Growing Rhubarb

Rheum rhabarbarum : Polygonaceae / the dock family

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

(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

11 Sep 23, Candace Norman (Canada - Zone 2a Sub-Arctic climate)
Planted from nursery stock this year. No flower/seed stalks apparent, do I pull or cut fruit stalks then mulch over for winter?
29 Aug 23, sally (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, I have a very healthy rhubarb growing and it is gigantic. Leaves are big as elephants ears. I have thick long healthy stalks but they are green. I have slight pinkish tint at lower end of stalk but rest is green. It is about 5 months old and has grown amazingly, but I have pulled 1 stalk and cooked it, it had no taste whatsoever.
06 Sep 23, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sounds like you over fertilised and water it.
29 Aug 23, Becky (USA - Zone 3b climate)
(i live in southwest MN in the summer and winter in Arkansas. )It’s September and I just bought some rhubarb to plant in zone 3b-4. Can I plant now in September and leave them do I need to stay and water them continually or should I take them back down south with me and take care of them and plant in the spring back in zone 3b-4. Thank you for your help.
06 Sep 23, Anonymous (USA - Zone 4a climate)
Check your climate zone time to plant and plant then.
10 Jul 23, Barbara (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Sorrento- WA , soil is very sandy .I built up with good potting mix & it's in a semi ,parts of the year spot.I have used good fertiliser but I can't seem to get it to grow wider than my little finger , I keep chopping it back as well ,thinking it will get thicker . It was cut from a friend's crop. Need your help .
13 Jul 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try adding manures and compost. Potting mix doesn't have a lot of nutrients in it.
14 Jul 23, Brett (Australia - temperate climate)
I agree !
18 Jun 23, Elaine Huneycutt (USA - Zone 7b climate)
What is the best Friday to grow in zone 7?
01 May 23, Julia (Australia - temperate climate)
I planted rhubarb around 7 months ago, the leaves have grow huge and some are mottled and unhealthy. I know I am not supposed to harvest for the first how do I treat the plant? Do I just leave it be, or do I need to trim it or remove leaves? Does the same stalk stay until harvest time? Please advise care of plant in first year of growing until harvesting time. Thank you so much! Warmest regards
Showing 1 - 10 of 617 comments

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