How to Grow Rhubarb

Cooked rhubarb can be a delicous addition to apple pie. Once established, this long-lived perennial looks after itself year after year.
Rhubarb Regenerates Itself

Rhubarb Regenerates Itself

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

From: DK Books - How to Grow

When to Plant: late autumn
At Its Best: early summer
Time to Complete: 1 hour

Materials Needed:

  • rhubarb plant
  • compost
  • shovel
  • slug pellets or a slug ring

Choose an Open, Sunny Site

Dig in organic matter, plant and water in well. Protect your plant from slugs, either by using a copper slug ring or with a few slug pellets.

Planting Rhubarb Plugs

Planting Rhubarb Plugs

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Harvest Stalks

Water during dry spells. Feed every spring with an organic liquid fertilizer, and mulch with compost. Don't pull any stalks the first year and only one or two in the second year. After that you can harvest more. To harvest, pull and slightly twist the stems.

Caring For and Harvesting Rhubarb

Caring For and Harvesting Rhubarb

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Top Tip: Forcing Rhubarb

Forcing rhubarb, by excluding all light when it first sprouts, results in sweeter, more tender stalks. As soon as you notice new shoots starting to appear in spring, cover the plant with a light-excluding barrier, such as a metal bucket, a box, or a rhubarb forcer, which will draw up the sweet stalks. The tender stems will be ready to pick about four weeks later — a month or so earlier than other rhubarb. Pick this crop, then leave the plant to recover for the rest of the year and the following year.

Forcing Rhubarb

Forcing Rhubarb

Photo by: DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - How to Grow Practically Everything, 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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