All You Need To Know About Growing Rhubarb
You want to grow rhubarb at home but still have some open questions in this regard?
Great! Stick with me since I will answer various questions about growing rhubarb in this FAQ section.
Table of Contents
Time & Duration
When to grow rhubarb from seed?
The best time to grow rhubarb from seed is in spring between April and May when you don’t expect frost anymore.
Even though rhubarb will be resistant to frost once it gets mature, your plants will still be quite sensitive to the cold while they are still young and you should therefore not expose your young plants to frost at all.
Does rhubarb grow year-round?
Rhubarb grows year-round. In fact, rhubarb is grown as a perennial plant and will live for many years if you care for it properly.
Consequently, you only have to plant rhubarb once and can still get yields for many years in the future.
Does rhubarb grow fast?
While rhubarb plants are still young, they will grow relatively slow. However, the bigger rhubarb plants get, the faster they will grow.
However, it will still take you many months to grow rhubarb to a size that is worth enough to harvest it.
How long does it take to grow rhubarb?
It will take you more than one year until you will be able to harvest your first rhubarb if you want to grow it from seed.
Sometimes, you even have to wait two or three years until you will get the first noticeable yield and you should therefore be a patient person since growing rhubarb can take quite a long time.
Does rhubarb grow back every year?
Yes, rhubarb is a perennial plant and will grow back every year.
Hence, you only have to put in the effort to grow it from seed to harvest once and can get yields for many years to come, at least if you care for your rhubarb plants properly and also keep away pests as best as possible.
How long do rhubarb plants live?
Rhubarb plants can live up to 20 years. However, this also greatly depends on how well you care for your plants.
If you don’t know what you are doing, chances are that rhubarb will just not grow back in a satisfying manner and that your plants may even decay sooner or later.
How long does it take until rhubarb flowers?
Rhubarb usually flowers in spring. I moderate climatic zones, this is usually between April and May.
However, this also greatly depends on the lighting conditions you provide to your plants and you should not be discouraged if it takes you longer to see flowers on your rhubarb plants.
Can you grow rhubarb in fall?
Since rhubarb plants are grown as perennials and grow back for many years, it will not really matter that much whether you grow rhubarb in spring or fall.
However, if you grow it in fall, make sure that you protect your small plants from the cold once the first winter frost hits.
Can you grow rhubarb in winter?
While you could also start growing rhubarb in winter, I would not recommend you do so since your plants would just not get sufficient sunlight to grow well and you would also have to grow them indoors for many months which could lead to several additional issues.
Location & Climate
Will rhubarb grow in shade?
While growing rhubarb in shade is possible, I still recommend you provide rhubarb plants with at least a few hours of sunlight per day so that your plants can grow in a healthy manner and don’t lack important sunlight which would make them more vulnerable to diseases and pest infestation.
Will rhubarb grow in partial shade?
You could also grow rhubarb in partially shady environments.
This is perfectly fine and you will be able to grow rhubarb in a decent manner.
However, your plants would still grow better with even more direct sunlight and I therefore suggest you pick one of the sunniest spots possible for your plants.
Does rhubarb grow best in full sun?
Rhubarb plants grow best with full sun. In fact, the more sun you provide to your plants, the faster they will grow and the faster your plants grow, the bigger your rhubarb harvests will be.
Consequently, if you want to maximize yields, make sure to provide rhubarb plants with as much sunlight as possible.
Will rhubarb tolerate frost?
While rhubarb plants tolerate rather cool weather, you should still not expose your young plants to frost at all since those young plants are still quite sensitive to the cold.
When your plants get older, you no longer have to protect them from the cold since they will be able to deal with frost on their own.
Do you have to protect rhubarb from the sun?
There is no need to protect rhubarb plants from the sun. In fact, the more sunlight your rhubarb plants get, the better your plants will grow.
Thus, just choose the sunniest spot in your garden or on your balcony you can find and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.
How much space do you need to grow rhubarb?
Rhubarb can grow quite big over time and this means that you should provide a lot of space to your plants.
I recommend you plan at least 6 square feet of space for each rhubarb plant so that your plants get enough sunlight to grow well and also don’t have to compete for nutrients with each other.
Will rhubarb grow indoors?
While you could try growing rhubarb indoors, you will likely just not get the same results compared to growing it outdoors since you would not be able to provide as natural growing conditions.
Moreover, you would also have to clean your home more often and I therefore suggest you just grow rhubarb outdoors to avoid any issues in this regard.
Can you grow rhubarb without a garden or balcony?
If you don’t have an outdoor space to grow rhubarb, you would have to grow it indoors.
However, there are many problems that come along with growing rhubarb indoors and I therefore recommend that you wait with growing rhubarb until you move to a place where you have access to a garden or a balcony.
Can you grow rhubarb in small flats?
You should also not try to grow rhubarb indoors if you currently live in a small flat since rhubarb plants can get quite big and would take away precious space from you that you would no longer be able to use for storage purposes.
Can you grow rhubarb in an aquarium?
While you could use aquariums instead of conventional flower pots to grow rhubarb, you would run into the issue that water would not be able to run off properly and that the roots of your plants would start to rot.
Hence, don’t grow rhubarb in an aquarium but rather go for more conventional methods instead.
Can you grow rhubarb in a terrarium?
You should also not try growing rhubarb in a terrarium since it is just not made for growing purposes and waterlogging may become an issue.
Moreover, since terrariums get quite heavy once they are filled with potting soil, you would also be quite inflexible in changing the location of your plants.
Can you grow rhubarb in buckets?
Buckets can be a great substitute for classical flower pots as long as you make sure that water can run off properly by making some holes into the bottom of your buckets.
After that, just fill your buckets with potting soil and you will be good to grow rhubarb if those buckets are big enough to accommodate big plants.
Can you grow rhubarb in bags?
Growing rhubarb in bags is not a good idea since your plants will just get quite big and will also need lots of nutrients.
Hence, if you really want to grow rhubarb in bags, make sure to use big and stable fabric bags so that your plants get enough space and nutrients.
Can you grow rhubarb in hanging baskets?
Since rhubarb plants can get quite heavy, it is also not a good idea to grow them in hanging baskets.
Instead, make sure to use big conventional flower pots since they will be much stabler and more resistant to heavy winds or other harsh conditions outdoors.
Can you grow rhubarb in rainy climatic zones?
Yes, you can grow rhubarb in rainy climatic zones.
However, since rhubarb plants like the sun, you should make sure to choose a quite sunny spot in your garden or on your balcony to use every precious hour of sunlight as best as possible.
Can you grow rhubarb in tropical climatic zones?
Even though rhubarb loves the sun, most rhubarb varieties still don’t like high levels of humidity.
Hence, growing rhubarb in the tropics can be pretty challenging and you may rather want to grow plants that are more used to these extreme climatic conditions instead.
Can you grow rhubarb in regions with permafrost?
While rhubarb can grow well in rather cool climatic zones, it will still not grow well in regions with permafrost since the roots of your plants would not be able to develop well in frozen soil.
Thus, if you want to grow rhubarb in regions with permafrost, make sure to use a greenhouse.
Does rhubarb grow on vines?
Rhubarb doesn’t grow on vines. Instead, you will not harvest an actual rhubarb crop, but you will harvest part of the plant material which is commonly also referred to as rhubarb crops, even though it is not a classical crop at all.
Does rhubarb grow underground?
Rhubarb doesn’t grow underground. In contrast to garlic or onions, the whole plant will grow above the soil surface and this will make it quite easy for you to harvest rhubarb since you will see the size and the color of it and can easily determine when your plants are ready to harvest them.
What is the best orientation for growing rhubarb?
Since rhubarb loves the sun, you should grow it in south orientation to get the fastest growth and the biggest yields.
However, you could still grow rhubarb in west or east orientation. Just avoid north orientation since your rhubarb plants would just not get sufficient sunlight to grow well.
Can you grow rhubarb with indirect sunlight?
Growing rhubarb with indirect sunlight is perfectly doable. You can just use a greenhouse for growing rhubarb instead of growing it outdoors.
However, from my personal experience, rhubarb plants still grow best outdoors without a greenhouse since they would just get the most natural conditions.
Where does rhubarb grow best?
Rhubarb grows best in a sunny spot in your garden where it gets a lot of space and doesn’t have to compete for sunlight or nutrients with other plants.
Also make sure to add some fertilizer to the soil so that rhubarb plants get enough nutrients for many years to come.
Where to grow rhubarb in pots?
If you want to grow rhubarb in pots, make sure to use really big pots and place those pots in a sunny spot around your home where your plants will still be protected from heavy winds or hail at the same time so that your plants can grow as best as possible.
Where to grow rhubarb indoors?
If you want to grow rhubarb indoors, make sure to choose a bright and sunny spot inside your home so that rhubarb plants can grow in a decent manner.
However, you should still not expect the same results compared to growing rhubarb outdoors since your plants will just not have the same natural growing conditions.
Can you grow rhubarb in water?
Growing rhubarb in pure water is not feasible. Hence, make sure to offer a high-quality soil mix to your plants so that they get enough nutrients to grow well and to provide you with decent yields for many years to come.
Can you grow rhubarb with LED lights?
You could also try to grow rhubarb with the help of LED lights or other forms of artificial lighting.
However, this would consume lots of energy and would also be pretty bad for our environment.
Hence, instead of relying on LEDs to grow rhubarb, make sure to utilize natural sunlight as best as possible.
Can you grow rhubarb in dark rooms?
Growing rhubarb in dark rooms is not a good idea at all since your plants would just not get enough natural sunlight to grow well and also your yields would be quite limited.
Thus, make sure to grow rhubarb in bright rooms if you really want to grow it indoors.
Can you reuse soil for growing rhubarb the next year?
You can reuse the soil for growing rhubarb for many years to come.
Just make sure that you add fertilizer to the soil on a regular basis so that your plants get sufficient nutrients and can provide you with healthy yields for quite a long time.
Does rhubarb grow well in waterlogged soil?
You should never grow rhubarb in waterlogged soil since the roots of your plants would just start to rot sooner or later and this would also greatly inhibit the overall growth behavior of your plants.
Consequently, make sure that excess water will be able to run off properly to avoid any issues in this regard.
Does rhubarb grow best in acidic, neutral or alkaline soil?
Rhubarb grows well in acidic to neutral soil with an optimal soil pH of 6.5.
However, you will still be fine with a different soil pH as long as you use high-quality soil from the garden center and you should not be too worried about the acidity level of the soil too much.
Will rhubarb grow in sandy soil?
Rhubarb will not grow well in sandy soil. Instead, make sure to rely on a soil mix that is richer in nutrients and also more balanced if you really want to get the most out of your growth project and want to harvest decent rhubarb for many years to come.
Will rhubarb grow well in clay soil?
Clay soil is also not optimal when it comes to growing rhubarb since it is just not loose enough and water will often be logged.
Moreover, the roots of rhubarb plants would also have a hard time growing in a decent manner and you should therefore rely on a looser soil mix instead.
Will rhubarb grow in compost?
While it would be possible to grow rhubarb in pure compost, it would be even better to mix compost with potting soil from the garden center.
In fact, this soil mix will not only be great for growing rhubarb, but also for growing various other garden plants at home.
Do rhubarb plants need a lot of water?
Rhubarb plants need quite a lot of water to grow well. However, this also greatly depends on the stage your plants are currently in.
The younger your plants, the lower their water demand will be.
The bigger they grow, the more water they will need.
Do you have to water rhubarb on a regular basis?
How often you have to water rhubarb greatly depends on the climatic conditions outdoors and also on your growing setup.
For instance, if you want to grow rhubarb in your garden, you will not have to water your plants during rainy periods of the year at all since your plants will get more than enough rainwater from the soil.
However, during dry periods of the year, you would still have to water your plants on a regular basis.
Hence, make sure to adjust your watering schedule on a regular basis so that your plants neither get too much nor too little water.
Should you use filtered or unfiltered water to water rhubarb?
There is no need to filter water for watering rhubarb plants.
Instead, just use unfiltered tap water and you will be perfectly fine since it will make hardly any difference and you can spend your precious time on more important things instead.
Should you use rainwater to water rhubarb?
Even better than using tap water would be to use rainwater for rhubarb plants.
Not only would you be able to save some money, but you would also be able to water your plants in the most natural manner.
Just install a rainwater barrel in your garden and you will be able to collect more than enough rainwater that you can use during dry periods of the year.
When to stake rhubarb plants?
While there is no real need to stake and stabilize rhubarb, you can still do so if you want to add additional protection to your plants.
However, wait with staking rhubarb until your plants reach at least 4 inches in height.
What to stake rhubarb with?
You can just place some sticks next to your rhubarb plants and tie your plants with natural cord to those sticks.
By using this simple method, you can make your plants stabler and more resistant to heavy winds or other harsh conditions outdoors.
What to do when rhubarb turns yellow?
If rhubarb turns yellow, this usually indicates that it needs more nutrients.
Hence, make sure to add some fertilizer to the soil once this happens.
Also make sure to check whether you water your plants too often and adjust your watering schedule.
How to protect rhubarb against wind?
While there is no urgent need to protect rhubarb plants from wind, you can still stabilize your plants by tying them with cord to sticks that you anchor deep into the ground if you really want to make sure that your plants will no longer be vulnerable to wind anymore.
How to protect rhubarb against heavy rain?
There is no need to protect rhubarb against heavy rain. Just let your plants grow in a completely natural manner and you will be surprised of how resistant your rhubarb plants will get without any intervention from your side in this regard.
How to protect rhubarb against hail?
You can protect rhubarb plants from hail by just moving your plants to a safe location inside your home when you expect hail to come.
However, if you grow rhubarb directly in your garden and can’t move your plants, you may also want to cover your plants with stable foliage from the garden center.
Should you pinch out rhubarb?
There is no need to pinch rhubarb plants. Instead of pruning your plants, just let them grow since pinching them out would often do more harm than good and could also greatly reduce the overall yield you can get from your plants.
Where to pinch rhubarb?
If you don’t want to listen to my advice and still want to pinch rhubarb, at least make sure to do it outdoors instead of inside your four walls since pinching plants is often a mess and you can therefore just save a lot of time for cleaning if you just do it outdoors.
Can you grow rhubarb without fertilizer?
Since rhubarb will stay alive for many years if you care for it properly, you will also have to add some fertilizer sooner or later.
Otherwise, your plants would just not get sufficient nutrients and would not grow as well in the long run.
Should you cover rhubarb plants to protect them against frost?
There is no need to cover rhubarb plants to protect them from frost since rhubarb plants are quite resistant to the cold and will be able to handle frost in a proper manner once they reach a certain size.
How to get rid of moss when growing rhubarb?
If you see moss on the soil surface, this is an indicator that you water your plants too often and that you should slow down your watering schedule a little bit so that the soil can dry up and the roots of your plants will not get harmed.
Pests & Diseases
Can you grow rhubarb without using pesticides?
The better the growing conditions you provide to your plants, the better rhubarb will grow.
Once it becomes big and strong, there will often be no need to use pesticides anymore since your plants will be able to deter pests in a completely natural manner.
Should you use natural or chemical pesticides for rhubarb plants?
In rare cases when rhubarb plants are not able to deal with pests on their own, you can also get relief for your plants by using natural pesticides.
However, never rely on chemical pesticides since they are often pretty harmful to our environment and would also lower the quality of your crops.
What are the most common rhubarb pests?
Slugs, beetles, whiteflies and aphids are commonly found on rhubarb plants.
However, don’t get discouraged if you see some pests on your plants.
Just make sure to get some information on how to get rid of those annoying companions and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.
How to protect rhubarb against pests?
Should you grow rhubarb with children?
Since it will take many years to grow rhubarb from seed to a noticeable size, rhubarb is just not a great plant to grow with children since your kids would likely just lose interest pretty soon.
Hence, instead of growing rhubarb with your kids, make sure to grow something that will not take that long.
Is rhubarb a good plant for a school project?
Rhubarb is a great plant to grow in a school garden since it is perennial and will grow back for many years if you care for it properly.
Consequently, many generations of school kids will be able to reap the benefits of your growing project.
Is growing rhubarb difficult?
Growing rhubarb at home is not as easy as growing tomatoes, cucumbers and many other garden plants.
In fact, you need some real knowledge to be able to grow rhubarb in a perfect manner and you should therefore closely follow all the advice in this article to avoid any mistakes.
What color does ripe rhubarb have?
Ripe rhubarb stems usually have a red color while the leaves of those rhubarb stems will still have a deep green color.
Hence, just wait with harvesting rhubarb until your plants have the desired color and also a noticeable size so that you can get the most out of your growing project.
Can you save seeds from rhubarb plants?
Rhubarb will flower once a year. Hence, during this time, you will be able to save lots of seeds that you could use for future growing projects.
However, since rhubarb is perennial and will live for quite a long time, there will just not be the need to save many rhubarb seeds on a regular basis.
Can rhubarb get overripe?
Rhubarb can get overripe and you should therefore make sure to harvest it on time since you would miss out on flavor and nutrients otherwise.
In the worst case, rhubarb plants would even start to rot and you would have done all the hard work for nothing.
What parts of a rhubarb plant can you eat?
While you can eat the stems of rhubarb plants, you should not eat rhubarb leaves since they contain a high amount of substances that can be considered harmful for human health and are therefore not suitable for human consumption at all.
Is growing rhubarb expensive?
Growing rhubarb at home is not expensive at all.
In fact, it is much cheaper to grow rhubarb at home compared to buying it from the grocery store, at least if you know what you are doing and also harvest your plants for many years to come.
Is growing rhubarb fun?
It can also be really interesting to grow rhubarb at home.
In fact, I really enjoy seeing the progress my plants make every day and sitting next to my plants also helps me relax and to unwind from my stressful day life quite a lot.
Does rhubarb grow on trees?
Rhubarb doesn’t grow on trees. Instead, rhubarb grows on quite big plants and if you have never seen rhubarb plants before, you can also get some additional information on what they look like in the videos in this article.
Does rhubarb grow from flowers?
While rhubarb plants flower, flowers or on your plants are not necessary to harvest decent rhubarb yields since rhubarb doesn’t grow from flowers.
Instead, you will just harvest the plant material and will only need to care about flowers if you want to save rhubarb seeds.
How many rhubarb plants should you grow per pot?
Since rhubarb plants can get quite big, you should not grow more than one rhubarb plant per pot.
Also make sure that you use really big pots so that your plants get sufficient nutrients and can provide you with decent yields for many years to come.
Which animals feed on rhubarb?
Dear, raccoons and rats frequently feed on rhubarb.
Hence, to keep away those hungry intruders from your garden plants, make sure to install a fence or to take other measures to assure the survival of your plants.
Will your pets eat rhubarb plants?
Also your pets may try to feed on rhubarb plants.
Thus, it is crucial that you keep away your pets from your plants so that rhubarb plants can grow well and will not lose any energy due to a loss of plant material.
Is rhubarb toxic for pets?
Rhubarb leaves can indeed be toxic for many pets.
Consequently, it is crucial that you keep away your pets from your plants as best as possible so that you can not only protect your pets, but also your plants from hungry intruders who might regret to have fed on your plants later.
Why rhubarb grows small?
If rhubarb grows small, this usually means that you haven’t provided optimal growing conditions to your plants.
Therefore, in such a case, make sure that you add some fertilizer and also move your plants to a better location so that they can grow bigger in the future.
What to grow with rhubarb?
To get some information on what to grow with rhubarb, make sure to check out the best and worst rhubarb companion plants.
Can you grow rhubarb from rhubarb?
No, it is not possible to grow rhubarb from rhubarb stems and it would also be a great waste of food.
Hence, instead of trying to grow rhubarb from rhubarb, make sure to grow rhubarb from seeds instead to get the desired results quickly.
Can you grow rhubarb from rotten fruits?
Since rhubarb doesn’t produce any real fruits, it is also not possible to grow it from rotten fruits.
It is also not possible to grow rhubarb from rotten stems and you should therefore rather rely on growing rhubarb from seeds instead.
Can you grow rhubarb without seeds?
If you don’t want to grow rhubarb from seed, you could also just get some rhubarb seedlings from the garden center.
Not only will this make your growing project easier, but it could also save you lots of time and effort.
Do you have to pollinate rhubarb by hand?
There is no need to pollinate rhubarb by hand to get great results. In fact, you don’t even need to have any rhubarb flowers on your plants to get big harvests.
Only if you want to save seeds, you should make sure to save them once your rhubarb plants flower.
How to grow big rhubarb?
For big rhubarb harvests, you just need to make sure that your plants get everything they need to grow well.
This includes growing them in sunny spots in your garden and you should also make sure to give your plants enough space.
Moreover, make sure to use a high-quality soil mix and that you fertilize your plants on a regular basis to get the best results.
Can you grow rhubarb commercially?
Growing rhubarb commercially is usually not a good idea since you would have to do it on a big scale, which would also imply significant upfront costs.
Moreover, the market is also quite fierce and margins are quite low.
Therefore, you should rather grow rhubarb for fun instead of growing it commercially.
Can you grow rhubarb from fresh seeds?
While you could grow rhubarb from fresh seeds, it is often pretty hard to get those fresh seeds since most seed companies will only sell dried ones.
However, if you harvest your own rhubarb seeds, you can definitely grow rhubarb from fresh seeds and germination rates will often also be awesome.
Can you grow rhubarb from dried seeds?
The easiest way to grow rhubarb is to just use dried seeds from the garden center or from an internet vendor since you can get those seeds whenever you need them all year long and don’t have to rely on fresh seeds for your growing project.
Can you grow rhubarb from cuttings?
While it is possible to grow rhubarb from cuttings, it is rather difficult and if you want to grow rhubarb in a serious manner on scale, you should rather rely on growing it from seed instead of relying on cuttings that may decay sooner or later.
Should you use a rhubarb growing kit for growing rhubarb?
Instead of using a rhubarb growing kit, you should rather invest your money in proper gardening equipment that you can use for many years to come and also for many different garden plants instead of just for growing rhubarb.
Does rhubarb grow in the wild?
Rhubarb indeed also grows in the wild. In fact, you might already have seen rhubarb growing next to farm roads but may have not been able to identify it as rhubarb since wild rhubarb often looks quite different from what you are used to from the grocery store.
Should you talk to rhubarb plants?
While you could talk to rhubarb plants, it would rather have a therapeutic effect on you while your plants would not care about it at all.
Hence, instead of spending your time on those things, make sure to really use your time more wisely on things that can really affect your gardening project in a positive manner.
Should you plant rhubarb at half moon or full moon?
There is no need to care about moon phases when it comes to growing rhubarb.
Instead, just grow it when climatic conditions are suitable and you will be perfectly fine in this regard.
Now that you hopefully found all the answers you came for, you should still also have a look at my rhubarb grower’s guide to learn how to grow rhubarb from seed to harvest step-by-step.
Own research and experience.
About the Author
My name is Andreas and I’m really passionate about our environment and also about growing plants. In fact, I have grown several different plants over many years. I love to see my plants grow and also always try new things to improve my overall conditions at home.
In my blog posts, I want to share my experiences with you so that you can become successful in growing various different plants and improving your home as well, even though you might still be a beginner right now.