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Growing Rhubarb

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

(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
    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

14 Dec 17, M Bray (Australia - temperate climate)
Could I plant rhubarb now & where can obtain estabilished crowns.
04 Dec 17, Manfred (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a rhubarb plant and the leaves are turning yellow and red, what is wrong here.
05 Dec 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try and work out if you have the green leaf or the yellow leaf variety.
04 Dec 17, Geoff (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My rhubarb has been doing very well for a few years, just north of Sydney, in raised beds. I split them up last year and they have produced heaps of stems. In late November the leaves became dark and hard and crinkled - but stems look OK. I can't find any disease that would cause this. Is it disaster? I have kept water up to them, and the soil was well manured when I replanted them.
05 Dec 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Did you have any really hot dry days - like a dry hot NW wind. This could/would burn them.
28 Nov 17, Sandy (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I got a clump of rhubarb from my sister this summer. I have a brick planter in the front yard that had some room, so I planted it there, beside an artichoke plant. Gave it a good dose of vitamin B1, kept it well watered and it has been doing very well, looking very healthy, and, all of a sudden, it turned yellow. It started turning yellow in October. Could it be, it needs more water (I haven't been watering it much, now that it is looking so good)? Could it be the frost (we have had a few frosty mornings. Just in case it's the frost, I've been covering it at night. Thank you for any insight that can be offered.
20 Nov 17, barb (Australia - temperate climate)
My Sister always put a red jelly into rhubarb (once it was cooked) this provides sugar and colour but not used to set it.
20 Nov 17, barb (Australia - temperate climate)
when is the picking season in south aust?
23 Nov 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Did you read the notes here about Rhubarb?. Plants Sept Oct and harvest in a years time.
24 Oct 17, Adriana Cooper (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Like Karen my stems are green can you still eat them, when do the go red? My plants are very healthy and have very good stems.
Showing 1 - 10 of 363 comments

What position and planting advice for Kloof Kzn South Africa for Rhubarb seadlings

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