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
  • 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

10 Sep 21, Helen (USA - Zone 10a climate)
Does rhubarb have to be out of sun lite? Can it grow here in San Diego?
14 Sep 21, (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Most plants need lots of sunlight. Check what Climate Zone San Diego is in the climate zone section here and look it up if you can grow it.
06 Aug 21, Iain Robertson (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Where in Western Cape can we buy Rhubarb, plants to grow?
07 Sep 21, (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Try seed selling companies on the net.
17 Jul 21, David L. (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I live in Howick KZN. I grow rhubarb in deep pots on the north side of our house (probably too hot) in a compost/soil mix regularly watered. Our area has heavy clay about 200mm below the surface, hence the reason for the pots. Our rhubarb grows many thin stalks (5/8mm dia.) quite slowly and many die before getting above 5mm dia.. The picked stalks are tasty if one has sufficient of them. The plants are about three years old and grown from a split off from a crown. Does rhubarb favour any particular soil PH? More or less water? Any particular soil mix? Require any special feeding? What is ideal soil depth? Your guidance would be appreciated. Thank you.
21 Jul 21, (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Try building your garden bed higher or use something to break up the clay - like gypsum or dolomite (I think). ph 5.5 - 6.5. Good soil depth of 12
26 Jun 21, Wendy McGregor (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi there. I am making a new rhubarb garden against my west fence so it will be shaded in the hot summer afternoons. When autumn and winter comes around however this area will mostly be in the shade. Is this ok. Thank you
29 Jun 21, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
NO plants need sunlight and most need plenty of it. If grown in shade they will be thin and weak. In the heat keep the water up to them. Read up about growing them - google.
22 Jun 21, Wendy (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
I would like to purchase rhubarb plants to grow. Not seeds as they take too long. Can you let me know where I can get them from? Thank you
22 Jun 21, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Any good plant shop should be able to supply rhubarb roots/plants
Showing 1 - 10 of 545 comments

Most plants need lots of sunlight. Check what Climate Zone San Diego is in the climate zone section here and look it up if you can grow it.

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