Dividing and Plant Care/ Free Gardening Tips/ Fruits Herbs and Veggies

How to Start and Care for a Rhubarb Plant

How to Start and Care for a Rhubarb Plant

How to Start and Care for a Rhubarb Plant

I received a question via e-mail from a fellow gardener asking general questions about starting Rhubarb plants. I answered his questions back via e-mail and decided to share the information on the site too.

If this is the first year you planted your rhubarb do not harvest the rhubarb stalks. The plant will need time to develop the root system. If you harvest the first year, the plant will not grow well.

 

 

Rhubarb Plant


Seed Stalks

Rhubarb sends up stalks that have seeds / flowers, the stalks are hollow inside. It can be several times a year that your plants will shoot up seed stalks.

 

Seedhead from Rhubarb

 

That is perfectly normal. For the first year, as you see the stalks leave them grow. If you have removed the seed head stalks, no problem, you did no harm to the plant yet. Just let the next one grow.


Watering

Make sure that you keep the soil moist by watering the plant at the root base very well for the first season. Don’t overhead water. For the first year don’t fertilize the plant either. You can mulch the plant to retain water with grass clippings, wood chips or mulch.


Fertilizing

Next year (year two) in the spring, you will see red bulbs emerging from the soil. That is the start of the leaves and stalks. It will look rather funny. This is when you will need to fertilize the plant.

Miracle-Grow All Purpose Plant Food

You can use a 10-10-10 fertlizer, Miracle-Grow All Purpose Plant Food (I follow directions on package for a gallon of water) or use well rotted mature. I would not use granular fertilizer direct on the ground because it has a way of burning your plant. I have never fertilized my plants after the second year.

If you follow my instructions for the first two years, you will have plenty of rhubarb to make up for the waiting and establishing of your plants.


When Can You Pick Rhubarb?

The year after you plant rhubarb (2nd year), you can harvest 3-4 stalks. First year you plant, the plant is still developing its root system, and yields in future years will be greatly reduced if you harvest too much. After the plant has been in the ground a couple of years you can harvest your rhubarb normally (never more than 25 percent at one picking, even when well established).

 

Rhubarb Plant

The first month to six weeks the stalks are tender. The stalks are good for using in pies, tortes etc. The last 3-6 weeks, the stems are better suited for jams and sauces.

Rhubarb can be picked when the stalks reach 12 inches in length. The thickness of the stalk doesn’t matter.

Your second year and every year following. Remove the seed heads and flowers up until mid summer to early fall. If you do not, it is NOT going to hurt your plant. It will only leave you a shorter harvesting period. The stalks get woody, even when faithfully picked. It is best to give the plant a few weeks of time before going into winter to grow a seed / flower stalk. This makes the plant stronger. If I am finished harvesting for the growing season I just leave the entire plant alone. I never remove the leaves.


Winter Care

For winter, spread grass clippings, leaves or 3-4 inches on mulch over the crown of the plants to protect the crowns from harsh winter weather if you live in a cold climate. Remember mulching adds nutrients to the soil.

Hope this gives you a good idea on how to grow your rhubarb. Pretty soon, you will be enjoying a plentiful crop.

Additional Posts that May Interest You:
How to collect seeds from rhubarb

How to plant your rhubarb seeds to grow new plants
Testing soil for lead
Planting horseradish

 

Happy Gardening!!

Nikki

Facebook Comments

23 thoughts on “How to Start and Care for a Rhubarb Plant

  1. Great goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are
    just too magnificent. I really like what you have acquired here, really like what you’re saying and
    the way in which you say it. You make it enjoyable and you
    still take care of to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read much more from you.

    This is really a great web site.

  2. Hi there to all, how is the whole thing, I think every one is getting
    more from this website, and your views are fastidious in support of new
    people.

  3. I needed to thank you for this very good read!! I absolutely loved every
    little bit of it. I’ve got you book-marked to look at new things you
    post…

  4. I like what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and reporting!

    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve you guys to my blogroll.

  5. What you typed was actually very reasonable. However, what about this?
    what if you wrote a catchier title? I am not saying your information isn’t solid., however what if you
    added a post title to maybe get folk’s attention? I mean How to Start and Care for a Rhubarb Plant | Weed It &
    Reap! is kinda vanilla. You might peek at Yahoo’s home page and see
    how they create article headlines to get viewers to
    click. You might add a related video or a related picture or two
    to grab people excited about everything’ve written. Just my opinion, it would make
    your website a little livelier.

  6. I’m really loving the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?
    A handful of my blog audience have complained about my blog not
    operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.
    Do you have any ideas to help fix this issue?

  7. What i don’t understood is if truth be told how you are
    not really a lot more well-favored than you may be
    now. You are so intelligent. You realize thus considerably relating to this matter, produced me personally imagine
    it from a lot of numerous angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be involved except it’s one thing
    to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs great.
    At all times take care of it up!

  8. What i don’t realize is in fact how you are not really much more neatly-appreciated than you might be now.
    You’re so intelligent. You realize therefore considerably relating to this
    topic, produced me for my part believe it from a lot of various angles.
    Its like women and men don’t seem to be fascinated unless it’s one thing
    to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs excellent.
    At all times take care of it up!

  9. Definitely believe that that you stated. Your favourite reason appeared to
    be at the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly
    get annoyed while people consider concerns that they just do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the highest as
    neatly as outlined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other folks can take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thank you

  10. Merely a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding pattern. “Justice is always violent to the party offending, for every man is innocent in his own eyes.” by Daniel Defoe.

  11. Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to understand a lot about this, such as you wrote the book in it or something.

    I feel that you could do with some percent
    to pressure the message house a little bit, but instead of that, that is magnificent blog.
    An excellent read. I’ll certainly be back.

  12. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started
    and set up my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  13. You are so interesting! I do not think I have read through a single thing like this before.
    So wonderful to discover somebody with a few
    unique thoughts on this issue. Really.. many thanks for
    starting this up. This site is something that is required on the internet, someone with a little originality!

  14. Hello there! I simply wish to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent info you’ve got here
    on this post. I will be coming back to your website for more soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.