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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

18 Nov 15, Ruth (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Annette, there are various rhubarb varieties, some have green, some red stalks, the red ones tend not to be so sour! happy gardening
16 Nov 15, Cas Allan (Australia - temperate climate)
Gordon Staples, I asked the same question about some of my rhubarb not turning red. Tonight I cooked some of the green stems and they taste the same as the red ones. Yes, you can eat the green ones.
07 Nov 15, Michelle carbine (Australia - temperate climate)
When you buy a rhubarb crown does the entire thing have to be under the soil and how long after planting before signs of growth should be noticed?
01 Nov 15, Geoff Gabbott (Australia - temperate climate)
Q- Bug Problem I have found bugs having a feast on my plants Have an oval body , legs, antenna- etc size- approx 10/20 mm long - colour mainly black with yellow patches on back - one was 20mm + - can climb metal fences- even after hose down of metal fence they climb again . some have various colours - say "dull grey" but most have distinctive yellow backs Can you identify ? - also pest control advice will be appreciated - I live in Canberra Thanks Geoff
18 Nov 15, Ruth (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi Geoff, I had that problem last year, might be Rutherglen bugs? hope this helps, happy gardening
14 Oct 15, John Madden (Australia - temperate climate)
What do you do when plants produce a seed head?
10 Sep 15, Terry Fitzgerald (Australia - temperate climate)
Will rubarb grow at coffs harbour and how well
30 Sep 15, jan furniss (Australia - temperate climate)
rubarb should grow in coffs harbour,they like semy shade
19 Sep 15, Joanna (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It grows very well in Bellingen area - someone gave me a few old crowns and I have never looked back
06 Sep 15, gordon staples (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
rhubarb plant is approx 3months old , huge stems half a metre high large leaves but still green,how long before it colors?
Showing 1 - 10 of 168 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.

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