Are there tricks to growing rhubarb?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by DW, Mar 27, 2005.

  1. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    plains of Colorado
    At our other farm we had great rhubarb but I don't seem to be doing so well here. It has never gotten very big. I'm going to transplant this year and see if I have any better luck with a small bed away from other plants/trees. Any suggestions?
  2. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2002
    I am told that we can't grow rubbarb here in zone 6. Too warm. My rubbarb can't read so doesn't know that so it grows great! It doesn't turn red. Stays green but tastes wonderful and I didn't think I liked rubbarb.
    I have very rich garden soil as I use the deep mulch system and have for several years. My garden is well drained but doesn't dry out. I did kill two of my four plants this year because I saw them comming up and thought it was too soon so I covered them with mulch. Those two never did come on up but the other two did. It really needed thinned anyway so I guess that is what I did. It was the middle two that I killed off and now my two remaining plants are about three ft apart. Lots of spreading room which they need. I don't do a thing to them except put another good layer of compost on them mid winter. We cut the bigger stems to eat all summer and fall. I never take more than a third of the plant. There are always new shoots looking for room that say thank you when I take out the big guys.
    If you are south of zone 6 that might be your problem or if you are north then maybe you have too much shade, not rich enough soil or to acid a soil.
    Mine grows in the garden right out in the full sun. :)

  3. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Sep 19, 2004
    During some construction around the house there was rhubarb so it was dug out with deep roots and transplanted to another location that was sunny and well drained. It produces to this day and grows well.
    You might try amending the soil with bone meal and wood ashes or some lime perhaps to boost up the alkalinity which Rhubarb seems to prefer. Good compost around the base wouldn't hurt either.
  4. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    The Quiet Corner of CT
    Our rhubarn plant was run over by a dump truck...I think it liked it!! :haha: :haha:
  5. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Jun 16, 2002
    South Central Kansas
    Rhubarb is a heavy feeder, so make sure it has plenty of nutrients as has been pointed out.

    Corky, not all rhubarb varieties have red, so that may be why it has never turned red.
  6. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 6, 2003
    The year I put three rhubarb crowns into their own bed they did very poorly. I was going to give up completely, but the MIL put a crown into my Easter basket a couple of years ago. In my hurry to get it in the dirt, I plopped it down in the border, about 4 feet away from the apple tree, right in the middle of a bare spot in between the profusion of day lilies.

    Dang thing took off like nobody's business! I have not done anything other than make sure it doesn't get run over with the lawn mower, but that plant is bushy and full and shot up a seed stalk early last year (I did remove that, of course).

    So, to me, rhubarb is mystical. I just leave it alone (within reason) and it gives me lovely, tart rhubarb when it wants to. :haha:

    The in-laws planted lots of crowns tightly (<12" apart) on top of a pile of manure. It's doing alright, but not as good as mine.

    Good luck with yours!

  7. Sara in IN

    Sara in IN Well-Known Member

    Apr 1, 2003
    Manure, well rotted if pig, cow or horse or a bucket of bunny balls, water well. The trick is to get the rhubarb to grow big enough and fast enough that it shades out the weeds and grass. When it's big, the cats and dog like it hide under its shade, which also helps keep down the weeds.