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Growing Rhubarb

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

23 Mar 20, gary ellard (Australia - temperate climate)
have been growing rhubarb in a 2mtr square wicking bed. Have shreddard old horse manure and placed it on top of the bed as a mulch. Before i did this , i was cultivating stalks regularly but then the leaves turned red and i lost the lot. I was led to believe rhubarb loves manure of horse. Have i done any thing wrong?
24 Mar 20, Chris (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It might be too acid. Have you checked the soil pH?
24 Mar 20, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Manures generally have little NPK. When you put these or other mulches in the soil, they grab all the N to break the manure down, therefore the plant has little access to N and don't grow much. In future put the manure in a pile and wet it and turn it over regularly to break it down to compost before putting it on the garden. When applying mulch over put it on about 50mm thick. Mulch 200mm thick will take a long time for water to pernitrate through to the soil.
18 Feb 20, Shari (USA - Zone 10a climate)
What about growing rhubarb in the San Jose CA area? I am in a warm, sunny, dry subtropical zone. The last rhubarb I planted was Victoria. It was pithy and green and bothered my stomach. I was going to try KangaRhu which supposedly is bred for warmer climes. I am a transplanted Midwesterner who misses my rhubarb. Has anyone had successful experience in my area? What type?
09 Feb 20, Mary Russell (Australia - arid climate)
I am growing my rhubarb in a tub.The plant grows 3 slim stalks .One stalk dies then another keeps repeating this pattern.So into able to use in cooking I keep the plant in semi shade as the sun was too harsh in good topsoil Can you help please
15 Feb 20, Cassie (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Also rhubarb is a heavy feeder and evolved in cooler temperate climates. It does not like its roots to get hot and being in a tub in a hot climate might be impairing irs growth
10 Feb 20, Another gardener (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Rhubarb needs full sun and tolerates light shade. As I have outside garden beds I don't do pots. Pots need a lot more attention to soil requirements and watering. In most cases plants will survive in hot weather if watered regularly and if need be some shade. You say in a tub, does it have enough drainage.
20 Jan 20, Louise R (Australia - temperate climate)
I haven't been able to buy Rhubarb Crowns in Armadale 6112. W.A. You can only buy Punnets.
11 Jan 20, Kevin Crosbie (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Hi we live in Port Elizabeth and recently started growing a rhubarb plant in a pot. It has being doing fine although some critter has been eating on the leave. I came home yesterday and it looked like it had started wilting so I gave it some water,thus morning it looks like it is dying there are some new leaves at the bottom should I be cutting back the old growth?
13 Jan 20, (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
I don't grow rhubarb but if the leaves are dead then cut them back.
Showing 1 - 10 of 481 comments

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