How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Rhubarb Plants

Updated on August 30, 2018
viking305 profile image

L.M.Reid is an Irish writer who has published many articles. She is a keen gardener with plenty of experience.

How To Grow Rhubarb
How To Grow Rhubarb | Source

How to Grow Rhubarb in Pots

I'll share with you all you need to know about planting, growing and harvesting rhubarb. Once you have prepared the garden or pot properly, the same plants will give you a harvest every year for up to ten years. This makes growing rhubarb well worth the effort of finding a space for it even if you have a small garden.

Where to Plant

If you have a small garden area for growing vegetables then every bit of it is precious. Most vegetables and fruit need full sunlight to grow to its best. Rhubarb can tolerate a partially shaded area if need be. It does not like hot sun and grows better in a cooler area.

You will want to leave these plants in the same place for at least ten years so some planning is needed. I have two raised beds at the end of my small garden for growing vegetables and fruit. At the end of the far bed, I have a mound of soil I turned into a raised rockery.

I have a tree which is being trained against the wall and flowers in the front. The remainder of this mound is where I planted my rhubarb. It grows there every year and does not interfere with my other crops. The soil the rhubarb will be growing in is most important to get right. It needs to be well drained and fertile..

So dig the planting area well and add compost and manure a few weeks before you plant if possible. Remove all the roots from any weeds that have established in this new growing area before you plant.

Mulch the Rhubarb
Mulch the Rhubarb | Source

Crowns

You can get seeds which is normally what I buy when planting most of my vegetables but not for Rhubarb. It is cheaper of course but not worth the two year wait for harvesting. Buy some established one year old plants at the garden centre or store. These are called Crowns or in some countries Budded Pieces. They are usually very cheap.

Planting the Crowns

  1. The best time to buy and plant rhubarb is in early spring which is March here in Ireland.
  2. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate each plant allowing enough depth for it to be about one inch below the surface.
  3. Add the soil in and around the crown and press down firmly.
  4. Water well.
  5. The leaves grow very large so make sure you leave at least thirty six inches between each plant.
  6. Add straw or other mulch around the plants. This will retain moisture and keep down the weeds.
  7. When you see flower heads appear you should remove these by dead heading them immediately..
  8. They will take away energy needed to grow the rhubarb stalks.
  9. Water well but do not have the soil soggy. The leaves will grow large with the stalks growing longer and thicker.

Rhubarb in my Garden
Rhubarb in my Garden | Source

When and How to Harvest

You should harvest in late April here in Ireland, so about six to eight weeks after the spring in your own country.

  1. Pick the stalks when they are about fourteen inches long and quite wide.
  2. Go to the base of the stem and twist it gently. It will come away in your hand easily.
  3. Always leave two or three stalks on each plant as this will encourage more to grow.
  4. Each rhubarb plant will produce new firm juicy stalks for up to twelve to fifteen weeks
  5. You will know when the plant has finished when the stalks remain thin.
  6. Take these off as your last crop.

Stalks of Rhubarb Sticks
Stalks of Rhubarb Sticks | Source

Looking After the Plants After Harvest

  1. Allow the remaining leaves to die off on the plants.
  2. Come the autumn it is time to tidy up the rhubarb patch.
  3. Pull off all dead leaves and debris around the plants.
  4. Clear away the old mulch and add compost and new straw or other covering around each plant.
  5. Do not cover the Crowns or they will rot.
  6. Leave over the winter to settle down and feed off the compost ready for next years growth.

Looking After Your Rhubarb Patch

You should be able to enjoy picking rhubarb for at least five to six years from the Crowns you planted. In order to continue getting a good harvest from the plants you need to divide after this time.

Dividing Crowns

You do this in the autumn when they are dormant and it is less traumatic for the plants.

  1. Lift up each crown with a spade out of the soil completely.
  2. Using the spade split each crown into pieces with each one having its own bud or eye.
  3. Replant these back into your growing area making sure to leave enough room between each.
  4. Cover the Crown with about an inch of soil and leave until spring when they will grow again.
  5. By doing this you not only increase your plants but you also give new vigor and energy into them.

Do you have Rhubarb growing in your garden

See results

Rhubarb Pie Recipe

Questions & Answers

  • Can you grow rhubarb in a container?

    Yes, and very successfully so if planted in a large pot.

  • When do you transplant rhubarb plants?

    You can transplant the rhubarb in early Spring before growth starts, or in September or October, depending on when your growing season has ended.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      12 months ago from Ireland

      Hello Roberta, Make sure the crowns are above the soil and they will grow fine

    • profile image

      Roberta Voznek 

      12 months ago

      I am anxious to try again at planting. I was planting too deep.

    • viking305 profile imageAUTHOR

      L M Reid 

      4 years ago from Ireland

      Yes Rhubarb is a vegetable that is easy to grow and it is great to be able to pick a few stalks and cook them straight away.

      Hope you enjoy the pie or crumble healthymeals.

    • healthy meals profile image

      healthy meals 

      4 years ago from Europe

      I planted my first Rhubarb plant last year and it was a great success. I was really happy to see it coming back to life a few weeks ago. I have already picked up my first "Rhubarb harvest" for this year and found your hub looking for a Rhubarb recipe, which I will be trying.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://dengarden.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)