Taking care of rhubarb plants

Taking care of rhubarb plants

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Having rhubarb growing in your own garden is a joyful experience. As a rhubarb enthusiast, I was so happy when we finally got our own little rhubarb patch. Prior to planting we had to determine where does rhubarb grow best. We found the perfect spot for it to thrive, not far from an old apple tree at the farm. The source of this rhubarb was from a cherished family member who grew it every year for the community. The rhubarb holds a special place in our hearts.

  • Growing Rhubarb: Varieties, Planting Guide, Care, Problems, and Harvest
  • Rhubarb: Be Patient and You Will Be Rewarded
  • Growing Rhubarb
  • Rhubarb—an easy-to-grow addition to your garden
  • Rhubarb rhubarb
  • Gardening: Growing rhubarb simple, needs little care
  • How to Grow the Most Pie-Worthy Rhubarb Ever
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: How to Care for a Rhubarb Plant

Growing Rhubarb: Varieties, Planting Guide, Care, Problems, and Harvest

Helen Simpson, from the Mushroom Shed , tells you all you need to know about growing rhubarb. I often hear stories about a rhubarb plant still vigorously producing, even if planted many years ago.

Rhubarb is becoming popular to grow again — so how is it done? However, rhubarb can also be grown from seed. Rhubarb grown from seed will take longer. Growing from a crown gives you a good head start. Crowns can be divided from the main rhubarb plant every five or so years — a plant that has several good sized, distinct growing points indicates divisions may work and they can usually be divided into about three parts.

The more care taken the better, as damaged crowns can take a while to recover. Crowns are normally divided when the plant is dormant or growing slowly, e. Once separated, crowns can be re-planted about 90cm apart. The recommended depth is to have the top of the crown 3cm under the soil. Rhubarb is a perennial and normally stays in position for years.

So it is worth making the effort to plant in a good, rich, well-drained soil. Too soggy and your crown may rot. Too few nutrients and you will get thin stalks and a small plant. With generous nutrients and sufficient water, your rhubarb plant should reward you with an abundance of thick, long, juicy stalks. If this is not the case, try feeding with a liquid fertiliser or sprinkle fertiliser near the base of the plant and water well.

Note, however, that your rhubarb will go through a winter dormant period where, depending on the variety, it will produce fewer or no stalks.

A sunny position is best, however steer away from the hot afternoon sun in summer. Rhubarb will grow in some shade, but will be smaller and thinner. Rhubarb is best planted in the garden where it can spread out. I have seen old crowns as big as basket balls. It can be grown in a pot but make sure it is a very large one. Generally, however, if your rhubarb is producing well, go ahead and harvest it. Giving the stalks a brisk pull downwards and sideways from the main plant will separate them without damage.

Leave at least four stalks in the centre of the plant to keep it viable. Discard the leaves, which are poisonous due to oxalic acid content, as are the roots. During the food shortages of World War 1, rhubarb leaves were promoted as a food source in the UK, leading to the discovery of their poisonous nature. Rhubarb keeps well in the fridge, however if you forget about it, look out, as you can be left with a soggy mess.

It can also be cooked down and frozen. Rhubarb must be cooked, and combines well with apple, cinnamon, orange, berries and pears.

Sometimes your rhubarb plant may produce a seed head. Unless you want seed, I recommend cutting it off as, otherwise, production of the plant will stop for a while. No, it is not unripe. There are varieties of rhubarb which have mainly green stalks with minimal red colouring — Victoria is probably the greenest. They tend to be extremely productive and still taste good.

I mix the vast bulk of the green stalked rhubarb with the lesser bulk of the red varieties, to get both quantity and colour. However, I find the green variety takes longer to cook down. I have two rhubarb plants in large pots.

In the first year, the stalks were long and juicy but now they are short about 20cm and skinny. They are in full sun but shaded from the hot afternoon sun mid to late afternoon.

I recently topped up their soil with some of the contents contents of my worm farm. I liberally water them and the pots are off the ground to assist draining.Question: what do I need to do the get longer, thicker stalks? Also, what is the best fertiliser to use? To produce thicker, longer stalks, your plants will need feeding. Potentially, they have outgrown their pots or the soil has become too depleted, despite worm farm contents.

Hi Helen, I live in south east Queensland and bought two lovely crowns from Mount Tambourine, near the Gold Coast about a year ago and they were terrific for the first year and when the really hot sun started to wilt the leaves during summer, I put up some shade cloth and they recovered really well. By late summer, they stopped growing any more stalks and I assumed they had gone into dormancy for a while. Please advise. Thank you so much for your article on Rhubarb.

Just ensure the plants are in well drained soil. There should be no need to dig them up during dormancy. Ensure the crown is planted just above ground level roots below soil if planted in an area where the soil is very wet over winter to prevent rotting. Hi there. However, our neighbour has recently put up a six foot fence. This will still protect it during summer but the winter afternoon sun is now gone. The previous fence was a chainlink one which let the sun through in Winter.

Can I leave my rhubarb there or will I have to move it? If the latter, when is the right time to move it? Hi, we live in Keysborough in Melbourne. Currently our rhubarb is growing in our vegetable garden, nice and red and thick. We have just sold our house after 44 years. The rhubarb is about 15 years old and has been divided up many times.

We would like to take it with us, can we transplant it into a tub now and what size of tub should we purchase, also what sort of soil should we use? Yes, now is perfect timing to dig up your plant, if you want to move it.

Be prepared to use several tubs of different sizes if your plant is very large and falls into a few parts when dug up. Hello, thanks for the article! Would planting it directly into some well-rotted compost be rich enough? It should be fine to re-pot as you suggest. Hello Helen, I have one plant which has grown despite a certain lack of attention.

We have now about 4 crowns. I have no idea what sort of rhubarb it is, I think I bought it from Bunnings. However my concern is that, while it seems healthy enough with lovely leaves, it is always lying down, quite lovely firm thick but short stems and lying down.

They are green stems, cook up well, just look a strange urky colour. Usually the Victoria grows tallish, thick stems — and yes, they do cook up extremely well.

My suggestion is that you give yours a good feed of chicken manure, sprinkled around the base water in well , or a liquid fertiliser. Also check the soil is rich and well drained. That should get the stalks growing taller and more upright. Hello Helen My daughter lives in out eastern suburbs of Melbourne and has offered her large rhubarb plant, possibly 25 years old. I live in central Gippsland. When and how can I transplant without fear? Thank you. Depending on how the plant is growing, sometimes you can get a small spade down the side to divide off a small piece.

Hi, I have quite a small rhubarb plant that has about 4 distinct crowns. It was swamped under some larger growth so is spindly and pale. Can I divide it still now or leave it for this year, feed it and divide next winter? I brought a plant which seemed to be going well initially, as it threw out a third leaf in August.

However, since then it has gone dormant and has developed holes all over the leaves. I fear I may have over watered it and created crown rot. Or perhaps gave it too much fertiliser. The stalks are still firm which makes me think plant may be ok to save. But no sign of new leaves for 5 weeks now. Any ideas how to save this plant? Or should I dig it out and start again? The holes sound like a slug or snail has nibbled your plant. Hi Helen, I have been looking at the many various varieties of rhubarb at Diggers Club.

I live in Essendon and wondering what would be the best variety to plan. I have a large garden so space is not an issue.

Rhubarb: Be Patient and You Will Be Rewarded

Rhubarb Rheum x hybridum is a hardy perennial that keeps on coming back for years, giving you a fresh harvest of juicy stems every spring. There are many different varieties of rhubarb available, but some stand out from the crowd. Here are a few of our favourite types of rhubarb:. A sunny site is best for growing rhubarb, although it can cope with some shade.

Don't take more than you need so just take a few at a time to avoid damaging the plant. You should never harvest more than half of the stems at once. Ideally.

Growing Rhubarb

Question: I just noticed that one of my rhubarb plants is sending up a flowering stalk. Does this hurt the plant? Should I cut it off.Does it mean the plant will die? What, if anything, should I do? Answer: Rhubarb flowering stalks should be promptly pulled and discarded if you want to keep the plant in good production. The flower stalks take a lot of energy to produce, thereby they reduce plant vigor and next year's production.

Rhubarb—an easy-to-grow addition to your garden

Where to Grow Rhubarb If possible, it's best to grow rhubarb in full sun, but is fairly tolerant of partial shade. They will remain in the same position for up to 10 years and the soil immediately surrounding the plant cannot be dug, so position it with this in mind. Preparation Tolerant of most soil conditions, rhubarb grows best in a neutral soil which has been dug to a depth of 60cm 2ft or more. Incorporate as much organic matter as possible during the digging because it must last the life of the plant - rhubarb will not tolerate soil disturbance once established. The site should be prepared about 4 weeks in advance of planting to give it time to settle.

Hands up all who have fond childhood memories of munching on a crunchy stalk of rhubarb dipped in sugar or of course, the first prize — freshly baked rhubarb pie with custard!

Rhubarb rhubarb

Fresh rhubarb mixed with strawberries or other seasonal fruits in a lattice-topped pie; chunky rhubarb sauce with a dollop of whipped cream; rhubarb preserves; rhubarb-chile salsa; rhubarb cobbler with ice cream — all of these and more, plus the natural beauty of the plant itself. Begin by purchasing crowns or divisions. For best results, work dig the soil as deeply as possible. This encourages deep growing, strong and healthy roots. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the rhubarb roots about 12 inches deep and wide.

Gardening: Growing rhubarb simple, needs little care

Last Updated: October 19, References Approved. Andrew Carberry has been working in food systems sinceThis article has been viewed 80, times. Ruby red rhubarb is a cool season perennial that will return for up to 20 years once established. Its tart, fresh flavor is sought after by cooks looking for something special to make into pie and other desserts. Rhubarb should be planted in a sunny area and given plenty of nutrients to grow healthy and strong. Read on to learn how to plant, care for and harvest rhubarb. To grow rhubarb, plant some rhubarb roots during the spring in a sunny spot with well-draining soil.

This is often the case with divisions from neighbours or friends. rhubarb seedlings growing. Rhubarb Care Requirements. Rhubarb likes full sun.

How to Grow the Most Pie-Worthy Rhubarb Ever

Although grown as a vegetable, Rhubarb Rheum x cultorum is mainly used as a fruit. Very easy to grow and a staple of most vegetable plots. Only the stalk is eaten, the leaves are poisonous and should be discarded on the compost heap.

You can grow rhubarb in Texas. Rhubarb is a cousin of buckwheat and garden sorrel. It is native to China where historical records dating back to about BC detail its use as a medicinal herb for various ailments. Marco Polo brought it to fame in the west as a medicinal plant. Most rhubarb production now is centered in the states of Washington, Oregon and Michigan, although it is a popular home garden vegetable across the northern tiers of states. In northern gardens it is grown as a perennial and harvested from late spring through summer, depending on the location.

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Weed 'n' Feed. Share your gardening joy! Thick green leaves with green stalks that are redder towards the base. Harvest from second growing season. Stems are cooked for a sweet dessert.

Rhubarb unwanted flowering is referred to as bolting. Photo Credit: Purdue Extension. We humans can be so difficult to please.

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