Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Rhubarb

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                    P P

(Best months for growing Rhubarb in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Plant crowns

  • Easy to grow. Plant pieces of rhizome or roots 8 - 10 cm (3 - 4 in.) deep. Best planted at soil temperatures between 41°F and 68°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 35 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 1 years. You will have a stronger plant if you leave it for about a year before using..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Brassicas (Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc)
  • Young rhubarb
    Young rhubarb

Rhubarb is easy to grow in cool climates and is a perennial. Rhubarb can be left in the ground and will return a crop for many years, at least 10 to 15 years (We have one that is more than 20 yrs old). Rhubarb is quite a hardy crop but the crown will rot if in heavy wet clay soils. It can cope with dry periods. Plant in good soil and remove as many weeds as possible. Do not disturb rhubarb roots when cultivating round the plant. Better in cooler climates, but can be grown in shady areas of warm climates. You can lift and divide rhubarb to make more plants . It is best to do this when the plant is dormant ( or at least less actively growing) in winter or late autumn. It is best to wait until a plant is about 5 years old before dividing the crown but it can be moved at any age. Some of the root structure will be damaged when lifting it, so stalk production will not be so good for a few months. If you have mild winters and your rhubarb is still producing new stalks, you can continue to pick it. Although rhubarb is used in desserts and jams, it is considered a vegetable because the stalks are used not the fruit.

NB Do not eat the leaves or roots as they contain oxalic acid which is poisonous. They should not be fed to poultry or stock either.

Remove flower stalks as they appear as the plant will stop producing leaf stalks when flowering.

Rhubarb can be 'forced' by covering dormant crowns with clay pots or a cloche in early spring.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Rhubarb

Pick stems about the thickness of your finger. Large stems will have tough 'strings' down the length of them.
Use in pies, crumbles, fools and jams. Rhubarb goes well with orange.
Will usually need sweetener.

Your comments and tips

20 Nov 17, barb (Australia - temperate climate)
My Sister always put a red jelly into rhubarb (once it was cooked) this provides sugar and colour but not used to set it.
20 Nov 17, barb (Australia - temperate climate)
when is the picking season in south aust?
23 Nov 17, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Did you read the notes here about Rhubarb?. Plants Sept Oct and harvest in a years time.
24 Oct 17, Adriana Cooper (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Like Karen my stems are green can you still eat them, when do the go red? My plants are very healthy and have very good stems.
23 Oct 17, Karen (Australia - temperate climate)
My rhubarb has mostly green stalks. I have had it about 3 yrs and it is probably older. Why? Is it a different variety?
24 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You could have a variety like Victoria or Green Victoria, Check "New Life Seeds" - "Boondie Seeds" - " Seed Collection Company" on the net - will show you the different varieties. "Rhubarb Crimson" seems to be more redder.
15 Oct 17, Lexi (Australia - temperate climate)
I live in Glasshouse, Qld. I have one rhubard planted in a tyre. It was quite small when I bought it about three months ago. It is now absolutely flourishing with stalks over a foot long. My question is this... If I can't eat the stalks for the first year what do I do, prune and discard or just leave it alone?
15 Oct 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Maybe pick some - say half. My mother grew it when I was young. Last year I picked asparagus for 6 weeks and I feel I could have picked it for 3 mths.
17 Sep 17, Julie (Australia - temperate climate)
I have been growing one rhubarb crown in a pot for 12 months. The stalks are very thin but tasty. Just bought a much bigger pot & some compost to replant it into. Should I put the pot up on bricks like my lemon tree or just on the ground?
23 Sep 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
In a pot it requires more care and attention. Good soil and a regular fertilizing to produce good stalks. I don't think it really matters if it is raised or not.
Showing 1 - 10 of 356 comments

Post a question, comment or tip about Rhubarb

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply


All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Buy the app for iPhone/iPod, iPad or Android and support GardenGrow

Planting reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on GardenGrow. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About GardenGrow | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.