How to Plant and Grow Rhubarb: The Definitive Guide

Rhubarb is a vegetable that is typically prepared and consumed in the same manner as fruits, and then transformed into jellies, jams, and pies, among other things.

It is a cold-season crop that is perennial in many areas, and it is grown to produce fibrous leaves that make a delicious tart-like treat.

Furthermore, rhubarb has the potential to be a stunning ornamental plant due to its large leaf with texture and large stems.

Rhubarb plants are generally hardy and long-lived. Certain varieties, on the other hand, can live for up to 20 years.

Common Name Rhubarb
Botanical Name Rheum rhabarbarum or Rheum × hybridum
Family Polygonaceae
Plant Type Vegetable, perennial
Size 2-3 ft. tall; 3-4 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial sun
Soil Type Moist, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic, neutral (6.0-7.0)
Bloom Time Spring, summer
Hardiness Zones 3-8 (USDA)
Native Area Asia
Toxicity Leaves are toxic to people and pets1

Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy

  • To ensure that your rhubarb plants remain healthy, it is important to keep them free of debris and weeds. Furthermore, you should water them regularly and fertilize them every year.
  • Additionally, it is important to mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and keep the roots cool in the summer.
  • Finally, be sure to cut off any flower stalks that appear, as these can take away from the plant’s energy.
  • With proper care, your rhubarb plants will provide you with years of deliciousness!

Lighting and Temperature

Rhubarb grows best in full sun, but it will tolerate partial shade. It prefers cool temperatures and will go dormant below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in an area with hot summers, plant your rhubarb in a spot that gets afternoon shade to protect the leaves from scorching.


Rhubarb grows best in a deep, rich soil that is high in organic matter. The ideal pH range for rhubarb is between.

Plant rhubarb in full sun for the best growth and yield, although it will tolerate some shade.


While rhubarb plants are generally hardy, they still need some help to produce those tasty stems. Fertilize your rhubarb plant in the spring with a balanced fertilizer like Miracle.

All Purpose Plant Food, which will give it the nutrients it needs to grow. You can also add compost or manure to the soil around the plant.


Pruning is essential to the growth of a healthy rhubarb plant. The plant should be cut back to the ground in late fall or early winter.

This will encourage new growth in the spring. Be sure to remove any dead leaves or stems from the plant as well.


Watering is critical to the success of your rhubarb patch. The plants are deep-rooted, so they need a lot of water.

Water them deeply and regularly, especially during hot, dry weather. Mulching will help retain moisture in the soil.


When it comes to planting rhubarb, the general rule of thumb is to space crowns about four feet apart in full sun.

This will give each plant room to grow and spread out. If you’re growing more than one variety of rhubarb, make sure to space them even further apart to avoid cross-pollination.


Flowering occurs in midsummer, and the flowers are typically greenish-white. After blooming, the plant produces long, fleshy roots that are reddish in color.

The leaves of the rhubarb plant are large and lobed, and they grow to be about two feet in length.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Rhubarb is a popular spring and summertime fruit that is used in pies, jams, and other sweet treats. However, this tart fruit is actually a vegetable, and it is susceptible to a number of diseases and pests.

One of the most common problems faced by rhubarb plants is crown rot, which is caused by wet and poorly drained soils.

Leaf spots are another common issue, and while they can affect the plant’s appearance, they don’t usually interfere with the harvest. Rhubarb plants can also be infested with stalk borers, beetles, and rhubarb curculio.

These pests can be controlled with chemical or organic pesticides, but it’s important to follow the label instructions carefully when using these products on edible plants.

To reduce the risk of infestation, keep the area around the plant clear of debris.

Propagating Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a versatile plant that can be used in pies, jams, and even cocktails. It is also relatively easy to propagate, making it a great choice for anyone interested in starting their own garden.

Rhubarb is best propagated by division, and this can be done in the spring or fall. However, spring is generally the best time to divide rhubarb plants, as they are emerging from dormancy and forming new roots.

To keep plants robust and healthy, it is advisable to divide them five times per year. When the plant begins to produce thin stalks, this is an indication that it is time to divide.

The process is relatively simple: first, take the plant apart and try to keep the roots as healthy as possible. Next, split the crown into two pieces about two inches across, making sure that each piece has roots attached.

Finally, place the pieces at least four feet apart (or in totally different locations) and water the area thoroughly.

By following these steps, you will be well on your way to propagating your own rhubarb plants.

Types of Rhubarb

There are numerous rhubarb varieties, each with unique characteristics that make it appealing to grow. Here are a few of the most popular types:

Victoria: Due to its tender and mild stalks, this is a popular rhubarb-based variety for cooking.

Valentine This crop is resistant to weather changes and illnesses.

Crimson Cherry: This type of cherry is well-known for its sweet taste.

Canada Red: This plant is ideal for colder climates. It contains more sugar than most rhubarb varieties.

All of these varieties have different uses and growing conditions, so be sure to do your research before planting!

No matter which type you choose, you’re sure to enjoy the delicious taste of fresh rhubarb.

What is the best way to plant rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a hardy plant that can withstand cold temperatures, making it an ideal choice for gardeners in northern climates.

Rhubarb begins to grow in early spring, and its large leaves are often the first sign of life in a dormant garden.

When planting rhubarb, gardeners should choose a location that receives full sun and has well-drained soil.

Rhubarb plants should be spaced 4 to 6 feet apart, as they will spread over time. Once rhubarb is established, it will produce fruit for up to eight years.

After that period of time, the plant will begin to decline and should be replaced. By following these simple guidelines, gardeners can enjoy fresh rhubarb for many years to come.

Where does rhubarb grow the best?

Rhubarb is a perennial plant that is most commonly grown in regions with cold winters.

This is because the plant requires a prolonged cooling period in order to grow the thick, fleshy stems that are prized by cooks and bakers.

Rhubarb typically grows best in zones 3-7, though it can also be successfully grown in warmer climates if the proper precautions are taken.

When planting rhubarb, gardeners should make sure to choose a spot that receives full sun and has well-drained soil.

With proper care, rhubarb plants can thrive for many years, providing an abundance of tart, flavorful stems for pies, jams, and other delicious treats.

Is it better to cut or pull rhubarb?

Although most gardeners harvest rhubarb by cutting off the petioles using an incredibly sharp knife or pruning shears, it is simpler and more efficient to pick it with a twist.

When you harvest with a knife, you leave some rhubarb stalks stubs left in the ground. The stubs start to decay, and this rot could extend to the plant’s crowns particularly in rainy springs.

If you pull up the entire stalk, on the other hand, you can avoid this issue altogether. In addition, pulling up the stalk ensures that you get all of the edible portions of the plant.

So, if you’re looking for the simplest and most efficient way to harvest your rhubarb, pulling is the way to go.

Where is the best place to plant rhubarb plants?

Rhubarb plants thrive in full sun, and they need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day to produce a good crop.

If you live in an area with hot summers, it’s best to plant rhubarb in a location that receives morning sun and afternoon shade.

When choosing a spot to plant rhubarb, make sure it is in well-drained soil. Rhubarb plants are very sensitive to wet conditions, and they will quickly rot if the soil is too moist.

Once you’ve found a suitable location, dig a hole that is large enough to accommodate the roots of the plant.

Set the plant in the hole so that the crown is level with the surrounding soil, and then backfill the hole with shovelfuls of soil.

Water the plant deeply after planting, and continue to water it regularly throughout the growing season. With a little care, your rhubarb plants will provide you with many years of delicious crops.

Where should I plant rhubarb in my garden?

Rhubarb is best planted in full sunshine. Avoid shady sites near large trees or shrubs, as these areas will not provide enough sunlight for the plant to thrive.

Rhubarb requires well-drained soils that are rich in organic matter.

Clay and sandy soils can be improved by mixing massive amounts of compost or other forms of organic matter into the soil prior to planting.

Once you have chosen an appropriate location and prepared the soil, you are ready to plant your rhubarb.

Plant the crowns (the root system with the buds) about 2 feet apart, and cover them with 1-2 inches of soil.

Be sure to water the plants thoroughly after planting, and then keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.

With proper care, your rhubarb will thrive and provide you with an abundance of delicious, tart stalks.

What climate does rhubarb like?

Rhubarb is a perennial plant that requires cooler temperatures to thrive. It prefers a climate where the ground freezes in winter and there is an extended period of chilling temperatures (less than 40 degrees F) in order to grow an annual crop in spring.

Rhubarb is typically planted in zone 7 or farther south, as these are the areas that best mimic its ideal growing conditions. With proper care, rhubarb plants can produce flavorful stalks for many years.

What can I put on my rhubarb to make it grow?

Gardeners have been growing rhubarb for centuries, and it is prized for its tart flavor and versatility in the kitchen. If you are thinking about growing rhubarb, there are a few things you should know in order to ensure a bountiful harvest.

First, be sure to fertilize your plants in the early spring with an all-purpose garden fertilizer. A half cup of 10-10-10 per plant is a good amount.

Second, stop harvesting rhubarb in mid-June; this will allow the plant to put all its energy into growth.

Finally, water your rhubarb plants once a week during dry times; too much or too little water can both have negative effects on the plants.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy fresh, homegrown rhubarb for many years to come.

What helps rhubarb grow?

Rhubarb is a hardy plant that can withstand cold weather and frost, but it does need some help to grow properly.

The soil in which it is planted should be amended with compost or other organic matter to help it retain moisture and nutrients.

Additionally, mulch should be applied during hot weather to keep the soil moist and prevent weed growth. Rhubarb also needs to be watered regularly, as the plant is susceptible to drought.

However, care should be taken not to over-water, as this can lead to root rot. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your rhubarb plant will thrive.

What month is best to plant rhubarb?

Rhubarb is best planted in the spring or fall, when the soil is moist and warm. If you’re planting rhubarb crowns, look for a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil.

Rhubarb prefers a slightly acidic soil, so if your soil is neutral or alkaline, you may need to add some sulfur to the area before planting.

To plant, dig a hole that’s twice the width of the root ball and just as deep.

Gently loosen the roots and place the plant in the hole, making sure that the crown (the point where the leaves emerge) is level with the soil surface.

Backfill the hole, water well, and mulch around the plant to help keep the roots cool and moist.

Can rhubarb growing in hot climates?

Rhubarb is usually considered a cool weather crop, but with a little care, it can be successfully grown in hot climates as well.

The key is to shift your perspective; rather than trying to grow rhubarb as an annual, treat it as a perennial.

In regions of southern Europe, rhubarb crowns (dormant roots) can be planted directly in the ground.

However, if you’re starting from seed, it’s best to sow them indoors first and stratify them for two weeks prior to planting.

With proper care, rhubarb plants will thrive in hot climates and produce delicious stalks for pie-making all season long.

Jessica Miles

Jessica Miles is a writer for Botanique Boutique, a plant and gardening blog. She has always loved plants, flowers, and anything green. When she was younger, she used to watch her grandfather garden and would be in awe of the beautiful flowers he would grow. Now Jessica writes about all things related to plants and gardening - from beginner tips on how to start growing your own plants, to in-depth guides on caring for a specific type of flower or plant. She loves helping others learn about this fascinating hobby, and hopes that her writing will inspire people to get outside and enjoy nature!

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