Carefully consider location before planting this long-lived perennial.
If possible, establish planting area and improve soil the season before
dormant crowns, as soon as you can work the soil in spring. You can cut
crowns into pieces, but make sure each has at least one strong bud.
Plant 1 to 3 inches deep and 2 to 3 feet apart.
Mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture. Plants require little or no fertilizer.
flower stalks as they appear the first year to give strength to
developing plant. Do not harvest any leaf stems until plants are
well-established the second year. Removing flower stalks helps plants
channel energy into leaf stem production.
Growth slows and flower
stalks form when temperatures warm in summer. In cool regions, growth
may continue if you have adequate moisture and remove flower stalks. In
warmer areas, growth may resume in fall - sometimes enough for a light
Horseradish makes a good companion crop, as both are long-lived perennials.
beds when plants become crowded and leaf stems small (usually in 5 to
15 years) by dividing crowns and replanting in fall or spring.
force rhubarb in winter: Dig plant in autumn after dormancy but before
the soil freezes. Pot with buds 1 inch below soil surface and keep
outside for at least 8 weeks with temperature below 40 F. Move pot
inside to cool, dark location. Keep soil moist, and rhubarb should be
ready to harvest in about 6 weeks. (Stalks will be well-developed, but
leaves will be small and yellow.) Replant outside in spring.
Rhubarb is relatively trouble-free. Some potential diseases include:
leaf spot - Avoid wetting foliage if possible. Water early in the day
so aboveground plant parts will dry as quickly as possible. Avoid
crowding plants. Space apart to allow air circulation. Eliminate weeds
around plants and garden area to improve air circulation. Practice
plant sanitation. When plants are not wet, carefully remove and destroy
or discard affected plant parts. In autumn, rake and dispose of all
fallen or diseased leaves and stalks.
Phytophtora crown rot - Can be a problem in poorly drained soils.