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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

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
06 Jan 18, Shaybe (Australia - temperate climate)
I planted two rhubarb crowns in late winter 2017 and they are growing well. One plant has quite green stalks and the other is a lovely pinky red. Will the green one eventually go red?
09 Jan 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Maybe different varieties or one more mature than the other. Time will tell.
09 Jan 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You may have two different varieties or one is more mature than the other. Time will tell.
20 Dec 17, J. Bezuidenhout (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Where can I buy rhubarb plants in Johannesburg
26 Dec 17, Astrid (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
I saw some recently at Colourful Splendour Nursery in the Craighall Park area. It was the “Victoria” variety. Any Garden Shop should also be able to source for you - they get their stock from Doonholm nursery under the brand Healthy Living Herbs.
14 Dec 17, M Bray (Australia - temperate climate)
Could I plant rhubarb now & where can obtain estabilished crowns.
01 Jan 18, Tanya (Australia - temperate climate)
Any garden shops should have them, also supermarkets in their garden section sometimes have them. Or ebay sometimes have them. I brought good crowns from both ebay and from my local supermarket (look in the bulb area) only a month ago
15 Dec 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Bunnings at Maroochydore Qld had them last week when I was there - so phone your local Bunnings.
04 Dec 17, Manfred (Australia - temperate climate)
I have a rhubarb plant and the leaves are turning yellow and red, what is wrong here.
Showing 1 - 10 of 371 comments

Maybe pick some - say half. My mother grew it when I was young. Last year I picked asparagus for 6 weeks and I feel I could have picked it for 3 mths.

- Mike

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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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