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How to Grow Rhubarb

Updated on September 9, 2012

Rhubarb Plants

I've never really thought too much about growing rhubarb, much less eating it, as I can't remember a time where I've had a good rhubarb pie or muffin. Although, I have heard of a few people who can't get enough of rhubarb, and use it for their breakfast toast in the morning.

If you enjoy eating rhubarb desserts and snacks, you may want to consider growing the plant in your home garden. This makes it easier to come by why you have the taste for a pie, muffin, or pudding dessert.

Rhubarb Cookbooks

Life's Little Rhubarb Cookbook: 101 Rhubarb Recipes (Cooking at Its Best from Avery Color Studios)
Life's Little Rhubarb Cookbook: 101 Rhubarb Recipes (Cooking at Its Best from Avery Color Studios)

cook rhubarb in many different ways from purees to muffins; rhubarb is great for breakfast, dinner, and dessert


Grow Rhubarb

First, keep in mind that rhubarb is a cool, season perennial crop. It does better in cooler areas. The plant tends to end its dormancy when the weather drops below 40F, and it does the best with summers that average 75F or less. Generally, you'll find Washington, Oregon, and Michigan with the most commercial production of rhubarb.

If you want to try to grow your own rhubarb, be careful of dry, hot summers, as that will easily burn up a rhubarb plant.

But, if you think that can manage a rhubarb plant in your garden, it's recommended to start with rhubarb seedlings and small plants that are already started. If you can't find , the rhubarb seeds will work just the same. If you start with seeds, you want to start them off by soaking them, and softening the seed casing. Plant them in an area where you won't have to bother them or the soil too much.

You want a location that has a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8; although, it can tolerate pH levels as low as 5.0. You want a location that will be well drained and a location that is in full sunlight.

Plant rhubarb plants in early spring. If you're working with seeds, start working on getting them to sprout during later winter, so that the seedlings will be ready to plant during spring. Plant each seedling about 24 to 48 inches apart so that the plants don't crowd as they grow.

Start the rhubarb seeds or seedlings with a liberal amount of fertilizer blended into the soil, as you want to be able to conserve water moisture in the soil, make vital nutrients available at all times, and preserver the soil structure in order to grow healthy rhubarb. You should also blend in peat moss around the roots to help create a firm ground around the roots.

As the rhubarb plant grows, you want to remove seed stalks as soon as you notice them, as once the plant starts produce them, it will stop producing the edible leaf stalks.

It may take up to 4 to 5 years before your small seedling rhubarb plants become fully established plants, but as the plant grows, you'll want to thin it out by trimming the crown down to about 4 to 5 buds.

You want to wait until at least the third year to start harvesting finger-sized petioles.

The general growing season for rhubarbs range from April through September.


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    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 7 years ago

      I like rubarb pie!