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
  • Rhubarb Plant

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

04 May 21, Jen (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
can you compost the toxic parts of the plant for use in other parts of garden?
06 May 21, Anonymous (Canada - zone 4a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
Probably ok to compost.
02 May 21, Trish I. (USA - Zone 7b climate)
We have very recently (April) moved some rhubarb plants that originated from my FIL's family homestead many years ago, from Denver CO to SC. I desperately want to keep these alive, mostly for my husband. Any advice? Our ground is hard as a rock in most spots and has a lot of clay, so figured I need to keep them in pots. How big of a pot do I need, should I be sure to put them on the side of the house where there's mostly only morning sun, in order to continue the "family line", should I try and gather seeds from the plant for the following year? Thanks!
06 May 21, Laura Ellington (USA - Zone 8a climate)
you really are better off putting them in a raised garden bed with mixed clean top soil, lots of compost, peat moss, blood meal, and a slow release fertilizer. Rhubarb get very large and can live for many years and their root systems can get quite large, keeping them in pots will restrict their growth and you will have to water more often and continually use fertilizer more often then them being in the ground.
04 May 21, Anonymous (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I suggest you read some articles about growing them. The bigger the pot the better 18-24
23 Apr 21, glenn (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Please note the question was about QLD, not USA..(Sept is spring here) I'm going to give it a go about now 'ish' and hope it enjoys winter in Hervey Bay.
04 Apr 21, Ulla (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
What's eating big holes into my rhubarb leaves, and can I safely use insecticides and still eat the stalks? Ulla
06 Apr 21, (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Look for some grubs or caterpillars and research some sprays on the internet. Read the label of the insecticide. Pick the caterpillars off and kill them.
13 Mar 21, Aaron Burnside (New Zealand - temperate climate)
We live in Christchurch. When is the best time of the year to split a rhubarb plant so I can give some to a friend
15 Mar 21, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Read the notes here, it tells you.
Showing 1 - 10 of 530 comments

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