This plant is a short-lived perennial shrub in the subtropics and tropics but can be grown as an annual in cooler climates. It grows rapidly to 3-5' high with deeply cut leaves similar to Japanese maple. The leaf color of deep cranberry red is highly ornamental; the flowers are a small, very pretty, rose-pink hibiscus-type. Cranberry hibiscus is a hardy plant that thrives when it is warm and wet; it prefers full sun but will grow in partial shade. It needs ample water, rich, fertile, well-drained soil that is kept mulched and a pH of between 6.1 and 6.5.
Food: A very nutritious vegetable; the leaves are high in vitamins B3 (niacin), B2, A and C. It is high in protein and an excellent source of antioxidants and anthocyanins. The young leaves are known for their pleasantly tart flavor, eaten either raw or cooked. The vivid leaf colour makes this a good choice as a background plant in ornamental beds.