How to plant vinegar

Hibiscus sabdariffa

The vinegar, also known as rosela and okra-sour among other names, is a vigorous shrub that can reach almost 5 m in height in plants whose branches are used for the extraction of textile fibers. The cultivated varieties that are used as food are smaller, reaching up to 2.5 m in height. Of these, the young leaves and the tips of the branches, raw, braised or cooked, can be consumed as vegetables. The leaves, depending on the cultivar, can be green or reddish. The stems and petioles (the stems of the leaves) are usually red. The chalices of the flowers are red and fleshy, being used in the form of soft drinks, teas, jellies and sweets. Both the leaves and the goblets have a pleasant acid flavor, hence the popular name vinegar. Flowers (the corolla of the flower) and seeds can also be consumed,

In addition to being a source of food and textile fibers, the vinegar can also be used as a medicinal plant, as a source of natural dyes and as an ornamental plant in gardens.


The vinegar does not grow well at temperatures below 20 ° C and cannot withstand low temperatures and frosts. The ideal for its cultivation is a hot and humid climate. In colder regions, it can be grown only during the hottest months of the year.


Requires direct sunlight. The vinegar is a plant sensitive to the duration of daylight hours, not blooming in periods of the year with long days (days with more than 13 hours of light), which occurs in regions of greater latitude during spring and summer . In tropical regions, which have low latitude, this plant can bloom at any time of the year.


It can be grown in any type of soil, as long as it is well drained. The ideal is well-drained, deep, fertile soils and rich in organic matter. As for the pH of the soil, this plant does not grow well in very acidic soils.


The best thing is that there is no lack of water, so that the soil always remains moist, but this plant is relatively resistant to short periods of drought when it is well developed.


Planting can be done by seeds or cuttings. The seeds can be sown in the final place or in sowing, bags for seedlings or pots, transplanting the seedlings to the final place when they reach 10 to 20 cm in height. Seed germination is usually quick, occurring in less than a week under suitable conditions.

Planting by cuttings has the advantage of generating well-developed plants in less time. Use pieces of branches taken from plants that are not blooming.

The spacing can be 1 m between cultivation lines and 0.5 m to 1 m between plants. If the goal is to harvest the goblets, use the largest spacing. To harvest only leaves and tips of branches, it is possible to use the smallest spacing between plants.


Remove invasive plants that are competing for resources and nutrients.


Leaf harvesting can start between 60 and 90 days. On a domestic scale, it is possible to harvest leaves or the tips of branches when necessary. In commercial cultivation, branches 40 to 50 cm long are cut, and the harvest can be repeated when the plants recover, which takes approximately one month (it is usually possible to make three harvests).

When the main objective is to harvest goblets from flowers, leaves or branches are not normally harvested. Flowering starts in 5 or 6 months, as long as the photoperiod conditions are adequate. Each cup is harvested approximately three weeks after the opening of its flower, when they are well developed, but still tender, with the fruits still immature (the fruits are capsules).

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