Hibiscus flowers are the big showy blossoms that grow nearly everywhere in warm, tropical climates. They are busy members of the mallow family, with hundreds of different hibiscus species. The flowers are large and brightly colored, shaped like a horn or trumpet. Some species will change color as they age.
The pistil and stamens often protrude dramatically from the horn of the flower, adding to its reputation as a showy blossom. They serve as decoration, as component for making paper, and as food product. Their flowers also serve as hibiscus tea, which have a tangy citrus flavor and a cooling effect on the body. Egyptian pharaohs drank them, and it’s still common practice to use them as a toast in Egyptian weddings.
Making the Tea
To make the tea, you’ll need to boil the hibiscus flowers for half an hour, add sugar, and chill. The large red ones will give your nutritious drink a beautiful crimson color. Hibiscus drinks are also popular in cocktails in the Caribbean, where they use it to enhance both alcoholic and non-alcoholic fruit drinks. They also serve as ingredients in salads, and as an edible garnish, and in candies. The most popular and conspicuous use for hibiscus flowers, however, is decorative, as its large colorful blooms are ubiquitous in warm weather vacation spots.
Dissecting the Plant
Also called the Rose of Sharon, Hibiscus plants do not require water, the blooms will stay viable, with or without watering, and yet their arranged flowers last only one day.New blossoms, however, are usually just an arm’s length away and they do produce new bloom continuously.
Hibiscus plants, however, occasionally have some bad leaves. You can see the contrast you have here where those nice, beautiful dark green foliage, have some bad leaves underneath. The first rule of thumb is to grab the leaf, take it back down near the pedial, and just cut it off. If you’re seeing many aphids or mites that’s causing trouble, you might try something like neme oil or soap. Spray carefully, as the hibiscus is also prone to phytotoxicity, which are plant burns. Stick to organic pesticides, which should deliver good results.
There are over two hundred species of hibiscus flowers, all of them beautiful, low-maintenance, and treasured for salads, alcohol, and tea. Learn more about Hibiscus tea, along with the modern repackaging of this drink of the ancients.