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A picture of a Rhubarb

Rhubarb

Rheum rhabarbarum

Also known as

Garden Rhubarb, Pieplant, Wine-Plant

Rheum.rhabarbarum.2515 by Chris.urs-o (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Frost Hardy

3a

USDA zone

-40°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

Max

90cm

Min

60cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Rhubarb

A photo of Rhubarb
A photo of Rhubarb
A photo of Rhubarb
A photo of Rhubarb
A photo of Rhubarb

Rhubarb Overview

Rheum rhabarbarum is a hardy, herbaceous perennial that grows from rhizomes, from the Polygonaceae family. Commonly known by the names Rhubarb or Garden 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. 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. Originating from Siberia to China, this 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 hybridisation with this wild ancestor. 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 Rhubarb

Rhubarb can be bothered by rhubarb curculio, which is a weevil. Damage will mainly be visible on the leaves and stalks, with feeding holes and egg-laying sites. Rhubarb may also be affected by crown rot which occurs when there is poor soil drainage.

    Rhubarb Companion Plants

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    Allium

    Allium spp.

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    Cabbage

    Brassica oleracea (Capitata Group) 'Cabbages'

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    Broccoli

    Brassica oleracea var. italica (Italica Group)

    How to harvest Rhubarb

    Harvest once the plant is at least 2 years old and when stalks are about 2,5 cm wide and 30-45 cm tall. Remove stalks with a pull-and-twist action or cut at the base and throw away the leaves. Remove flowers to keep the plant vigorous. If the stalks become thin, stop harvesting.

    How to propagate Rhubarb

    Seed

    Sow seeds in spring or autumn, 1 cm deep and 1 m apart.

    Rhizomes

    Plant crowns or budded ‘pieces’ so that the top of the crown is 3 cm deep, with 75-90 cm between plants. Divide every 5-10 years in early spring or autumn.

    Division

    Division.

    Special features of Rhubarb

    Crop rotation

    Rhubarb is a heavy feeder and needs nutrients added.

    Pot plant

    Rhubarb can successfully be planted in containers if they are large enough, at least 60 cm wide and deep.

    Attractive flowers

    Buds can be a bright red before they burst.

    Other uses of Rhubarb

    Culinary

    Medicinal

    Edible

    The long fleshy edible stalks are crisp when raw with a strong, tart taste. The stalks can be cooked with sugar and used in pies, savoury dishes, crumbles, and other desserts or pickled.

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