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Cranberry hibiscus has striking red leaves and is similar to Japanese maple, in both leaf shape and color. It can be planted in the spring and kept pruned for an attractive annual shrub and may be grown as a temporary hedge. Cranberry hibiscus is nematode and insect resistant and does well in sandy soil.
The young tender red leaves have a tart flavor and are an attractive addition to fruit and tossed salads, slaws, or stir fries. In the fall it has pink blossoms. About thirty blossoms can be picked at dusk after they have folded, and blended with lime juice and sugar to make a beautiful and tasty drink. The petals add a bright red color rather than any special flavor. Pinch the tips of stems as it grows to make it bushy, otherwise it will grow several feet tall and fall over. Cranberry hibiscus may act as a long-term annual or as a short-term perennial and can be propagated by seed or by cuttings.
Scientific Name: Hibiscus acetosella