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Growing Rhubarb

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

(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

10 Feb 18, Mary Ann (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a rhubarb plant in a polystyrene box. It is growing well, and the stems are thick, but haven't coloured. Should I move it into shade?
12 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
There is two types of rhubarb - green and red. Maybe you have the green variety. For 5-6 years I bought celery seedlings (the label shows a nice bunch of celery). Every year I end up with Italian Parsley or similar). Even from two different nurseries.
05 Feb 18, stephen lavell (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have a young blueberry plant and a raspberry plant . Ive potted them in large 85l pots with good soil but unsure where they should be positioned in my yard. The info that came with the plants is very confusing. Any help would be great. Thanks Steve Lavell
07 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Look up the internet how to grow blueberry and raspberry.
04 Feb 18, Charles Thompson (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have a Stratco planter box with no bottom and 30cm deep and standing on a partially shaded concrete slab. Will I be able to grow rhubarb in it under these conditions?
05 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
30 cm of soil on a concrete slab - I wouldn't do it. The shallow soil would require a lot of attention with watering and the concrete slab - how does the excess water drain away.
21 Jan 18, Leanne (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a rhubarb plant,it has been in a pot for approximately 12 months. The stalks start to turn a pinkish color but then they die. The weather here is quite hot in summer. What do i need to do for it
22 Jan 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try putting it where it gets part shade during the day and keep the water up to it. Good draining soil.
15 Jan 18, kevin (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I planted my rhubarb crown in October and it has been doing really well till i hit it with some nitrosol now it has completely died did i do the wrong thing
17 Jan 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I would say you hit it with too much fertiliser especially Nitrogen. They recommend 40 ml to 10 L of water - I would think that is for well established plants - cut it back to 10 ml or 20 ml for small plants. If you start will good fertile soil to start with then you don't need to fertilise again until they are well established - if at all.
Showing 1 - 10 of 380 comments

In a pot it requires more care and attention. Good soil and a regular fertilizing to produce good stalks. I don't think it really matters if it is raised or not.

- Mike

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