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Rhubarb - Care, Plant and Divide(continued - page 2)

How  To Plant Rhubarb
Rhubarb is normally sold in garden centres as one year old plants (known as 'crowns') of a particular variety. Rhubarb five years or more old can be lifted and split into three or more 'crowns' - see the later section on 'how to divide rhubarb'. Both types should be planted in the same manner.

rhubarb diagramPrepare the soil as described previously, and dig a hole a little bit wider than the plant. The depth should be such that the top of the plant is 2.5cm (1in) below the soil surface (see the diagram on the left). Fill in around the plant with soil, gently firming it down to ensure no air pockets remain. Water well if the conditions are dry. Spread a mulch (garden compost or other well-rotted organic material) around the plants, but not directly above where the crown will emerge in a month or so.

Three plants should be sufficient to meet most needs - the spacing between plants should be about 75cm (2ft 6in) for varieties such as Cawood Delight, Victoria, Ruby and Canada Red. However, some varieties such as 'The Sutton' need a spacing of about 1.2m (4ft) - ask at your Garden Centre when buying any other varieties.

Care of Rhubarb
Rhubarb require very little care, but if you give them that care they will produce much finer stalks than neglected plants.

Every year after the leaves have died down, spread a new layer of garden compost or other well-rotted organic material around (but not touching the plants. This will conserve water and prevent weeds. In dry periods (normally only summer) give the plants a good watering, although this should only be required occasionally. In February , sprinkle a handful of general fertiliser (Growmore is fine) around the plants. Remove any weeds as they appear.

The seeds are the yellow 'flower heads' at the top.
Click picture to enlarge

The only other attention required is to cut off flower heads which may appear in early spring as the new rhubarb stalks emerge. Do this as soon as possible - if the flower head is left to grow and set seed, the plant will never fully recover to good strength. See the diagrams above.

Divide Rhubarb
Rhubarb which is five years old or more can be dug up and split into three or four separate plants. Click the link below to see pictures and advice on how to divide rhubarb.

Rhubarb Home Page

Name: jim@GardenAction
Date posted: December 03, 2011 - 10:30 pm
Message: Hello Ron
You have it! Don't harvest the first year. Let them settle in and develop roots.

Name: Ron Alexander
Date posted: December 02, 2011 - 12:19 pm
Message: In June or July I transplanted second year plants from my son's garden where they did not do well into my allotment where they seem to have done great.

I understand that I should not harvest and use the rhubarb this year. Please confirm? Do I cut the rhubarb in any case or leave untouche?

Thank you

Name: jim powell
E-mail: Private
Date posted: October 17, 2011 - 03:49 am
Message: Rhubarb are herbaceous perennials and will sprout and grow if provided with the right growing conditions. They should die back after the first killing frost and grow again in spring.

Name: kevin
Date posted: October 15, 2011 - 02:16 am
Message: I planted three crowns last december, had a wonderful crop, pulled 1/3 from each.
I now see young stalks coming through? should this happen..Kevin

Name: Adrian
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 14, 2011 - 06:36 am
Message: Rhubarb leaves is it possible to compost them?

Name: Sarah
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 10, 2011 - 06:07 am
Message: Hi,

I planted some rhubarb seeds in March and have now got around 12 plants.The leaves are quite large and te stalks are looking well. I'm just not sure what to do next? I have been told to wait until next year to harvest any but my dad thinks that some will be ready now? I have managed to stop him so far... I weed them and have protected them from the wind etc.. but do I need to do anything more for now?
I would really appreciate some advice as this is my first year growing my own fruit and veg.



Name: Linda Rice
E-mail: Private
Date posted: September 05, 2011 - 09:00 pm
Message: We have some thing eating the leaves of our rhubarb. We have spotted a white caterpillar once and killed it but the leaves continue to be attqcked , even the new leaves sprouting up.

Any suggestions.



Name: LES
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 10, 2011 - 04:00 am
Message: My rhubarb stalks don't seem to turn red, what should I do to rectify this?.
Many thanks.

Name: Ginny
E-mail: Private
Date posted: August 09, 2011 - 06:34 pm
Message: I too am finished with my rhubarb for this year. Should I cut the leaves off at the ground, pull them out or just leave it until it frosts???? Thanks

Name: Kristy
E-mail: Private
Date posted: July 20, 2011 - 07:43 pm
Message: I'm finished with my rhubarb for this year. Should I cut the leaves off at the ground, pull them out or just leave it until it frosts???? Thanks

Name: Sandy
Date posted: July 05, 2011 - 06:13 pm
Message: I recently moved to a new house, and the rhubarb plant is really big--I don't need any rhubarb this year, but would like somr for next year. Can I cut off what is there, or leave it for next year

Name: mark byrne
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 23, 2011 - 01:29 pm
Message: i have two rhubarb plants that i put into large pots and they have done very wellthe stalks have red at the bottom of the stalks but green on the rest of the stalks is it ok to eat the rhubarb or wait till next year i have only planted them in march

Name: john murray
E-mail: Private
Date posted: June 15, 2011 - 05:28 pm
Message: this my first time planting rhubarb have heard that the best way is to plant into a large tub,and not into the earth can you tell me that this way is ok.

Name: Graham
Date posted: June 11, 2011 - 04:28 am
Message: I planted two rhubarb plants in March and they have grown very well but I was told not to eat the rhubarb the first year. Do I just leave the stems to wither and die or do I pick them and discard them.

Name: Sometime gardner
E-mail: rick
Date posted: June 04, 2011 - 01:37 pm
Message: I'd recommend duct tape to patch those holes. Once done, you should be good to go! Oh, and don't eat the leaves afterwards, as duct tape is poisonous.

Name: Kathy Bizal
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 29, 2011 - 10:01 am
Message: We had 15 minutes of hail raining yesterday. Pea size to marble size. My rhubarb leaves looks like swiss cheese. Any advice?

Name: randy
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 24, 2011 - 07:59 pm
Message: i planted 3 ruhbarb plants in the spring of 2010, only 1 plant has largely emerged and other 2 are very small-- i'm a frist time grower or new at this u might say at trying to grow ruhbarb which i love to eat raw peeled, with salt--yum-yum. i had to cut flower heads off my 1 large plant,but not sure if done properly?? any other advice greatly appreciated

Name: allan
E-mail: Private
Date posted: May 13, 2011 - 12:26 pm
Message: why are all my ruhbarb stacks very long and very thin?

Date posted: May 10, 2011 - 08:35 am
Message: I planted my rhubarb crowns in March this year in big pots as told by the garden shop, nothing has happened.I'm not very good at this as I've just moved back from Cyprus.

Name: michael
Date posted: May 04, 2011 - 02:55 am
Message: hi iv got a rhubarb that went in to the grand this year i it look like it was going send a flower up wen i cut it off i do not think it was a flower i think it was a tip of a new stalk will my rhubarb be o k as im just lening