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 5°C and 20°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 90 cm 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

18 Jan 22, Washingtonian in Texas (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I am from East Washington but moved to Texas. Rhubarb is one of my favorite things and when I was growing up in my Washington hometown, my grandma had a huge, really old rhubarb plant that had been producing stalks since before I was born. And I would just pull a stalk out of the ground, wash off with her hose, and snack on whenever I felt like it. Well, I married a military man, and he got stationed in San Antonio and then he got offered a civilian job here, so we are now here to stay. I would really like to grow rhubarb in my garden, especially because I can't even find it here in the store (and the only two times I have found it fresh in the store, the cashiers didn't even know what it was. I kid you not. That's how rare rhubarb is here, so uncommon that the locals don't even know what it looks like as a fresh vegetable). Anyway, does anyone know how I might grow rhubarb here in my new climate? I really miss it. Thanks!
19 Jan 22, Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
It's probably too hot and dry in Texas to grow rhubarb in a garden bed. If you have a pot that you can move into shade, you might be lucky.
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.
18 May 21, LORI (USA - Zone 9a climate)
Can I grow rhubarb in zone 9A?
16 Sep 21, John Mitchell (USA - Zone 10a climate)
No it will not I have tried a couple times. Its to hot in the summer sorry.
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.
12 Jan 22, Liz O'Sullivan (USA - Zone 6b climate)
I just ordered rhubarb crowns and plan on planting in a raised bed. My concern is that the roots will be harmed in my 6b zone winter given they are in a raised bed. What do you recommend?
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
Showing 1 - 10 of 26 comments

We're taking a break and there will be delays processing comments over the holiday season. Happy Christmas and Happy New Year!

I am on the east coast neR Jacksonville zone 9a and have tried numerous times to grow Rhubarb. Summers here are just to brutal (hot and humid) for it to grow. I would love for someone to say it is not so and to share how they successfully grow it here

- Petra

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