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A picture of a Garden Rhubarb

Garden Rhubarb

Rheum × hybridum

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Also known as

Pie Plant

April 22, Rhubarb by David Morris (CC BY 2.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

H5

RHS hardiness

-15°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1.5m

Max

1.5m

1m

Min

1m

5 years to reach maturity

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

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Garden Rhubarb Overview

Rheum × hybridum is a hardy, herbaceous perennial that grows from rhizomes, from the Polygonaceae family. Commonly known by the names Garden Rhubarb or Rhubarb, amongst others. Rhubarb is an easy to grow, very low maintenance plant, but will produce better crops if given a little care. The bright stems are a colourful addition to any vegetable patch and they can produce a crop for many years. Grow in full sun for the best results, it can also cope with some light shade and typically exceeds 1m in height and spread. The edible stems are often between 30-40cm in length, starting off light pink, turning to red and eventually green. Well-draining, moist soil is best and provide plenty of space for Rhubarb to grow. It may struggle on particularly alkaline or acid soils, a neutral pH is best. This hybrid plant has a long history of cultivation, with both medicinal and culinary uses. Many cultivars now grown for the bright, edible stems have been developed from this plant. The edible stems may be consumed raw or cooked, often in sweet dishes. The leaves are large, roughly textured, broadly triangular and inedible due to high levels of oxalic acid and anthrone glycosides. Flowers are cream-green pinkish in colour, produced above the foliage in panicle arrangements. If growing for the stems, its best to remove the flowers as they start to form as flowers take energy from other growth, decreasing the potential leaf and stem production.

Common problems with Garden Rhubarb

How to harvest Garden Rhubarb

Depending on growing method, forced stems can be taken from December onwards, outdoor plants from April.

How to propagate Garden Rhubarb

Division

Lift crowns in autumn or spring, divide the rhizome into section with each containing a portion of the thick fleshy root & a growing point. Discard the old centre and any decayed parts. Replant straight away.

Special features of Garden Rhubarb

Attractive leaves

Crop rotation

Other uses of Garden Rhubarb

Traditionally grown in the vegetable or kitchen garden it can also be included in mixed borders to provide alternative & attractive foliage cover.

Cullinary

Used to flavour food and drinks.