Growing Rhubarb

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
      P                

(Best months for growing Rhubarb in USA - Zone 5a regions)

P = Plant crowns

  • Easy to grow. Plant pieces of rhizome or roots 8 - 10 cm (3 - 4 in.) deep. Best planted at soil temperatures between 41°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 35 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 1 years. You will have a stronger plant if you leave it for about a year before using..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc)
  • Young rhubarb
  • Rhubarb Plant

Rhubarb is easy to grow in cool climates and is a perennial. Rhubarb can be left in the ground and will return a crop for many years, at least 10 to 15 years (We have one that is more than 20 yrs old). Rhubarb is quite a hardy crop but the crown will rot if in heavy wet clay soils. It can cope with dry periods. Plant in good soil and remove as many weeds as possible. Do not disturb rhubarb roots when cultivating round the plant. Better in cooler climates, but can be grown in shady areas of warm climates. You can lift and divide rhubarb to make more plants . It is best to do this when the plant is dormant ( or at least less actively growing) in winter or late autumn. It is best to wait until a plant is about 5 years old before dividing the crown but it can be moved at any age. Some of the root structure will be damaged when lifting it, so stalk production will not be so good for a few months. If you have mild winters and your rhubarb is still producing new stalks, you can continue to pick it. Although rhubarb is used in desserts and jams, it is considered a vegetable because the stalks are used not the fruit.

NB Do not eat the leaves or roots as they contain oxalic acid which is poisonous. They should not be fed to poultry or stock either.

Remove flower stalks as they appear as the plant will stop producing leaf stalks when flowering.

Rhubarb can be 'forced' by covering dormant crowns with clay pots or a cloche in early spring.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Rhubarb

Pick stems about the thickness of your finger. Large stems will have tough 'strings' down the length of them.
Use in pies, crumbles, fools and jams. Rhubarb goes well with orange.
Will usually need sweetener.

Your comments and tips

15 May 22, (USA - Zone 8a climate)
What variety of rhubarb will grow in zone 8 or 9
05 May 22, Amathonn (USA - Zone 9a climate)
My Month by Month Florida Gardening book says you can grow rhubarb year-round in north Florida and August to October in central and south Florida. I’m guessing shade cloth would be in order for the latter two the rest of the year. I never cared much for it growing up in Iowa but I think I’ll give it a try at my little hobby farm near Arcadia, Fl just for the challenge of it.
06 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - tropical climate)
The plants probably need more regular watering than shade cloth. Heavy shade cloth will reduce the available sunlight. By this guide not a lot of opportunity to grow it in zones 6a or 6b. I have absolutely no idea what your weather is like - I live in Australia.
15 Apr 22, Peter Hilhorst (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Can we grow rhubarb in Zambia? We are in a summer rainfall area with about 800mm annual rainfall. Wet / warm season temp 35-43C. Cool/dry season 15-25C. Hot / dry season can go up to 45C.
19 Apr 22, M (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Read up the climate zones for South Africa and see if any are similar to yours. If so use the planting guide for that climate zone.
20 Mar 22, Wayneman (USA - Zone 9a climate)
I live in zone 9a and have had success growing rhubarb. I have it in planter boxes and it seemed like it would not make the first summer but it is beautiful this spring. I keep in in partial shade during the summer.
18 Jan 22, Washingtonian in Texas (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I am from East Washington but moved to Texas. Rhubarb is one of my favorite things and when I was growing up in my Washington hometown, my grandma had a huge, really old rhubarb plant that had been producing stalks since before I was born. And I would just pull a stalk out of the ground, wash off with her hose, and snack on whenever I felt like it. Well, I married a military man, and he got stationed in San Antonio and then he got offered a civilian job here, so we are now here to stay. I would really like to grow rhubarb in my garden, especially because I can't even find it here in the store (and the only two times I have found it fresh in the store, the cashiers didn't even know what it was. I kid you not. That's how rare rhubarb is here, so uncommon that the locals don't even know what it looks like as a fresh vegetable). Anyway, does anyone know how I might grow rhubarb here in my new climate? I really miss it. Thanks!
18 Mar 22, Dorth Her (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Where did you find rhubarb seeds/crowns? What variety are you growing? I’ve been looking and the websites I’ve been able to find different varieties they have sold out. I really want and can’t find is the German Wine variety. Any recommendations?
19 Jan 22, Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
It's probably too hot and dry in Texas to grow rhubarb in a garden bed. If you have a pot that you can move into shade, you might be lucky.
18 Dec 21, david (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
how do I get the stalks to grow red. The plants are thriving and are fertilised with seasol and watered reguarly.
Showing 1 - 10 of 565 comments

I am from East Washington but moved to Texas. Rhubarb is one of my favorite things and when I was growing up in my Washington hometown, my grandma had a huge, really old rhubarb plant that had been producing stalks since before I was born. And I would just pull a stalk out of the ground, wash off with her hose, and snack on whenever I felt like it. Well, I married a military man, and he got stationed in San Antonio and then he got offered a civilian job here, so we are now here to stay. I would really like to grow rhubarb in my garden, especially because I can't even find it here in the store (and the only two times I have found it fresh in the store, the cashiers didn't even know what it was. I kid you not. That's how rare rhubarb is here, so uncommon that the locals don't even know what it looks like as a fresh vegetable). Anyway, does anyone know how I might grow rhubarb here in my new climate? I really miss it. Thanks!

- Washingtonian in Texas

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