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How to Grow Rhubarb Plants

Updated on April 24, 2012

Rhubarb is a hardy perenniel plant. It is technically a vegetable but most often used like a fruit in dessert recipes. It is also usually in the fruit category in your gardening catalogues.

It is hardy,very easy to grow, and pretty too. I inherited my plant when we bought our house almost 14 years ago. Some years I completely ignored it and it grew. Other years I fed it and watered it regularly, and it grew even bigger.

It is a pretty plant. I often see them planted in the backs of flower beds.

How to Grow

 Rhubarb grows best in areas with cool moist summers and freezing winters. In zones 8 and up, it is treated as an annual.

Plant rhubarb in early spring. Find a sunny or partly shady spot. Make sure it is well weeded as rhubarb doesn't like to be around a lot of weeds.Your rhubarb plant will love you if you mix in some manure or compost into it's planting hole. It likes a lot of water, but not every day. Let it dry out a little between waterings.


Harvest Time

Do not harvest any stalks the first year, or it will not grow back the next. On the second year, you can pull off a few stalks. Every other year you can pull off about half of the stalks to ensure that your plant will keep coming back.

Sometimes a flower stalk will shoot up. If it does, pick it and discard it right away. This way the plant's energy will go to the edible stalks.

So you've picked what do you do with it?

First of all, you will only be eating the red stalks. The leaves are poisonous. They are safe to put in your compost pile though, or around your plant as mulch.

It is a sour vegetable and is usually mixed with a lot of sugar to make it edible. I like to eat it raw, sliced up and sprinkled with sugar.

It can also be used in many baked goods. Rhubarb crisp, rhubarb pie, rhubarb muffins or rhubarb jam are a few examples. Many recipes use rhubarb mixed with other fruit, usually strawberries. Mixing it with other fruit makes the recipe sweeter, which means you don't use quite as much sugar.

What is your favorite way to eat rhubarb?

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    • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

      Pamela Kinnaird W 7 years ago from Maui and Arizona

      Good information. I didn't know we shouldn't pick any stalks the first year. Lots of other good stuff I didn't know.

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 7 years ago from Canada

      Me too!

    • valery elias profile image

      valery elias 7 years ago

      Love this hub! I could really go for some rhubarb pie!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 7 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for the comment, oliversmum. I think I will have to divide up my plant soon too, it is getting huge!

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 7 years ago from australia

      daisyjae. Hi. This is a great hub. We have just broken our plants up and given some to friends.

      I must admit we have never tried it raw,but will do so now.

      My family prefer it cooked with apple and sultanas, with either ice cream or cream, which I guess doesn't make it all that healthy but it's nice.

      Thank you for the information on the different ways to use it. :) :)

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 7 years ago from Canada

      I love rhubarb strawberry pie!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      My best friend makes a great rhubarb-strawberry pie!