

Harvesting Hibiscus ~ Cheryl's DelightsSlit the side of the fruit at the smallest point.  Peal the calyx from the seed pod.  There will be staining on fingers from this but it comes off easy enough.  Another way for removing the seed pod is to cut the bottom of the fruit and ‘push’ the seed pod out of the calyx.  Harvesting Hibiscus ~ Cheryl's DelightsThis method is great for small hibiscus fruit but not so much for larger ones.

The hibiscus is ready to use, it can also be dried and stored for later use.  I use a standard food dehydrator.  Store in an air tight container.


Hibiscus are used for flavor and for medicinal uses.

Harvesting Hibiscus ~ Cheryl's Delights“Hibiscus ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis , Family: Malvaceae) acts as an antiseptic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, demulcent, digestive, diuretic, emollient, purgative, refrigerant, resolvent, sedative, stomachic and tonic. All the parts of Hibiscus plant are useful medicinally. Hibiscus leaves are emollient, diuretic, refrigerant and sedative. Leaves, seeds, and mature calyces exhibit diuretic and antiscorbutic properties. Succulent calyx, boiled in water, is used as a drink in bilious problems. Fruits act as antiscorbutic. Bitter roots are used as aperitive and tonic. Mucilaginous leaves can be used as an emollient and as a soothing cough remedy. Hibiscus leaves make excellent shampoo. Flower extract has been used in many folk remedies for liver disorders, high blood pressure and as aphrodisiac. Hibiscus relieves stomach problems, sweetens breath and soothes nerves. An extract of the hibiscus flowers lower cholesterol content in blood serum and helps to prevent oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol). Daily uptake of Hibiscus tea is useful for reducing high blood pressure.”

Source: http://www.shvoong.com/medicine-and-health/alternative-medicine/506062-hibiscus-medicinal-properties/#ixzz2NAMf9Hmg


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9 Responses to Harvesting Hibiscus

  • SoCalGT says:

    OK, after this post you know I’m going to be checking out all of the Hibiscus plants in my yard, lol! Is there anything in particular to look for in order to identify either Hibiscus sabdariffa or Hibiscus rosa-sinensis? I didn’t plant any of them and have no clue what variety they are.

    • This type of plant has a flower identical to an okra flower. They look like okra plants with burgundy stalks. They need to be planted each year since they will not tolerate cold. The plant gets very tall, so much so they may sag. I suggest ya buy some seeds and plant them this year if you do not have any! They are great! I had mine in an obscure part of the yard (translates to I forgot to water them A LOT). I live in south TX and they were fine!

  • Rebecca says:

    My plants are growing very well ( I planted them from seed). However even though they are green and lush I still don’t have blooms..:(
    Since I will be using them for tea I don’t want to feed them a chemical plant food to encourage the blooms. Any suggestions on organic plant food? And silly question…. Do they have to have plant food to bloom?

    • Rebecca, last year mine took forever to bloom! I thought they were broken :-P but once they started they went crazy! I planted mine late, maybe May early June and I did not get blooms till September. I have not tried to force blooms so unfortunately I have no suggestions. I understand potassium helps blooms but I am just going by memory, do not take that as a suggestion. Simply a place to begin researching. Hope that helps!

  • Rebecca says:

    My hibiscus are not blooming …. Any suggestions for organic solutions to force the blooms?

  • Joyce says:

    I planted mine from seeds, and they are just now blooming, can I harvest the first year? I know some plants you have to wait a certain amount of years for the medicinal properties to mature. I drink iced hibiscus every day to replenish my electrolytes, so it will be nice to have my own.

    Also you mentioned you are in TX, I’m in Louisiana, you mentioned having to plant them every year, even here in zone 9?

    • Hello Joyce. You will get a harvest this year. After the bloom they are ready to harvest in 3-4 weeks. I have noticed as fall turns colder the fruit becomes smaller. Once it gets in the 40′s the plant will die. They are very akin to okra. I am also in zone 9. Last year with the mild winter my plants died when we hit the 40 degree range. If you are wanting a big harvest, I suggest planting a lot of seeds next year as the plants bloom only during the fall in my experience. I sure hope this helps! I am happy to know I am not alone in growing hibiscus! ~ Cheryl

      • Joyce says:

        When is the best time to start seeds? Do you go by the temperature, or the months. We had a long winter last year, and most of the seeds I planted died. So, just wondering if maybe it’s a temperature thing, thanks for your help, glad to have found you.

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