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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.


  • 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 one-year rhubarb crowns in early spring as soon as the ground is workable when the roots are still dormant and before growth begins or plants are just beginning to leaf out. 
  • Rhubarb can also be planted in the fall after dormancy has set in.
  • 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.


  • 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).


  • Crown rot


  • 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'.


Wit & Wisdom

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


we live in Wisconsin and we

By Pat L on May 21

we live in Wisconsin and we had a good freeze here 5-19-15. Can I use my Rhubard or do I need to throw out this that is grown so far. Due to a article that said that if a freeze the toxins can go to the stems and it be poisonous. Don't want family and friends to get ill. How would I know if I can use or not..??? Thanks

Pat /Wisconsin

We have a rhubarb plant in

By Andrzej on May 19

We have a rhubarb plant in our tiny urban backyard that has been a prodigious producer despite the environment, weather and abuse. For the first time, in 5 years I see the seed stalks - not just one, but no less than 8 from the same plant! I assume they are all seed stalks, as they did all appear to have flowering-type growths on the top, and 2 or 3 sections each which were "shedding skin." For my first harvest, there were actually more of these hollow stalks than leafed stems. My question is, can we do anything productive with the stalks? Just this one plant produced a good 12+ feet of stalk!

Older rhubarb plants tend to

By Almanac Staff on May 19

Older rhubarb plants tend to send up flower stalks. You should cut them all out (make the cut as close to the soil as possible). The flower buds are edible but the stalks are very fiborous and should be discarded. You can cut them up and put them on your compost pile.

I am moving in July and

By Cecile Tessier on May 18

I am moving in July and wanted to bring my rhubarb plants with me. Would you think that would be feasible. I am only moving to the next town. I live in ma.

Hi Cecile, Yes, you can

By Almanac Staff on May 19

Hi Cecile,
Yes, you can transplant the rhubarb. Spring and fall are the best times to dig and divide rhubarn but you can do it in the summer if you make sure you get as much of the roots as possible. Put the plants in big pots and add some soil. Try to get them in the ground at the new location as soon as possible.

I have had 3 rhubarb plants

By Bernadin Cook on May 18

I have had 3 rhubarb plants for 3 years ad this year only one of them came back. I also planted 4 plants last year and NONE of them came this year. I live in Eastern Tennessee and we had a very hard freeze here last year for 3 weeks. Could this have killed them? I am from WI and never ever heard of this. I asked around because there isn't a lot of rhubarb available here if it was the soil and people assured me they never heard of this. My mm grew rhubarb as I was a child which multiplied like crazy and I have heard of it not come back after the first year but never after 3. Help me out! I love rhubarb and want to plant more.

This is a third year for our

By elina on May 16

This is a third year for our rhubarb and i was going to harvest it for the first time ever but overnight the temperatures dropped to below freezing. Because of the poison that forms in the plant after it freezes it is not edible i suppose. But for how long? Do i give it some time and pick the stalks i was eyeing before the frost or forget about harvesting this year altogether?

I live in mid virginia and am

By Donna McEathron on May 14

I live in mid virginia and am on my third rhubarb plant. All the others died in the summer soon after they were planted in spring. They were in full sun and i think they got too hot. It stays in the high 80s to high 90s most of the summer. So before i plant this next one should i plant it in the shade or maybe just morning sun? Please help me i love rhubarb and this one is a good 10" high. Can i plant indoors maybe? Thank you, Donna

Hi Donna, Plant the rhurbarb

By Almanac Staff on May 15

Hi Donna,
Plant the rhurbarb in a spot that provides protection from the afternoon sun to limit heat stress. Rhubarb grows best in deep well-drained soil that has been amended with compost or aged manure. Good luck!

why do you need to remove the

By kimmy west on May 5

why do you need to remove the seed stalk ? what will happen if I don't? how do you remove it without hurting the rest of plant? I planted my rubarb last year how long until I can harvest from it?

My rhubarbs new leaves are

By jakki davies on May 16

My rhubarbs new leaves are growing out of its own stem? like a climer? do not know what to do? cant harvest. Does anyone know why?

The seed stalks sap energy

By sc0tt b on May 10

The seed stalks sap energy that should go into growing nice stalks for next year. Just cut them of at the base of the stalk with anything sharp.

In the second year after planting, harvest lightly, removing only a few stalks from each plant. From the third year on, harvest stems freely

I saw a video on the internet

By Sara Geer on April 30

I saw a video on the internet on how to remove the buds/flowers/seeds on rhubarb. I did what they said but every single one I pulled out the whole plant came with it. I could see in the dirt some roots tho. Did I kill my rhubarb?

Use a sharp knife to cut the

By Almanac Staff on May 1

Use a sharp knife to cut the seedstalk off as close to the main part of the plant as possible without injuring the surrounding leaf stalks. Try not to leave much of a stub on the seedstalk, which can invite pests and disease. Some gardeners pull the seedstalks out to remove them, but using a knife allows you to control the height of the stub, and may minimize damage to the plant (ragged breaks may invite disease). It is also possible that by pulling, you might indeed pull out the entire plant, especially if it is young (in its first or second year of becoming established).
Is the crown intact in the soil? Or are the roots that you see in the soil detached? If the crown is still there and uninjured, especially if any leaf stalks are still attached to it, it is early enough in the year that it might be possible for the plant to recover and regrow some leaves for it to make food for the winter. If so, do not harvest this year; allow the plant to re-establish itself. If the next year, growth seems weak, avoid harvesting, or harvest very lightly.

Hi there, Thank you for all

By Linda Hinton on April 22

Hi there,
Thank you for all the great information. I am new to growing Rhubarb and planted one last year and three this year. My question is, the one I planted last year had a stem with seeds, my husband said remove it as soon as I see it. I did, and have read that one here, my question is can I plant this seed for a future rhubarb plant? I will grow it in my greenhouse.

Hi, Linda, That's ambitious,

By Almanac Staff on April 23

Hi, Linda, That's ambitious, but growing rhubarb from seed is not highly recommended, as you are not like to see the characteristics of the parent plant/s in the offspring. It is recommended that you propogate by splitting the crown of existing plants.
If you want to try the seeds, here is some advice: http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/fromseed

Should the central flowering

By Franfoodie

Should the central flowering stollk be cut back once it starts to flower.

Yes, that stalk should be cut

By Lori N. on May 5

Yes, that stalk should be cut back to the base as low as possible without damaging the rest of the plant. You can do it now without waiting for flowers.

What is that stalk that is

By James Harrison on April 26

What is that stalk that is growing in the middle of the rhubarb, we have had the plant for 4 years now and never seen this before

Congratulations, your rhubarb

By Lori N. on May 5

Congratulations, your rhubarb has matured! That is the flower stalk. It should be cut back to the base as low as possible without damaging the rest of the plant. You can do it now without waiting for flowers.

I planted some Heirloom

By Ruth Perkins on May 12

I planted some Heirloom Victoria Rhubarb seeds in spring of last year, 2013. How long do I have to wait until the stalks are safe to eat? I also planted an Heirloom Victoia Rhubarb seedling I got from a store. It is at least 1 year old now and beginning to flower. I know I need to remove the flower but does the flower indicate that the plant is mature enough to eat?

is it like a round bulb of

By barbara redmond on April 29

is it like a round bulb of some sort growing in the middle of everything? i have it this year (about 4th year) and never saw it before. if you learn what it is, please write me. thank you.

Yes, that is the flower

By Lori N. on May 5

Yes, that is the flower stalk. It should be cut back to the base as low as possible without damaging the rest of the plant.

We live in Wyoming where we

By Betka

We live in Wyoming where we have tried to start rhubarb growing 4 or 5 times. We finally have sprouts, from a friend's bulbs! However, it looks like it will be necessary for us to transplant the rhubarb from a greenhouse to a sunnier, better drained location. My problem is that we have voles, which tend to destroy the roots of plants by burrowing. Do the roots of rhubarb have pest-repellent properties like the leaves, or do you have any other suggestions for protecting the roots? We have mesh in the bottom of our greenhouse bed, but it seems like that could be a problem too, if the rhubarb roots go as deep as you say. Thanks!

There is not easy solution to

By Almanac Staff

There is not easy solution to voles; it sounds like you're trying all the right things. One source suggests encouraging natural predators: raptors, owls, raccoons, coyotes, foxes, snakes—even dogs and cats.
As for your rhubarb, if you think your greenhouse bed is not safe, you could plant in containers. Large ones, to be sure, but these you could control placement. If you move a "starting" plant, you may loose it; best to move the root to a container in the fall.
How does your friend defeat the voles?

I need to move an old rhubarb

By Janet Collison

I need to move an old rhubarb plant, it is in a confined space. I am hoping for some advice. How deep does the root system go? How can I do the least damage to the plant? If I divide it when I pull it will I still be able to get usable stalks this year?

Early spring, before new

By Almanac Staff

Early spring, before new growth starts, is the best time to transplant rhubarb, with fall second best (after leaves have died back). If you transplant the entire plant, dig down as deep as you can (about 12 to 18 inches deep and 8 to 12 inches away from the buds), and include a good portion of the soil around the roots. Avoid damaging the crown or buds. Rhubarb roots on older plants can extend several feet deep, so it is not likely that you will be able to get them all, but that is OK. Note that the root ball may be heavy to transport! It may be easier to divide the plant before transplanting. If dividing, make sure each section contains 1 to 3 buds and a portion of roots. See the article above as to how to prepare the soil and plant in a new spot.

If you divide the plant, leaving part of the mother plant intact in the original spot, you might get a reduced harvest from the mother plant this year. Do not harvest from the transplanted sections until they become established in 1 or 2 years; after that, they can be harvested lightly the first year and then normally in subsequent years.

For more advice, you might be interested in:
root depth of rhubarb:

I picked my rhubarb after it

By Tracie L H

I picked my rhubarb after it had gone to seed, as it was still growing. I picked a little at a time from July to September. I had it frozen, and just made a pie today (January 24). It had a rather weed-like taste to it, and left my mouth feeling strange. Is this because some of it had been there a long time, or because it had went to seed?

Rhubarb tastes best in early

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb tastes best in early summer before it gets too hot. Some stalks will flower and have seeds. These should be removed as soon as possible to keep the rest of the stalks growing well.




It is October and I have

By Tahirih Morrison

It is October and I have received some rhubarb roots from a friend and I am not sure if I should plant them now or somehow store them in the garage for winter and plant them in the spring. What should I do? I want to do something to protect them quick! I have never grown rhubarb but am so looking forward to it. Also, the roots are very large, if that makes a difference.

To avoid the roots from

By Almanac Staff

To avoid the roots from drying out replant the rhubarb as soon as possible. It's a little late in the season but you should be able to plant them in the ground. Dig a hole and add aged compost to the soil. Plant the roots and before the cold weather arrives spread some mulch over the rhubarb for extra protection. Good luck!

Sorry. I forgot to mention

By Tahirih Morrison

Sorry. I forgot to mention that I am in zone 5.

Is it better to start growing

By Tyler A.

Is it better to start growing a rhubarb plant in early spring from seed and then transplanting it outdoors later in the season, or just starting it in the ground.

You can try growing rhubarb

By Almanac Staff

You can try growing rhubarb from seed if you choose, but we recommend planting one-year ‘crowns’ which will produce a crop in the harvest season after planting. Rhubarb grown from seed is not guaranteed to be true to type--a further complication.

This is the first season my

By Janeah Weaver

This is the first season my rhubarb has been planted and it has grown several large healthy leaves and stems. I hear not to harvest the first year, but should I trim leaves off or do any other preparations for winter? I live in Colorado.

A Canadian asked this

By Almanac Staff

A Canadian asked this question below and we were amused by the answers which basically amount to: nothing. It is indeed a hardy plant, however, you could take precaution by applying composted (NOT fresh) manure or leaves in late fall. Just do not cover the root crowns or it promotes rotting.  The compost should provide protection and organic nutrients. 

Hello there! I live in Brazil

By Diana Abreu

Hello there!
I live in Brazil and back in May I germinated a few rhubarb seeds and like a miracle, i have 8 very nice plants!
For 2, 3 months the leaves were a beautiful green color, but now, as them grow, they become dark purple! The stalks are getting thicker and thicker!
I wonder if I can harvest young plants!
I hope they get thru summer time, here the temperatures are high! very high!

Can someone help me out about the leaf color and early harvesting?

Thanks a lot! :D

I live in Central florida and

By Andrew Micklos

I live in Central florida and have been trying to grow Rhubarb for years. The hot humid summers have always killed off my plants up to this year. I started several plants from seed and grew them in heavy shade all last summer. They survived but didn't look real healthy. Since i was growing them in pots, I moved them to an area with morning sun and shade all afternoon. My plants have gone giant on me and are great eating. Now that I think I have the secret I'll grow more plants. I typically use liquid fertilizer.

Andrew, Thank you for you

By Sharon Amidon on May 7

Andrew, Thank you for you comment. I also live in Central Florida and I am trying to grow rhubarb for the 2nd time. The 1st time it die. I've planted the rhubard in the ground this time. So far it's growing but wondering what's going to happen once we hit the HOT summer months.

I just recently purchased

By Tom B.

I just recently purchased about eight stalks of rhubarb from the supermarket to make a pie. Most of the stalks are red but also have a lot of green. My question is: Is it o.k. to eat the green part and how does it affect the flavor? I have eaten a lot of rhubarb over the years and it is one of my favorites as far as pie goes. I have not seen quite this much green though.

The green stalks are

By Almanac Staff

The green stalks are perfectly healthy and fine to eat.  Some varieties do have more green stalks than red. If you want to be sure of the red color, you may want to find someone who is growing red rhubarb and ask for a division. 

I live in the Sacramento

By D. Briggs

I live in the Sacramento Valley.
I planted three Rhubarb roots?this spring and only one survived.

It has grown with 8 stems up to 24" in length..
I recognize that I should not harvest any stems for another year.

The stems grow quickly and have only 3-4 inches of red color at base of the stem.

Should all stems harvested have a considerable part of the lower end be red?

I live in Maine and it's the

By Rachael Davis

I live in Maine and it's the first week of July. Is it too late to plant bulbs that I purchased earlier in the year or should I wait to purchase new ones in the spring so I can plant for the upcoming season?

Rhubarb is an early spring

By Almanac Staff

Rhubarb is an early spring crop and the crowns are best planted in early spring when the roots are still dormant or plants are just beginning to leaf out. (In most regions, the peak of harvest is May and June.)  However, rhubarb can also be planted in the fall after dormancy has set in--if you want to try then.

I just moved to a new house

By Molly B

I just moved to a new house and discovered I have rhubarb in the backyard - lucky me! By the time I have found it, the leaves are huge and the stalks very long and fat! Is there such a thing as harvesting too late? Or is this just a well-established healthy plant?

Oh, we are envious! You can

By Almanac Staff

Oh, we are envious! You can keep picking rhubarb all summer as long as it has not gone to seed. Just don't harvest it all at once. Leave 1/3 of the stalks on each plant. Leep it watered and well fed with organic compost. If you see the seed shoot (a shoot with many small white balls instead of a leaf), cut it off and keep harvesting. Time for some rhubarb crisp!

How many varities of Ruhbarb

By Del

How many varities of Ruhbarb are there?

There are 100+ varieties of

By DennisD on April 24

There are 100+ varieties of rhubarb. It is difficult to know for sure as new varieties emerge each year. They come from accident and from Mendelian experimentation. I'm unaware of any laboratory GMO work on rhubarb. It is worth noting that varietal names are not standardized in the USA. Farmers name their own rhubarb as do some retailers. Some choose names to reflect the dominant characteristics shared with older, canonical varieties (Victoria, Crimson Red, Chinese, Turkish, etc.). Others name them after themselves or for marketing appeal. Some new varieties are so unique as to defy association with older varieties. Also noteworthy is that early research indicates that although varieties differ in acidity, color, and even taste their nutritional values are essentially the same.

I was just given lots of

By Nancy O

I was just given lots of rhubarb some of the stalks seem to be seed stalks and most is still green. Can you eat the seed stalks? How about the green ones?
Salmon ID

I planted several rhubarb

By Dee Vali

I planted several rhubarb plants about three years ago and this spring noticed that on a couple of the plants not only are some of the leaves a mottled pale yellow and green but the shape of the leaves are elongated and not very ruffled?! What does that mean?

In the garden, when a green

By Jae Paul

In the garden, when a green leaf starts turning yellow and crispy it can mean a few things. ,1. Over fertilization Of nitrogen or perhaps under fertilization.(the tips of the leaves can be brown and crispy when over fertilized. With a fading yellow color on the large portion of leaf. The shape of the leaves could be due to the variety of rhubarb u planted! Some can be wider, some thinner, some ruffle alot and some dont ruffle much. If there are holes in the leaves of chunks missing or ripped, it could be a bug or bugs of sorts. Like with pumpkin and squashes there are boring beetles that bore into the stems and fruits of gourd vines. Im sure rhubarb has its own buggy enemies! Hope I helped a little!


By Gisela Mickelson

I LOOOOOOOOOVE rhubarb.I would love to grow it myself, but I live in Palm Springs,CA. Is there any hope for growing rhubarb in the desert? And where would I be able to find seedlings? Thank you for any advice you may have.

I live in Carson City, NV. I

By Phyllis Nolze

I live in Carson City, NV. I have a rhubarb plant that is eight years old and it does alright. Our winters get below freezing at night to day time highs over onehunred during the summer. The plant gets no direct sun and has good water drainage.

Ah, we understand. We are

By Almanac Staff

Ah, we understand. We are rhubarb fanatics, too. I'm afraid that rhubarb likes cooler temperatures and temperate climates. Some diehard gardeners say it’s doable, however, very challenging. If you want to try it out, plant it in the desert in the fall in a spot with morning sun and afternoon shade, in well-drained and slightly acidic soil (pH of about 5.0 to 6.8). 

i lost my beautiful rhubarb

By r kirby

i lost my beautiful rhubarb plants when we had work done in your yard. Where can I buy several plants? I live in N J Thank you.

If you are in Norther NJ

By Rafael S

If you are in Norther NJ check out Craigslist, There is a local place in Pompton Plains of Route 23 that sells Rhubarb and also small plantings. I am planning to go tomorrow to see if I can pick some up so I can let you know what comes of it.

I live in south central

By Marilyn Stage

I live in south central Colorado. We had a large hail storm last week-end that shredded most of our beautiful rhubarb..Should I remove the shredded stalks? Try to salvage them to eat or toss? There will not be much left if I remove the damaged ones..HELP

You can remove the shredded

By Almanac Staff

You can remove the shredded stalks and eat them. The plant will survive and may grow new thin stalks this year. It will come back next year with normal stalks.

I have huge rhubarb leaves

By Don Kissinger

I have huge rhubarb leaves and have laid them down around tomatoes and blueberry bushes to keep weeds down. Should I not do this since the weeds are poisonous?

The leaves are poisonous to

By Almanac Staff

The leaves are poisonous to eat but they are a great weed killer. Just lay them down around your veggies and plants. They are also safe to put in your compost pile.

I live in Northern VA and

By AnnieVA

I live in Northern VA and planted 4 roots this spring (2014).They were doing very well until my gardener took the weed whacker to them and my sunflowers this weekend, right to the ground. He managed to leave the dandelions (yes, I need a new gardener...). So, are my new rhubarbs plants a complete write-off and just need to try again next year ? Thanks.

It will set the plants back a

By Almanac Staff

It will set the plants back a bit but they should be OK. The roots are intact and they will establish in the ground. You will not get much new growth this year. Hopefully next spring you will have healthy stalks.

I planted 2 small rhubarb

By Abigail Ewing

I planted 2 small rhubarb plants in my garden this year. I gave them each a four sq. foot space to grow in(I do sq foot gardening). They only take up a fraction of that space now and I was hoping to utilize the remaining space while the rhubarb is small... I know they get quite large once established but any thoughts on how big I can expect them to get this growing season?

Your rhubarb is not going to

By Almanac Staff

Your rhubarb is not going to get very big this year. If it already has stalks and leaves it's not going to grow much bigger than what it is right now.

I have a rhubarb already at

By jan east pa

I have a rhubarb already at seed. Haven't noticed anything about when at seed, what is appropriate to do. I know to cut the stem, but what about harvesting afterwards? Are the stalks at the base good to eat? Can you eat the green stalks or should they have some red in it? Any ideas, info greatly appreciated.

Some rhubarb is red, some

By Almanac Staff

Some rhubarb is red, some green, and some pink. It depends on the variety. In terms of harvesting, it's best to go by the size. Harvest then 10 to 15 inches long. Read more about harvesting above.

How do you know when r u barb

By Don Gregson on May 15

How do you know when r u barb is ripe and it ready to eat?

Yes, you can pick rhubarb

By Almanac Staff

Yes, you can pick rhubarb after it goes to seed, however, it is better to stop picking it at this time and remove the seed head as it is developing. Seed production takes energy away from the vegetative production of the plant for future years.

Hi, I have been reading the

By Bradley Weeks


I have been reading the planting instruction on the web and need to make a few comments. I have been receiving a lot of complaints about the the roots not growing and have found a huge error in all online planting instructions. The bud of the rhubarb and black flaky stuff at the top off the roots are basically the flower. It needs to be planted 1 to 2 inches ABOVE the soil. As we all know, any flower you place under the soil will rot away.

Secondly, rhubarb roots are starch and when they are first planted have not had time to establish. Planing these into compost or highly organic planting soils will also rot out the roots. A nice, well drained sandy loam soil light in organics is the best for the first year. After the plant has had a year to establish in the soil, then you can use manure or a fertilizer of your choosing.

Bradley Weeks, Weeks Berry Nursery

My rhubarb is producing

By Cory Kelly

My rhubarb is producing beautiful thick red stalks AND pencil thin stalks. Should I pull the thin limp stalks to give more energy to the larger production?

My rhubarb is hollow on the

By Ray thomas jr

My rhubarb is hollow on the inside and has very little flavor?? Any ideas??

The seed stalks are hollow on

By DennisD on April 24

The seed stalks are hollow on most if not all varieties. However, some varieties develop hollow food stalks as well. Of the 10+ varieties we grow this happens sometimes with our Turkish. Not sure why. I think it may be insufficient water...we farm in a semi-arid climate and are mindful of water conservation. Hollow food stalks did not return once the frequency of watering increased. Cause/effect...we don't know for sure.

Hi Ray, Good question.

By Almanac Staff

Hi Ray, Good question. Usually, the hollow stalk grows out of the center of the rhubarb plant after the leaves have been harvested and late in the season—especially in cooler, longer springs (which many of us had this year). Remove these "seedstalks" before they flower or the vigor of the plant is reduced. Remove as soon as they appear (and re-appear). 

I live in Southern

By Kris Clark

I live in Southern Pennsylvania and This is the 3rd year for my Rhubarb plants. My plants seem to be doing well. The stalks have large leaves but the stalks themselve are not very big (round) and they are not red. They are about 12" long. I have not harvested any yet. Will they stalks get thicker and red?

Hi, Kris, Pick it and enjoy

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Kris, Pick it and enjoy it! Spring is it's season. While it has been 3 years in the ground, it may take a few more years for your plant to grow the fat, long stalks you see in markets and groceries. Big plants (both under and above the ground) produce big stalks. (I have the same thing going on, with almost pencil-thin stalks this year.)
In the meantime, keep giving your plant lots of rich compost and aged manure (and sun and water).

I it ok to put cut rhubarb

By Carol Rubino

I it ok to put cut rhubarb leaves under the rhubarb plant so nutrients go back into soil? This has been a family tradition for as long as I can remember.

Hi, Carol, We aren't going to

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Carol, We aren't going to defy a family tradition, so sure. You can also use the leaves as "stepping stones" in a garden pathway. Lay them down, walk on them, and let them decay in their own time.

I just wanted to mention that

By Marthanne Theel

I just wanted to mention that we also were brought up to put the rhubarb leaves under the plants. I do not see that there is any problem with it, but was unable to find this issue addressed when I searched on the internet.

I live in Indiana and have

By Jeanie Webb

I live in Indiana and have put my rhubarb in a large pot in the garden. I had tried it in the ground last year and it didn't grow, so I decided a pot with great soil was the answer but now I'm worrying about this winter, will the rhubarb freeze? Should I try the ground again?

Hi, Jeanie, As explained

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Jeanie,
As explained above, rhubarb does best where the average temperature falls below 40ºF in the winter. So freezing will not generally harm it. However, you would get better results in the long run if it is in the ground, where it can sink roots and live a long life.
As far as "great soil" that you mention, make sure it is really rich in compost, whether in a pot or in the ground.

My rhubarb has been producing

By Barb Weaver

My rhubarb has been producing for over 20 years. But last year and this year, its leaves are very small and its stalks are very thin. Should I be replacing it with a new plant or does it need thinning in the Fall?

Hi, Barb, You don't need to

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Barb, You don't need to replace it; you should divide the crown and when you do you can replace it with one of its offspring, it you desire.
Dividing can be done in spring or fall, but many gardeners prefer doing it in spring. You should dig up the entire crown and remove side shoots while preserving the roots as best you can. Return the mother plant to the original plot, with a heaping dose of compost, and plant the shoots elsewhere, also with a lot of compost.

What does the crown look

By Joyanne Hamilton

What does the crown look like?

Hi Joyanne, There's a picture

By Almanac Staff

Hi Joyanne, There's a picture of a rhubarb crown in this article:


You can buy one-year crowns at many plant nurseries.

Hope this helps, your OFA editors

Bought a 2 year old plant

By Robert McDonald Sr.

Bought a 2 year old plant from catalogue CO. Planted it late last winter now fully grown. When can I harvest?

Hi, Robert, Pick it lightly

By Almanac Staff

Hi, Robert,
Pick it lightly this first season, which is to say, take only the strongest, thickest stalks. Remove the seed head as it is developing; seed production takes energy away from the vegetation. Remember, too to discard the leaves. You can compost them or, as we do, lay them in the path or between plant rows in your vegetable garden as mulch.

Two of my rhubarb leaves have

By Esther R

Two of my rhubarb leaves have just turned completely red and then wilted completely. I live in Kentucky. The rhubarb crown was planted last fall. Any ideas what is plaguing this plant? Thank you!! (It is late May right now).

Oh, Esther, it sounds like it

By Almanac Staff

Oh, Esther, it sounds like it could be crown, or root, rot. This may be from growing your rhubarb in the same place a plant thrived in the past 4 to 5 years. Or it could be verticillium wilt, a sol fungus that exists naturally. Or it could be from poorly draining soil. It's also possible that you have a nasty beetle snacking on your plant.
Start fresh in a sunny, well-composted new location with a new plant. Perhaps a friend would divide one this fall and share with you.

Hi Esther, I moved into a

By Adrienne

Hi Esther,

I moved into a house that had a neglected rhubarb plant in the yard. I dug it up and it was infested with earwigs. As this insect is really hard to kill, I rinsed the roots as best I could, then transplanted to a very large container with rich soil. I then planted garlic around the rhubarb, which wards off earwigs. This year, my plant looks 100% better. It had little leaves and short, thin, but ripe stalks. This year there are full leaves and many healthy stalks. And best yet, no earwigs (I checked).

Hope this helps.

When you said not to use the


When you said not to use the rhubarb the first year, does that also apply to rhubarb that I split and transplanted last fall?

Right: Wait one or two

By Almanac Staff

Right: Wait one or two growing seasons before harvesting. This allows the plant to establish itself in its new spot so that its roots can develop enough to support the plant's needs. After a year or so, the plant will start to grow more vigorously, and it will be able to handle the harvest of some of its stalks more easily.

This is the second year for

By Mel Wiseman

This is the second year for my plants and they have a lot of seed like on top. Do I leave them on or take them off?

My plant is two years old,

By Christa

My plant is two years old, has 5 stalks and a lot of seeds. What do I need to do with the seeds?

Thank you for your help

The seed stalks and flowers

By Almanac Staff

The seed stalks 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.

Thank you very much

By Mel Wiseman

Thank you very much

I recently planted some

By Plantlover69

I recently planted some rhubarb in my Green House and now I find myself a month later with no evidence of plant life. At this point I am very uneasy about whether or not my rhubarb is alive. It is 69 degrees(I know don't laugh) and I was wondering if this was ideal whether for rhubarb plants to be able to prosper.

I think you mentioned the

By Almanac Staff

I think you mentioned the answer! Rhubarb is a cool-season crop. It requires temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit to break dormancy and to stimulate growth. Rhubarb grows best in temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
We normally advise growing rhubarb from one-year "crowns" in the ground as described above.
We're not clear how you are using a greenhouse. The only way we could seeing using a greenhouse is if you were forcing the rhubarb crowns to ripen quickly. In that case, you would still need to chill them to force dormancy.

How should I go about

By Plantlover69

How should I go about chilling the rhubabr to force dormancy?

I have some planted and it

By Sylvia Conner

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

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

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 wouldn't use raised

By fuzzys buzzers

I wouldn't use raised beds...the frost will kill the root if if it is above ground. I have even went as far as putting a small amount of hay over the plants when they die off in the fall and remove it when spring arrived

Use straw instead of hay,

By JPDouglas

Use straw instead of hay, fewer weed seeds.

I've recently planted some

By Plantlover69

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

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 would not recommend putting

By Delila101

I would not recommend putting the rhubarb leaves in your compost. The leaves are toxic. Just throw them in the dump or garbage.

Composting rhubarb leaves

By AmyM

Composting rhubarb leaves isn't a problem. Google "rhubarb safety concerns" for an article from Iowa State Extension.

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.

There are lots of people that

By Joan Meister

There are lots of people that believe the same. But when its well cared for the stalks are redder and the fruit tastes much better (I think)

Hi. I cannot find a clear

By Ted G

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.

Many people recommend

By BruceTN

Many people recommend covering with manure as a mulch to
1.) help protect the root crown from frost
2.) provide nutrient for the plants (rhubarb likes lots of organic matter in the soil.)

I have just left the last of the stalks and leaves on the ground in the fall, and top dressed with manure in the spring. My rhubarb grows very well

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 Eastern MA. I have

By Kathy T Reynolds

I live in Eastern MA. I have to admit. I have 4 rhubarb plants that have survived in my garden for over 26 years without any care, besides water. They have given me many delicious crisps, pies, jams & compotes. I feel negligent after now reading what I should have been doing. My mom raised all 4 children to eat it rhubarb raw or cooked. My 2 brothers, sister & I continue to grow & eat rhubarb. Now that I am better informed I will try to give back to my rhubarb, through better nourishment, the love they have given my family over the years. Thanks for the input on this site. KR

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!!

I live in Southern California

By Shoppes

I live in Southern California (Torrance) and started my rhubarb from a friend's plant who also lives in another beach community (Ventura). I have since shared the plant with two other people. All of our plants are thriving. My friend's plant came from a very old plant that was planted by a grandparent. This plant has gone on and on with very little effort. It's somewhat like a weed. I haven't given it any special tratment over the years and it's produced perfectly. Give it a try!

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!


By Dylan


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?

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.
In case it helps, here is information on rhubarb growing by your state's Cooperative Extension:

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 also give my rhubarb wood

By Gloria Liuzzo on May 22

I also give my rhubarb wood ashes but now and then I give it a cocktail of Epsom Salt and Black tea. I make up a 1/2 gallon of Lipton Tea and put in a cup of Epsom Salt. I added this in early spring and my plant took off. The plant seemed to love this cocktail and this year I did the same. Today I harvest and I got more than 12 stalks that are going in a Rhubarb cake and Rhubarb/Strawberry crumb pie.

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.


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.


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


By Anonymous

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


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?


By Anonymous


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.


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!


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!).


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.


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?


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)?


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.


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


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.


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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