Rhubarb Growing Guide

Rheum rhabarbarum


Crop Rotation Group



Well-drained soil with plenty of compost dug in. In clay soil, use raised beds.


Sun or partial afternoon shade.

Frost tolerant

Yes, becomes dormant in winter.


Use mulch to keep soil nutrient levels high. Mulch with rich compost in late winter, and add more mulch in summer to deter weeds and keep soil moist.


Single Plants: 2' 11" (90cm) each way (minimum)
Rows: 2' 11" (90cm) with 2' 11" (90cm) row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Can be grown from seeds, but it is faster to grow from a dormant crown, or by cutting away and replanting a division taken from an established plant. Make new plantings or move old ones in spring.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


To make rhubarb stems longer, cover plants with bushel baskets or other large, breathable containers for one month in spring.


Use a sharp knife to cut new stems in spring as they reach 14 inches long. Discard leaves, which contain dangerously high levels of oxalic acid. Stop harvesting in early summer, and allow plants to grow freely the rest of the season.


Trap slugs with beer, hand pick them in rainy weather, or spray them with caffeinated coffee first thing in the morning.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Rhubarb