Rhubarb Growing Guide

Planting Rhubarb

  • Plant in spring after the last frost.
  • Keep plants cool until planting and be careful that they do not dry out.
  • These plants will grow in most soils provided they are not too wet and are adequately drained.
  • Dig a large hole at least 30 cm (12 in) deep. Mix in some well rotted manure or compost and a handful of bone meal or general fertilizer.
  • Plant with the top of the crown, base of the fans 3 cm (1 in) below soil level and space 30 to 40 cm (12 to 16 in) apart.
  • Water thoroughly after planting.

Growing Rhubarb

  • All-purpose garden fertilizer applied at the beginning and middle of the growing season is effective.
  • Remove flowers as they appear. This will direct the plant’s energy into growing tasty stems.
  • Maintain a regular watering schedule. Keep the soil moist, but avoid over-watering.

Care Rhubarb

  • Wait until the second year to start harvesting and then harvest for 6 to 8 weeks.
  • Although the first year’s harvest will be small, the yield will improve year by year. Harvests in following years can be done from spring to early summer.
  • When large enough, the stems should be pulled from the crowns. Do not remove too many stems at a time since doing so weakens the plant.
  • To keep the plant strong, do not pick any more stems after July.

Winterizing Rhubarb

  • For new plants, provide a winter mulch of evergreen boughs or salt marsh hay after the ground freezes to help prevent heaving.
  • The rootstocks themselves are inedible.