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How to Grow Kenaf Hibiscus From Seeds

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Kenaf hibiscus (Hibiscus cannabinus) is also commonly called brown Indian hemp. This annual hibiscus blooms two to three months after planting or when the day length shortens to 12 1/2 hours per day, depending on the cultivar. The funnel-shaped flowers feature red or pale yellow to off-white petals. Kenaf hibiscus grows to a height of 6 to 22 feet and may or may not develop branches, depending on the cultivar, seed spacing and growing conditions. Choose a sunny planting area where the kenaf hibiscus will be exposed to at least six hours of direct light daily.

Remove all of the weeds growing at the planting site. Spread a 2 to 4 inch-layer of leaf mold, peat moss, well-aged manure and compost over the soil along with 1/2 pound of 15-8-12 fertilizer per 50 square feet of planting area. Use a shovel or tiller to turn the soil and mix the amendments in thoroughly to a depth of eight to 10 inches.

Clear away large clumps of dirt and stones. The soil must be loose with a fine texture. Kenaf hibiscus grows best in sandy or sandy loam soil that drains quickly. Add perlite to improve the draining capabilities of clay soil or build a 4- to 5-inch high raised planting bed.

Sow the seeds 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Plant them 5 to 6 inches apart for branchless plants or 2 to 3 feet apart for branched plants. Space multiple rows 3 to 4 feet apart. Water the freshly planted seeds thoroughly to ensure good soil contact.

Continue to water the seeds as often as necessary to keep the soil moist until the seeds germinate and for the first month or so until they become well-established. Kenaf hibiscuses grow long taproots and are drought-tolerant but grow best with supplemental water.

Reduce watering frequency to once or twice per week after the first month but water them generously.

Spread a 2- to 3-inch depth of organic mulch around the plants after they germinate to help keep the soil moist.

Prune the plants back by as much as one-third to one-half with sharp pruners to maintain smaller plants and encourage branching. Cut them above a growth bud or eye. Leave them unpruned to promote flower production; only older branches will produce flowers.

  • Purdue University: Center for New Crops and Plants Products: Hibiscus Cannabinus L.
  • Purdue University: Horticulture and Landscape Architecture: Kenaf Production: Fiber, Feed, and Seed
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst: Center for Agriculture Research & Extension: Kenaf; an Ecological Source for Paper
  • Clemson University: Clemson Cooperative Extension: Home & Garden Information Center: Changing the pH of Your Soil
  • Clemson University: Clemson Cooperative Extension: Home & Garden Information Center: Growing Annuals
  • Plant the kenaf hibiscus seeds in the spring after the soil temperature rises to 55 degrees Fahrenheit or at any time during the summer up until mid-August.
  • Check the soil pH in the fall. Kenaf hibiscus grows best in soil with a pH of 6.1 to 7.8. Spread lime on the soil to raise the pH or sulfur to lower the pH at a rate determined by how much the pH must be changed and the soil type. Clay soil requires more while sandy soil requires less.

Reannan Raine worked for 30 years in the non-profit sector in various positions. She recently became a licensed insurance agent but has decided to pursue a writing career instead. Ms. Raine is hoping to have her first novel published soon.

How to Grow Kenaf Hibiscus From Seeds. Kenaf hibiscus (Hibiscus cannabinus) is also commonly called brown Indian hemp. This annual hibiscus blooms two to three months after planting or when the day length shortens to 12 1/2 hours per day, depending on the cultivar. The funnel-shaped flowers feature red or pale yellow …

Kenaf seed oil

Summary

Kenaf oil is obtained from the seeds ofHibiscus cannabinus L. The procedure for extracting the oil is practically the same as is used in extracting cotton seed oil. The seed is ground and pressed without decortication because the episperm is strongly adherent to the kernel and also because of the peculiar shape of the seed. Up to 20% oil of the weight of the seed may be obtained, depending upon the extraction method used. The oil is nonsiccative and, when refined, may be used for salads and cooking purposes. Generally speaking, it has the same uses as cotton seed oil which it may substitute with the advantage of having a somewhat milder odor.

The residual cake, which is gray in color due to the presence of the episperm may be advantageously used as a concentrate food for cattle.

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References

Association of Official Agricultural Chemists. 1940—Official and Tentative Methods of Analysis—5th Edition.

Choussy, F. 1942—El posible implantamiento del cultivo de la Rosella en El Salvador; datos básicos y recopilaciones. Talleres Gráficos Cisneros. San Salvador, El Salvador.

Choussy, F. 1944 —Nuevas observaciones y deducciones sobre el cultivo de la “Rosella” en El Salvador. Anales del Instituto Tecnológico de El Salvador 1:1.

Crane, J. C. 1944—Economic Plants of Interest to the Americas. Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.) as a fiber crop. Mimeographed. Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Crane, J. C. 1943—Economic Plants of Interest to the Americas. Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) as a fiber crop. Mimeographed. Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations, U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Crane, J. C., and Acuña, J. B. 1945—Effect of plant spacing and time of planting on seed yield of Kenaf,Hibiscus cannabinus L. Jour. Amer. Soc. Agron.37 (12), 969–977, 1945.

Crane, J. C., and Acuña, J. B. 1945—Varieties of Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.), a base fiber plant, in Cuba. Bot. Gaz.106 (3), 349–355.

Jamieson, G. S. 1943—Vegetables, Fats, and Oils—2nd Edition. Reinhold Publishing Corp.

Georgi, C. D. V. 1923—Roselle Seed Oil. Malayan Agric. Jour.11, 223–224.

Michote, F. 1928—Les Hibiscus (ketmie) Traité Sci. et Indus. des Plantes Textiles. Bal. Nos. 3-6.

Kenaf oil is obtained from the seeds ofHibiscus cannabinus L. The procedure for extracting the oil is practically the same as is used in extracting cotton