Estimation of Planting Dates for Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) in the Humid Tropical Environment of Owerri, South-eastern Nigeria.
In order to fill the gap existing between the production and consumption of roselle in the humid tropical areas of Nigeria, this experiment was carried out in Owerri between May and December, 2012 to evaluate the effects of planting dates and accessions on the growth and performance of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa). Six planting dates including planting at monthly intervals from May to October and two accessions (Purple calyx and Green calyx) were evaluated. The experiment was laid out as a 2 x 6 factorial in Randomized Complete Block (RCB) with three replications. Results revealed that all roselle crops planted in May through August flowered within the same period (26 – 29th September) which coincided with the period of short days in the northern hemisphere. Consequently, roselle planted in May produced flower buds significantly (138 days after planting) compared to other dates. July sown roselle in addition to producing flower bud relatively earlier (80.2 days after planting), had comparably higher number of flower buds/plant and calyx length. Roselle sown in September and October however did not flower. For use as vegetables in soup making, green calyx roselle should be sown in May and harvested not later than 8 weeks after planting. Planting in July appears to favour early flowering and is appropriate for purple calyx roselle.
Keywords: Roselle, Accession, Planting Date, Month, Calyx Length