The Q&A Archives: Growing Rhubarb

Question: We planted rhubarb plants given to us by friends who have a well established bed. They did well all summer, but have never gone to seed. Are they suppose to go to seed and any special treatment before winter? Thanks.

Answer: Rhubarb is a perennial plant and although the leaves will die back in the winter, new leafy stalks will return in the spring. It's not a good idea to allow rhubarb to develop a flowering stalk or to set seeds, and the plant isn't usually propagated by seed anyway, so you haven't missed a thing if your plant didn't set seeds. In fact, once you recognize a stalk is going to develop a flower instead of a leaf, cut it off the plant right away. For now, you can cut the remaining leaves off the plant and mulch over it with a few inches of organic material (leaves, pine boughs or straw) to help it survive winter weather. Remove the mulch in the spring when new growth begins.

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