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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

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

29 Aug 18, Judith Paul (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
When growing rhubarb in sub tropics should I provide some shade for the plant.
30 Aug 18, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Read the notes again - it is there,
28 Aug 18, Cherrie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I'm on the gold coast and I want to grow rhubarb in a big 65lt tub, is that tub too big? I'm not sure of the root ball size it will get to. Was thinking this size would prevent the pot from falling over as the plant got bigger? Thanks in advance for any replies xx
28 Aug 18, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It says spacing of 90cm between plants - so a pot 60-90cm across would be good.
27 Aug 18, Merri (USA - Zone 10a climate)
I am moving to St. Petersburg, FL next month. I will miss my rhubarb if I don't take some with me. Will it grow successfully in zone 10A?
18 Aug 18, Jane (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
A year!? Pick them in a year's time? I'll be starving...:(
06 Aug 18, David Newstead (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
What times of year is rhubarb picking session around Brisbane
18 Aug 18, Jane (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sorry, no idea. I'm from way down South originally and can't remember a time when we did not have rhubarb growing. I've planted a few rhubarb seeds and planted them out where I live in the sub-tropics and they are starting to spread their wings. I am hoping that although they have a long way to grow, they will end up on my table! Looks like it might be a while. Just keep your eye on any rhubarb you've planted, if you have. What I now get in shops is nothing like the rhubarb I grew up with. I am accustomed to lovely thick stalks, and the shop ones are quite skinny as if .. ? Well, I don't know, unless they are grown in shadehouses and can't reach for the sun, or other. No idea. Google around - harvesting and/or picking rhubarb (au) etc.
06 Aug 18, Mike L (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
When they have fully grown. Look at some photos (on the net) of rhubarb plants/stalks and judge from that.
26 Jul 18, Sue (Australia - temperate climate)
I have just bought some rhubarb crowns and was wondering which would be the best spot to plant them- 1. In my vegie plot which gets sun all year round? 2. In another bed which gets no sun in Winter and full sun in Summer? I am in Hobart. Many thanks, Sue
Showing 1 - 10 of 414 comments

How long can you cut Rhubarb in the Northern Nevada area? My brother in law says not to cut after August. Is that correct?

- Susan Lavenau

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