Rhubarb

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Botanical name: Rheum rhabarbarum

Plant type: Fruit

Sun exposure: Full Sun

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable, though it is generally used as a fruit in desserts and jams. You only eat the stalks, which have a rich tart flavor. The leaves of this plant are poisonous, so be sure that they are not ingested. Rhubarb is easy to grow, but needs cool weather to thrive.

Planting

  • Before planting, eliminate all perennial weeds.
  • Choose a site that is well-drained, fertile, and preferably in full sunlight. It does best where the average temperature falls below 40ºF in the winter and below 75ºF in the summer.
  • Plant rhubarb roots (not seeds) in early spring well before the first light frost so that root development may take place.
  • Dig large bushel basket-size holes. Space rhubarb plants about 4 feet apart and plant the roots 1 to 2 inches below the surface of the soil.
  • Be sure to mix compost, rotted manure, or anything high in organic matter in the soil. Rhubarb plants are heavy feeders and need this organic matter. Don't add a chemical fertilizer when planting rhubarb or during the first year of growth. Direct contact with nitrates can kill your rhubarb plants.

Care

  • Mulch generously with a heavy layer of straw and cow manure to provide nutrients for the plant, retain moisture, and discourage weeds.
  • Water your plant well. It needs sufficient moisture during the summer.
  • Remove seed stalks as soon as they appear.
  • After the first spring, apply a light sprinkling of a high-nitrogen fertilizer (25-3-3 or 10-6-4) when the ground is thawing or has just thawed, so that the fertilizer will go into the ground and not harm the roots.
  • Insects and diseases won't bother rhubarb plants as long as you keep the plants weed-free.
  • Dig and split rhubarb roots every 3 to 4 years. Divide when plants are dormant in early spring (or fall).

Pests

  • Crown rot

Harvest/Storage

  • Do not harvest any stalks during the first growing season so that your plants can become established.
  • Harvest the stalks when they are 12 to 18 inches long. Usually after 3 years, the harvest period runs 8 to 10 weeks long. If the stalks become thin, stop harvesting; this means the plant's food reserves are low.
  • Grab the base of the stalk and pull it away from the plant with a gentle twist. If this doesn't work, you can cut the stalk at the base. Be sure the discard of the leaves!
  • Always leave at least 2 stalks per plant to ensure continued production. You may have a bountiful harvest for up to 20 years without having to replace your rhubarb plants.
  • After harvest time, the stems may die back. Just remove all plant debris. Once your ground freezes, it's best to cover rhubarb with 2 to 4 inches of mulch, preferably well-rotted compost; by adding nitrogen to the soil, you're preparing the rhubarb plants for a good spring season.

Recommended Varieties

  • Red rhubarb varieties, which are more tender. Some include 'Valentine', 'Crimson Cherry', and 'Canada Red'.

Recipes

Wit & Wisdom

Rhubarb has many other uses, from medicinal to cosmetic. See how to naturally lightening your hair with rhubarb

Comments

I have some planted and it

By Sylvia Conner on April 17

I have some planted and it looked really good then a big cold spell came and turned it black. My question is will it still come back or is it gone for this year.

Hi Sylvia, Cut off and

By Almanac Staff on April 18

Hi Sylvia,
Cut off and compost the stalks that were damaged by frost. There is still time for new stalks to develop.

I am confused. I started a

By Beth Peterson on April 3

I am confused. I started a rhubarb crown in a pot last fall as we're changing to raised beds this year. I have stalks, about 12 so far. Now my questions...
What do I do with the stalks? (1) Leave them on (1st year growth - I know we don't harvest for eating),(2) cut them off now, (3) cut them off later...
Should I wait do this (cut or leave on) until after I transplant them to their new in-ground home? Thanks!

I've recently planted some

By Plantlover69 on April 7

I've recently planted some rhubarb seeds in my personal green house(it is about 1000 square feet) Unfortunately it is extremely hot in my green house due to the drought so I was wondering if you had any tips on watering patterns, pesticides, miracle grow, etc! Does anyone have good mulches for the rhubarb? I am located at the base of yosemite so my soil should have some exquisite nitrogen content. Any further comments and concerns brought to my attention would be greatly appreciated. Happy Planting!

Leave the stalks on the

By Almanac Staff on April 4

Leave the stalks on the plant. Food from the leaves is needed to nourish the roots for next year's growth. In the fall, after your first frost, remove the stalks and put them in your compost pile.

I live outside Tucson

By Penny Potts

I live outside Tucson Arizona, In my ignorance, I planted 3 roots, from
Walmart, last spring in a large pot. This is the warmest winter I can remember and I have a pot full of rhubarb, sending up large seed stalks, that I intend to remove today. My plants were beautiful last summer although we had >>100 days above 90 degrees. Is this a fluke? What's the deal? Beginners luck?
I'm thinking I'll dig them up and freeze the roots this fall. If you have any advise or suggestions I would appreciate any and all...Penny Potts Tucson Arizona.

Hi Penny, See the advice we

By Almanac Staff

Hi Penny,
See the advice we gave to a gardener in Texas below.
The roots you bought last spring were dormant roots and did well during the year. But you probably will not have great rhubarb this year. Remove the seed stalks now and leave the rhubarb in the pots until you are ready to put the roots in the refrigerator.

I live in Fort Worth Texas

By Debi Meier

I live in Fort Worth Texas and was thinking of planting rhubarb in large pots that I could bring into the barn in the heat of the day. Or would it be better to use shade cloth during the summer months?
Debi, Fort Worth Tx

Perennial rhubarb is tricky

By Almanac Staff

Perennial rhubarb is tricky to grow in the south. It doesn't like temps. over 90 degrees and it needs a chilling dormant period to recharge. In Texas you can try to grow rhubarb as an annual from seed. Plant the seeds in pots indoors in August and transplant the seedling outdoors when the weather cools in late Sept. early Oct. Let the plants grow during the winter months (they do need protection from frosty nights) and then start harvesting in March until the weather gets too warm.
You can order dormant roots and plant them as soon as possible but it will be hard to keep them going when the weather turns warm. In the fall you need to dig up the roots and put them in your refrigerator for a couple of months before planting them again in late winter.

I started my rhubarb from

By butterfliesdawn60km

I started my rhubarb from seeds. Will they grow normally? How long will it be before I can harvest? Any special care that I might need to give them. They are kind of small still. Any help or information will be appreciated.

We're not clear where you

By Almanac Staff

We're not clear where you live, but early spring is the best time to plant rhubarb in most of North America, not prior to winter.

Hello; What should I do? I

By Greg A.

Hello; What should I do? I planted some roots a friend gave me last October (2012) and I let them grow. Got big leaves and medium stalks. should I pick them and discard and add some cow manure for the winter? And hope for better next spring? I have 6 plants.How to I care for them this year for a usable crop in the spring of 2014? Thank you. Greg A.

On the British Isle - they

By Uncle Raymond

On the British Isle - they use rhubarb pots that are about 24 inches high and 16 inches across - with a lid on them when the first leaves appear in the spring they cover the crown with said pot - then remove a lid for the them to climb too - I cannot find these pots here in Canada so I will be making a thick paper mache in the winter and then covering a crown come May to see what happens - the lid can be put back on top after reaching in for a firm stalk or two - I saw a video where the leaf was small but the stalk was red and very long

A fiend I know puts clean fire wood ash over his crowns in Nov to give them nutrients in the spring

Most experts advise that you

By Almanac Staff

Most experts advise that you do not harvest rhubarb during the first 2 years after planting. Do not remove more than 2⁄3 of the fully developed stalks from any plant at any one time. Every year after the leaves have died down, spread a thick layer of compost or other well-rotted organic material around the plant, but not touching the plant. In early spring, sprinkle a handful of general fertilizer around each plant.

Planted new roots this spring

By D. Dean Anderson

Planted new roots this spring (2013). Nice growth and sturdy stems(petioles). After frost when stems and leaves have died, in each of the first two years, do I leave them to decompose and provide nutrients or do I remove them and place composted manure as you should do following the first two years of a new planting?

We planted our rhubarb in

By Barb Gural

We planted our rhubarb in 1973 in tough manitoba soil. It has been producing ever since, even surviving -30 to -40 in the winter! I think it thrives on neglect.

Hi. I cannot find a clear

By Ted G

Hi.
I cannot find a clear answer anywhere. I have 3 large plants that produced big,tasty stalks this year.
Here is my question. What EXACTLY do I do to prepare it for winter (I am in Canada).
Do I twist off ALL the dead stocks, or leave the ones, I haven't harvested? How many do I leave?
It's amazing, but I have searched the whole youtube world, and google, and found great sites like this, but no-one mentions what exactly to do for winter.
Thanks!

Hi, I live in northern BC.

By applemum

Hi, I live in northern BC. I have grown rhubarb for many years.
Seriously I do nothing to prepare it for winter. I do not cut off leaves, stems or mulch. No one I know does anything for rhubarb, it likes lots of water but will manage however it is treated.
I have heard of old gardens being plowed,literally and all that happens to the rhubarb is it gets divided and pops up all over the place!
Rhubarb is about as tough a plant as you can find. Enjoy!

I live in northern Utah. I

By B Schwarzenbach

I live in northern Utah. I cover my pants with about 1 foot of rich compost in October and water it well once. That's all. Then the next Spring I gently remove what's left
when I see about 3 or 4 new leaves popping thru in early May. It's worked for me for 10 years!

So you will leave all

By Ted G

So you will leave all un-harvested stems on the plant?

Just before your fist killing

By Cindy Henry

Just before your fist killing frost, you can harvest all of the remaining stalks. That's because the leaves won't be doing any more photosynthsis after they are dead, so you might as well eat them.

We recommend that you remove

By Almanac Staff

We recommend that you remove all plant debris in the fall. Then cover the rhubarb with 2 to 4 inches of mulch, preferably well-rotted compost.

Remove all plant debris? Can

By Ted G

Remove all plant debris? Can you be more clear? Do I pull all the stems? or leave them to die.

By debris, we mean that you

By Almanac Staff

By debris, we mean that you should cut away and clear out any dead plant parts. After your first hard frost, collect the last few stalks and discard (in the compost pile if you have one). When you spread your compost (or leaves or hay) to protect the roots, don't cover the crowns to avoid rotting. 

Thank you. I am new , and

By Ted G

Thank you. I am new , and wasn't sure what you meant. I will wait until the stems are dead, and remove them and throw them in my compost. It will then just be the roots, and crown.
Thanks again.

Can I grow rhubarb in so cal

By suzanne kidd

Can I grow rhubarb in so cal near the beach? I cant even find it in the stores here

See answer below on growing

By Almanac Staff

See answer below on growing rhubarb in southern California. The short answer is: you can try growing as an annual but it will not grow as a perennial (coming back year after year). You need to order seeds online. Rhubarb does not grow in sandy soil--quite the opposite. This plant prefers fertile soil high in organic matter with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. In the fall, cover with thick layers of composted manure.

SoCal generally around 60-70

By Launa Vatnsdal

SoCal generally around 60-70 degrees in the winter months. Can I grow rhubarb here? We have sun almost year around. Cannot find it anywhere!!

Rhubarb is a perennial plant

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb is a perennial plant that usually grows in northern climates because it needs to go dormant at temperatures below 40 degrees F. It usually emerges in spring temperatures that average 75 degrees during the day and 50 to 55 degrees at night. However, folks in more southern climates CAN grow rhubarb as an annual. You need to order seeds online. Here's more about rhubarb production in California: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8020.pdf

I live in Minnesota. It's

By Lizziegardner

I live in Minnesota. It's August 26th and I just harvested more rhubarb.--Is it still safe to eat rhubarb? I've heard many different opinions.

Its Sept 6 and I am still

By applemum

Its Sept 6 and I am still eating rhubarb.

Sure, it's safe to eat. It

By Almanac Staff

Sure, it's safe to eat. It may taste a bit woody this late in the season, but we've never heard of safety issues. We assume you are eating the stalk!

In the late summer what do I

By LizHeistand

In the late summer what do I do with the rhubarb? Do I cut it back? We live in sw Pa.

Sometimes you can harvest

By Almanac Staff

Sometimes you can harvest rhubarb well into the summer. Once the stalks start getting thin and short, stop. You can remove the leafy portions and just leave any remaining colored stalks. The stems should die back. Remove any plant debris and mulch after the ground freezes.

Do deer like rhubarb? I was

By Helen Gage

Do deer like rhubarb? I was considering planting near a brook where the deer often go.

No, deer do not like rhubarb

By Almanac Staff

No, deer do not like rhubarb and tend to leave it alone. (We editors, on the other hand LOVE rhubarb, but don't worry about us. :-)

I read that I'm supposed to

By Israel Dehnert

I read that I'm supposed to wait to harvest the rhubarb until the 2nd season, is that for after I split and transplant them too? So every 3 or 4 years do I have to split and then wait a season to harvest? Thank you for all the wonderful tips and help!
Also, what do I do with them during winter (I'm in Washington State). Do I need to cover them or anything?
Thanks

After dividing, it's best to

By Almanac Staff

After dividing, it's best to wait a season before harvesting. However, if your transplants look healthy and vigorous, you can harvest very lightly the first year, but stop after early July, so that the plant can establish itself.
 
As to winter care, after a hard frost, you can cover the plant with a thick layer (about 8 to 12 inches) of straw; however, some gardeners prefer not to do this, as it might promote crown rot. In fall, you can also add composted manure in a circle around the roots (but do not add fertilizer the first year after planting).
 
For best advice for your area, you might contact your county's Cooperative Extension.
http://ext.wsu.edu/
 
In case it helps, here is information on rhubarb growing by your state's Cooperative Extension:
http://county.wsu.edu/spokane/gardening/general/Documents/CoPubs/C119%20Rhubarb%2005.pdf

A friend gave me some cut

By Margaret Ottesen

A friend gave me some cut Rhubarb this week (August) Will it make a good pie or is it too tough this time of year?

Rhubarb's a spring edible but

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb's a spring edible but it can last through the summer in some regions; sometimes the taste gets a bit wood. The only way to find out is to cook it!

This is first year of my

By todd rumsey

This is first year of my plants. Growing beautifully . I know we should not harvest stalks per advice .But some are large.. Should I be cutting off these first year stalks or just let them go

Our friends at the Purdue

By Almanac Staff

Our friends at the Purdue Indiana cooperative extension have this to say: "To allow the plants to become established, it's best to wait until the second or third year to harvest from a new planting. However, many gardeners find it irresistible to harvest the first year, and a healthy plant should be able to tolerate a light harvest." Go ahead!

My plant is in its second

By Caellis

My plant is in its second year but my stalks are thin and round in shape instead of flat on one side. It produces lots of stalks with flowers which i have been taking off . Should i continue and how do i make the stalks heartier?

Add aged manure and a

By Almanac Staff

Add aged manure and a high-nitrogen fertilizer around the plant. It takes a few years for the stalks to get big.

I've had rhubarb for years

By Mary N

I've had rhubarb for years and I need to pull them up now and divide them. But my stalks in June/July get small spots/lesions on them and are bumpy. Can you tell me what causes this?

I live in Montana and my

By Sherrry

I live in Montana and my plant is at least 5 years old.
It has red spots and a lot of dead leaves this year.
Des it have a diease? What should I do?

I am wondering if wood ashes

By Myrna S

I am wondering if wood ashes are good to add to the soil for growing rhubarb.

Yes, wood ashes are good for

By Almanac Staff

Yes, wood ashes are good for rhubarb. The soil tends to get too acid from the old rhubarb leaves and wood ashes or lime will make the soil sweeter.

I planted a new rhubarb plant

By Farmer Eileen

I planted a new rhubarb plant three months ago according to the directions. I saw some small green leaves come up shortly after, and now they are gone and there is nothing above the ground. Is it dead? should I dig it up and look at it? If so, what would I look for? Thank you.

Hi Eileen, A common reason

By Almanac Staff

Hi Eileen,
A common reason why rhubarb doesn't grow is because it was planted in the shade and isn't getting enough midday sun.
Also, rhubarb needs cool temperatures to start growing. To even get bud break and growth, temperatures need to be below 40 °F / 5 °C. In summer heat, the plant will grow dormant. As fall approaches and temperatures decline, foliage growth resumes. See what happens in the fall? If nothing happens, you may need to start over in the spring.

I out my roots in the

By al burt

I out my roots in the vegetable draw for a week then planted them they came up in a week.

My rhubarb plants generate

By Mike Trimpi

My rhubarb plants generate lots of seeds. I'm told all rhubarb seeds are sterile. Why is this?

Some hybrid seeds are

By Almanac Staff

Some hybrid seeds are sterile. You don't want to save hybrid seeds as the seed is not true to the parent. Otherwise, you can save seeds from rhubarb though many gardeners find that seeded plants are often of inferior quality. Seeded rhubarb is treated like an annual crop; plants that are allowed to go into their second year tend to bolt to seed stalks quickly. We do not plant seeds; we plant a few roots (or crowns) and treat it as a perennial; every spring, the glorious rhubarb comes back!

How do you know when to

By Doug /Ohio

How do you know when to harvest? some of the stalks are partially red and green and others mostly red, some are green.

Good question. Different

By Almanac Staff

Good question. Different varieties vary in color from green to red so color isn't always an indicator. The stalks are most flavorful when fairly young, so harvest them as soon as they have reached their full length and soon after the leaf expands. Depending on the variety, they may be only 12 inches long, or as long as two feet.

I live in New Mexico, in the

By Suzanne Marshall

I live in New Mexico, in the mountains. I have three huge, healthy looking rhubarb plants. The problem is the stalks are green, not red. Is this a problem? Are they lacking nutrients? Are the stalks edible?

There are red and green

By Almanac Staff

There are red and green varieties of rhubarb. Green varieties are often much more productive and taste as sweet as red varieties.

I got a plant from a friends

By Danzclan

I got a plant from a friends G-Mother's garden and planted two years ago I'm in N MN. Our season this year is late because of weather. It doesn't get direct sun light only in the PM. Can I harvest some this year? It's only a small batch and will it branch out? It's my 1st time with rhubarb but I love it and want more

You can harvest lightly. If

By Almanac Staff

You can harvest lightly. If the plant looks healthy it will come back bigger and stronger each year.

I just bought a house which

By MrsJernigan

I just bought a house which has two big plants growing in the back yard. It looks like the pics I've seen but I have never seen one in real life. How do I know if it's really a rhubarb plant?

Clip a leaf and stalk from

By Ramunds

Clip a leaf and stalk from the plant and take it to your local University Extension office where they can either identify it or send it to the U for identification. Works for pests also. If you aren't near a local Extension office, try a garden store with knowledgeable customer service or call your Chamber of Commerce to see if there is a local garden club chapter with members who are usually more than willing to help. Good Luck.

I live in the Northwest it

By rhubarblady

I live in the Northwest it gets hot here in the summer time. For the last 2 years my rhubarb gets stringy when I cook it for sauce. It is like eating a fish bone. So after I cook the rhubarb I make sure all of the hard strings are out of my sauce. What can I do to prevent this? I have 3 large plants.

I live in San Antonio and my

By John Boubel

I live in San Antonio and my wife want to grow this Rhurbarb which I love. We are in hot weather in San Antonio. Any suggestions as to how we can successfully grow this amazing plant?

In warm climates, rhubarb

By Almanac Staff

In warm climates, rhubarb must be grown as an annual crop, planted fresh each year. In mid-August plant seeds of rhubarb indoors. ‘Victoria’ is a good variety to try from seed. At about eight weeks transplant outdoors and harvest stalks from December to May. Good luck!

The leaves of my rhubarb

By sandy huft

The leaves of my rhubarb plant have red spots on them. The leaves eventually rip and fall of the stalk. How can I get rid of the red spots? Also, there is a huge bulb with seeds in it on the top of my rhubarb plant. Is that normal?

It is normal. The plant is

By Karen Stanley

It is normal. The plant is bolting or flowering. Break off those stems (they are hollow). It won't hurt the plant.

A friend gave me a stock of

By sandy huft

A friend gave me a stock of rhubarb from his huge, healthy looking rhubarb plant. In my garden the leaves of the plant took on red spots which made it look like the rhubarb has the measles. Eventually the leaves ripped apart. None the less, I cut the stocks, cooked them and we ate them. We're still alive but I don't like the looks of the plant itself. Again this spring my rhubarb plant is growing well but with red spots on the leaves and a bulb full of seeds at the top of the plant. Can you tell me what those spots are and how to get rid of them. Also, what about the fancy bulb with seeds on the top of my rhubarb plant? Is is a normal part of the plant? I don't recollect seeing one on any rhubarb plants.

I live in St. George, Utah &

By Lore Stanik

I live in St. George, Utah & planted rhubarb roots last fall.
It is high desert & temperatures get over 100 F. Does anyone know if I put shade netting over the plants, that it would help the plants.

Rhubarb needs shade and lots

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb needs shade and lots of water in hot weather. Shade cloth or netting will be beneficial.

I planted a canadian red

By Patsy Schopp

I planted a canadian red rhubarb plant last year. we have a heavy clay soil. I noticed that the leaves are turning red. Is it too much water or bad soil.

I live in Manitoba and have

By Sonia

I live in Manitoba and have had a couple of Rhubarb plants at the end of my garden for year. In the last couple of years their are dry patches on the stalks almost from when they first come up in the spring until the end of their season. What do I need to do to prevent this?

loved all the info I found

By Crystael

loved all the info I found here. I inherited 3 bushes of rhubarb when we bought our house in Mich. Hopefully me transplanting and spreading them this fall wont hurt them :(

My grandmother divided her

By Karen Stanley

My grandmother divided her plants whenever family or friends asked and she had a wonderful rhubarb patch. I have done the same thing and they don't seem to suffer.

Harvested Rhubarb by Cutting

By Anonymous

My son tried to harvest my rhubarb by cutting all of the stalks at the base with a knife. Will it survive?

Your rhubarb will survive.

By Almanac Staff

Your rhubarb will survive. You may not get any more stalks this year but next year should be fine.

Yellow leaves

By Anonymous

I just moved into a house in Iowa that has six rhubarb plants in the back yard. They are in partial shade in the afternoon. Almost all of the plants have yellow leaves. It hasn't rained in several days and I have not watered them at all. (I just discovered they were there this week.) Are the yellow leaves from being dry or do I need to fertilize them? They have been totally neglected for at least two years.

Gently dig in compost around

By Almanac Staff

Gently dig in compost around the plants and water well. If the plants look crowded divide them in late fall or early spring.

growing rhubarb in Italy

By Anonymous

I dug out the hard stock that had started to come up on my rhubarb plants (I presume that was the seed stock) and now I have about a dozen tiny thin stalks coming up instead of the usual thick stalks. It kind of looks like it has reverted to first year growth. Any suggestions about what I should do? I presume it would be best to not pick all these small stalks but I hate the thought of not having the rhubarb!!

I have six hearty plants

By Flavor of Italy

I have six hearty plants ready to plant. I live in Rome, Italy where summers are very hot. Should I plant them in shade under an oak tree?

Transplanting . Rhubarb

By Anonymous

When is the best time to transport Rhubarb from one place to another . Bloomville NY.

The best time to dig up and

By Almanac Staff

The best time to dig up and transplant rhubarb is in the early spring, just before new growth starts. Some gardeners prefer the autumn because the plants are dormant.

Rhubarb

By Anonymous

I have rhubarb plants in a sunny place but the space is 2 feet wide with the driveway on one side and the neighbors yard on the other. The neighbor has a lawn service spray the yard. Is this harmfull for us to eat the rhubarb with the chemicals so close to the plants?

storage-short term and freezing

By Anonymous

I can't find a site telling how to freeze rhubarb.

Freezing Rhubarb by Pearl Cooley Brandon, VT

By Anonymous

Freezing Rhubarb is very easy. Bring it in and rinse it under cold water. Never let your rhubarb set in water. Pat dry and cut rhubarb into 1 inch chunks. I put mine into a quart size freezer bag which is 3 cups and freeze. I never add sugar or anything.Date bags before freezing but it last a long time in the freezer. ENJOY!!!

no flavor

By Anonymous

made a pie with 5 1/2 cups of rhubarb and 1/2 cup of sugar. Very bland.. I like it tartttt. I live in New Mexico. This is the second batch of roots I tried with same flavor.

3 suggestions: 1) add a bit

By Kara Schreiber

3 suggestions: 1) add a bit of lemon juice concentrate 2) Plant a variety of rhubarb that's a more tart and bake pies with half of each. 3) Strawberries are my favorite, but to make more tart, add kiwi instead.

Add strawberries one cup

By richard h. green

Add strawberries one cup strawberries 3 cups rubbarb. 1.5 cups sugar

Giant green stalks

By Anonymous

Second year in after planting. This year I have giant green stalks with what look like big bolbous seed pods. Shoul I remove these?

The seed stalk and flowers

By Almanac Staff

The seed stalk and flowers should be cut out as soon as they start forming. They will take energy from the plant and you will get less rhubarb to harvest.

rhubarb

By Anonymous

I have been wanting to grow my own for years, but can't seem to find anyone in the area who is thinning out their rhubarb plants. Laurie/Davenport,IA

rhubarb

By Anonymous

Laurie, just buy some rhubarb starts. You can find them at any garden center and they are not expensive.

Rhubarb

By Anonymous

I have a few plants and I would like to move on to a better location. It is the beginning of May in Michigan. Can I do this transplanting now?

Early spring before the

By Almanac Staff

Early spring before the stalks start growing is best for transplanting. Fall, after the stalks start yellowing, is also a good time to transplant.

hard stock

By Anonymous

My rhubarb has come up for the 7th year in pots on my balcony in Italy!! I am thrilled to have it in this hot climate (and I grew it from seeds!) but this year, one plant has a hard thick stock coming up. What should I do? I know I can't eat that but what about the shoots coming out of it and how do I eliminate the hard stock for next year?

Rhubarb in Italy

By Anonymous

Where are you located? I'm in Rome and desperate to find some rhubarb plants but have had no luck.

rhubarb in Italy

By Anonymous

Hi There! I'm in Bergamo which is near Milano. I found seeds in a store (VERY unusual) and started several plants from them. Last week I went into a Consorzio Agricola and found a small new plant and bought that too. If you find any, be sure to keep it well shaded and well watered all summer. It's really a bit too hot in Italy!
Good luck!

how many crowns to plant?

By Anonymous

We are a family of 8- I would like to make pies, jelly and have some for summer snacking. How many crowns do you recommend I plant> Thank you!

amount to plant

By Almanac Staff

A general rule is to plant 3 to 6 plants for a family of four. (Some families would do OK with even less, depending on how often they harvest.) So, double that to 6 to 12 plants, and you should be all set.

rhubarb did not come up

By Anonymous

I planted rhubarb roots bought at a store in late spring of last year. It never came up. I watered it every couple of days if it didn't rain. I had dug holes and added compost to the hole before planting. What did I do wrong?

PLANT ROOT IN THE GROUND NOT

By Anonymous

PLANT ROOT IN THE GROUND NOT DEEPER THEN 2 INCHES

rhubarb failed

By Almanac Staff

You know that rhubarb needs a winter chill (below 40°F), right? And a moderate summer (75°F-ish, on average). You do not indicate where you are from.
One of our editors did the same thing and had the same outcome. Twice. (Not very encouraging, huh?) Actually the third time was the charm.
In early spring, she dug a much larger hole (a square yard of space, not merely pot-size, 10 inches down), thus amending the soil (with compost, aged manure, and 5-10-10 fertilizer) in a much larger area. She put the hole in a sunny spot, for full-day exposure. And she made sure that the crowns were near the surface--no more than an inch or so under soil. And she watered to keep it moist, but not soggy.
It seemed to work. The pie was delicious!
We hope this helps— best wishes.

California Girl

By Anonymous

I live inland from Laguna Beach, California. I grew rhubarb very successfully for two years. I had two plants that were in a vegetable garden and planted in the shade of a crepe myrtle tree. Our soil is full of clay. The two plants were Victoria. I did everything wrong. I picked as much as I could the first year and made 4 pies and 4 batches of preserves. I fertilized them with Miracle Grow. The second year I made 7 pies and 4 more batches of preserves. Would have made more but we went out of town in the middle of June for a summer long RV trip. Unfortunately it was SOOO very HOT in Southern California last year that the two plants dried up. They were on a drip watering system but that didn't work when the weather was over 100 for a week at a time. The first of January I tried finding bareroot rhubarb in the nurseries. I found one Canadian Red in a nursery and 2 Victorias at Lowes. Would have loved one more plant but couldn't find one. I am anxious to see what happens this year. Will still pick this year and fertilize because it worked for me.

I live in the mountains above

By Rom

I live in the mountains above Santa Barbara it also gets very hot through the summer. Last year I bought a six pack of rhubarb at Green Thumb nursery in Ventura. I planted them in a raised bed fairly close together.
Five of them grew just like you'd expect, the sixth one just exploded, and we had a hard time keeping up with the amount of rhubarb it produced. Without any exaggeration we got at least ten pies off of the one plant. We never harvested any useable stalks off of the other five, Then, I suppose it was as the weather turned hot all we got were thin stalks and short stalks. The heavy producing one also went to seed. I have just transplanted them and gave them a little more room.
You can find it for sale at Whole Foods in season, and also at some Farmer's Markets.

rhubarb

By Anonymous

what is the kind of rhubarb can i grow in georgia? i am original from wyoming and we used to be able to grow some there, my grandmother made the best rhubarb pies out of and man for the last few years i been wanting to make me a pie or two but they do not sell rhubarb in the stores here. is there a kind of rhubarb i can raise and plant so i can grow my own? if so were would i get them so i can plant next year or start in the greenhouse during winter spring months

I am also from Georgia, and

By MaggieMarie

I am also from Georgia, and while I never grew Rhubarb there, my mother-in-law successfully grew it. You will not have much success if you are South of Atlanta, as it get much too hot and dry during the summer months. She grew hers on the North and East side of the house. It will get plenty of sun, but not the hottest sun from the afternoon. The north side because it will get enough cold in the winter to cause the dormancy. Good Luck.

Rhubarb in Georgia

By Anonymous

Don't buy seeds unless you are planting a HUGE garden. If you just want a few plants then buy bareroots from Burpee if you can't get them in your local nursery. Maybe your local nursery will order them for you and they mights cost less. Good luck. California Girl

The summer heat in the south

By Almanac Staff

The summer heat in the south and lack of cold during winter play a part in rhubarb's scarcity in your area. It can be grown, but you have to prepare. Buy seeds now to start indoors(check www.burpee.com) and plant outside in the spring as soon as soil can be worked. Use lots of compost where you plant your rhubarb. Plant in partial shade, opposed to the usual instructions of planting in full sun. Georgia gardeners also report having more luck with rhubarb when planted on the eastern side of their home or garage.
Good luck!

Rhubarb

By Anonymous

do deer and other animals like to eat the plants

Rhubarb leaves are toxic so

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb leaves are toxic so deer and other animals tend to stay away from them, especially given other choices.

growing Rhubarb in Cental FL

By Anonymous

I purchased plants at a Feed store and was told the plants do well FL. I don't kow the varity. The plants have long stalks and are vine like. I haven't found any pctures that will help me identify the varity? Can anyone help?

Rhubarb isn't well adapted

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb isn't well adapted for Florida climates though I've heard there is one variety that manages. See this link from your Florida cooperative extension service: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mv124
Perhaps you could go back to your Feed store and ask the variety; then call your cooperative extension to get more local information (and Google the variety!).

rhubarb

By Anonymous

Here it is last of Aug and my rhubarb,which is on the west side of my hose is beautiful.I think it most be cause it does not get direct sun. It really only gets direct sun in the afternoon.

rhubarb

By Anonymous

My rhubarb plants are still growing like crazy and this is August! Can i still harvest and eat this late in the season?
Jeanne, Auburn, IN.

If your rhubarb is still

By Almanac Staff

If your rhubarb is still putting out new growth and not dried out, then you can still harvest it! Sometimes cooler nights in late summer can bring on growth. Once it starts to lay down and it doesn't look so great, it's done. Usually it's done in September.

rhubarb with green stalks

By Anonymous

some of my rhubard stalks ar green, but most are red. Are the green any good?

The color of rhubarb stalks

By Almanac Staff

The color of rhubarb stalks can vary, based on the cultivar. For example, Victoria and Linneaus cultivars have green stalks that blush a little red near the base. More recent cultivars, such as Ruby, Valentine and Canada Red, have solid red stalks.

rhubarb leaves

By Farmerboy

I was admiring my garden and noticed that one of my rhubarb leaves was almost completly gone from the inside out. Is this crown rot? And when i harvest my rhubarb will it grow back?

Rhubarb

By Almanac Staff

It's hard to say what is plaguing your rhubarb. If it is crown rot, it will be affecting the area where the stems and roots meet, not the leaves.

However, there are particular diseases that affect the leaves on rhubarb . These diseases often create a shot-hole appearance and can be taken care of with good sanitation. Remove all of the flower debris after the first frost. Also, be sure to heavily fertilize at the start of harvest time next year.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

harvesting after seeds form

By Anonymous

How long can you harvest the rhubarb, can you harvest and eat after it goes to seed (I did not cut my seed tops off)?

Rhubarb

By Almanac Staff

The best time to harvest rhubarb is mid-June. You'll want to cut the tops off after they begin to flower. However, there's no problem if you decide wait longer to harvest them. They are still edible and will not make you sick.

Be aware of freezing temperatures! Temps like this can cause toxins in the leaves to spread to the stalks rendering them as poisonous.

Thank you for your interest in the Old Farmer's Almanac and our Web site.

RHUBARB IN NORTH TX

By Anonymous

I live in NE TX and have had great luck so far with rhubarb (Victoria variety). Do not harvest first year and keep well watered. Second year harvest only 2 stalks per plant in first two weeks of harvest season (late spring) third year you may harvest up to half of stalks over an eight week period. Bought my roots at Tractor Supply. Good luck!

Where to buy rhubarb plants?

By womenwithwheels

I live in zone 9 - North Texas and I've been told rhubarb doesn't grow here - but I want to give it a try. Our local garden stores don't even stock it. Where can I buy it online?

In northern Texas you should

By Anonymous

In northern Texas you should be in zone 8. I live in zone 8, but in Alabama. I have lived in San Antonio, the climate is about the same. I am growing rhubarb just fine. You do not want to put it in full sun down here. I have read the east side of the house is best. I bought mine at Walmart. You can also buy it at Michigan bulb co. or Burpee.com. Good luck

rhubarb

By dobopatch

I live in zone 10 in Southwest Florida and have planted rhubarb for the first time. What do you think of my chances of survival for my 3 plants. Right now I have 3 leaves on each plant. It gets pretty hot down here in the summer months.
Bobbi Robertson
N Ft Myers FL

growing rhubarb in hot climates

By Texas.girl

You already bought the plants so all you can do is try, which is what I am doing. I live in zone 8, hot TX. An employee at a hardware store told me it is to hot here to grow rhubarb, but my mom grew it in Sacramento, CA and it reaches 100+ every summer. So I am giving it a try. Hope you succeed, but either way, let others know how the plants do.

The taste!!

By Nona Lopez

Believe it or not, my niece and I would eat this raw right from the garden. Turn your tongue inside out-LOL! We both craved that super sour for some reason.

Rhubarb

By Mike Windle

The only fertilizer I ever use is fireplace wood-ash. Early spring as roots poke through earth spread on patch & scratch it in.
Frequent watering is essential.
My patch this year has been the best in years.
Mike Windle;
Osoyoos, BC.

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