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I've come upon a serious love for Hibiscus tea. We want to plant several Hibiscus plants for our own use. So many types to choose from and not sure which ones to choose for this purpose. Anyone with experience with this?

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    Could you share your hardiness zone as well? That way you can get recommendations from people in the same zone, not just people in your immediate locale. Thanks!
    – Niall C.
    Feb 7, 2016 at 4:36
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    Have you read any books on online resources, such as Growing Tropical Hibiscus Up North (trop-hibiscus.com/gindr.html)?
    – user13580
    Feb 7, 2016 at 7:46
  • Hardiness zone is 6b. Feb 7, 2016 at 11:09

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If you've been buying Hibiscus tea, the variety of Hibiscus that's used is Hibiscus sabdariffa, which has magenta or deep red sepals (calyx), and that's the part that's used to make the tea. Where you live, you'd have to grow it annually from seed started off indoors, because it won't survive your winters - it does fine in USDA Zones 8 upwards. More information in the link below:

https://www.tyrantfarms.com/hibiscus-a-tasty-addition-to-your-edible-landscape-or-garden/

In theory, any hibiscus can be used to make a sort of tea (it's really a tisane) but it won't taste the same as tea made from H. sabdariffa, and you may find its tastier using the leaves or other parts of the plant of the variety you choose. There is no definitive information regarding the edibility or otherwise of newer varieties of Hibiscus, but there is a general belief that they're all edible. The other variety that is generally accepted for making tea, in this case using the leaves to make an astringent drink, is Hibiscus rosa sinensis, but again, this isn't hardy in your zone. You might be interested to read the information in the link below regarding the general edibility of hibiscus, with a little information about tea

http://www.hiddenvalleyhibiscus.com/misc/edible.htm

The one that will grow and tolerate your temperatures is Hibiscus syriacus - no idea what the tea from that tastes like, it can be made from the leaves or flowers, but the tea may have side effects which you perhaps don't want, as implied in the link below

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Hibiscus+syriacus

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