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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 crowns

  • 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 beside): 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

15 Jul 17, Jan Quirk (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
A friend gave me a healthy looking bunch of rhubarb with leaves intact. I have heard that it is not good to eat the stems if they have had frost on them as the toxin is forced down the stalk from the leaf, is this true? Thank you
19 Jul 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
never heard of this before only leaves are poisonous
11 Jul 17, Carole Leonard (Australia - temperate climate)
Can l grow rhubarb in a pot ? If so what is the best way to go about it?
15 Jul 17, Sam (Australia - tropical climate)
Not recommended for pots. I tried over the years in Adelaide and had the most success in the ground.
14 Jul 17, John (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Rhubarb like lots of manure, a good water supply and cool roots. If you can provide this in a large tub there is no reason why not
14 Jun 17, Andy Charlton (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi live in Goulburn NSW which is best time to grow from seed and how to thank you
15 Jun 17, Sean (Australia - temperate climate)
i would sow rhubarb seed in the spring when the weather starts to warm up. Seeds need to be lightly covered with soil and kept moist. Spring sowing will give the plants a chance to attain some size before the following winter. Seedlings can be very variable from green to red stalks and from thin to thick stalks. Discard the seedlings after the season that don't meet your requirements.
11 Jun 17, Joanne Smith (Australia - temperate climate)
My rhubarb is mostly leaves. Huge leaves and very short stalks??anything I can do to change this?
12 Jun 17, Giovanni (Australia - temperate climate)
Nearly all of the rhubarb available is grown from seed which means that growth can be variable. An excess of nitrogen can also cause excessive leaf growth as well so don't fertilise this winter and see if the stalks are bigger next season.
30 May 17, Steve (Australia - temperate climate)
Cheap potting mix is fine. Just make sure to add some slow release fertilizer and compost in it. I don't waste my money on expensive rubbish that you can make yourself for half the price. As with all potting soils you must continue to feed it. The only difference between cheap and expensive potting soil is 6 months of a plant living in it then the expensive one has the same quality as the cheap one
Showing 1 - 10 of 301 comments

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