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Growing Rhubarb

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

(Best months for growing Rhubarb in Australia - temperate regions)

P = Plant in the garden.

  • Easy to grow. Plant pieces of rhizome or roots 8 - 10 cm (3 - 4 in.) deep. Best planted at soil temperatures between 5°C and 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 90 cm 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 in same bed): Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc)
  • Young rhubarb
    Young rhubarb

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

27 Jun 15, michael mitchell (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
i have bought 5 rhubarb plants recently and I am wondering should I plant them we are probably in for more heavy frosts. These frosts have already damaged some of my succulents and I have had to put these plants under cover to protect them. Thanks for any advice.
12 Jun 15, Elaine Beard (Australia - temperate climate)
I have 2 rhubarb crowns that I planted in the summer. They were under a tree with dappled light. The leaves have now gone from the tree.Today I noticed that the crowns have no leaves and do not appear to have growth. Can I lift them and replant else where? We had a very hot summer.
22 May 15, Sandra (Australia - temperate climate)
When should I harvest rhubarb. Our rhubarb seems to have gone "to seed". Can I harvest it now or is it too late?
31 May 15, Anne (Australia - temperate climate)
If you cut off the long flower stalk at the base the plant will continue to grow and produce stalks. They last for years as long as you do that.
21 May 15, Margaret Weatherley (Australia - temperate climate)
I can grow rhubarb very well, but it is really tasteless. Can anyone tell me way?
02 May 15, Stephen (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I am wondering when to harvest which varieties - I thought there were spring and autumn cropping rhubarb varieties but most descriptions seem to say 'year round'. Are there specific (and available)varieties for a separate spring and autumn crop? Thank you. Steve.
29 Apr 15, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I grow rhubarb and I have plenty of stalks but they are short, no more than 30cm, and only 1cm thick. I prepared the soil well with plenty of compost and feed regularly with dynamic lifter, Epsom salts, Seasol and cow manure pats around each plant. I water deeply twice a week. It tastes great but I would love to know how to get larger stalks. Any ideas would be gratefully received Thanks
30 Apr 15, ray (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
Try just manuring the plants when the leaves have dies down to protect the crown over the winter, you don't really need to add Epsom salts as its probably putting to much iron for the plant to cope with and only add it if the leave start to go yellowish in the spring.
26 Apr 15, Paul Costin (Australia - temperate climate)
I have several plants in an strip area between the west side of the house and the fence. In summer the sun shines from 11am to 3 pm, in winter little sun. On a windy day it area is draughty and cold and hot in summer. My questioned is Production and growth is poor even tho. The plants are fertilised and mulched as required. Should the plants be lifted up in the same area, I feel they could be a little low. 2 plants I have replanted into pots In a north facing area and are going well another plant is not. If you have any advice it would be appreciated. Thanks Paul
13 Apr 15, Lisa (Australia - temperate climate)
I would like to grow rhubarb in a pot... does anyone have some tips?
Showing 1 - 10 of 151 comments

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