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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

08 Aug 15, anna (Australia - temperate climate)
I keep the liquid to a minimum when cooking rhuburb (chopped into 2 inch long lengths)and stay in the kitchen so i can check it regularly. Nothing worse than overcooked mushy rhubarb. For those watching weight I have cooked it in low calorie lemonade. Once cooked then remove from hotplate and dissolve a small amount of gelatine into liquid. Not enough for it to set the liquid. But just enough for the remaining pink liquid to look the consistency of a syrup
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.
05 Jul 15, Ken (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, I planted Rhubarb (3 plants) a few months ago and they are doing well and growing albeit a bit slow at the moment. We have had frosts down to -5 recently and it has not effected them Ken
22 Aug 15, Carol (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hello Did you cover the rhurbarb? Regards Carol
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
Showing 1 - 10 of 155 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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