The Q&A Archives: Seed Pods On Rhubarb

Question: As soon as my rhubarb came up this spring, it developed large seed pods in every plant. Is there anything I can do to prevent this?

Answer: It's best to cut down flower stalks as soon as they appear. Otherwise the stalks you harvest are apt to be bitter. To perform best, rhubarb needs a long, cool spring and rich soil. You can begin harvesting stalks as soon as the leaves start to unfold to a flat surface. Plants generally bolt because temperatures have gotten too warm or day length reaches a limit for their species, and they "think" it's time to go to seed. When the blossom stalk emerges, cut it off at its base to extend the season. When plants bolt, they often start tasting bitter (lettuce is an example), but I'm not aware of any reason why you can't harvest the rhubarb--it's so sour without sugar, anyway! Leave at least two large stalks per plant to restore energy to the root system for next year. I hope this info helps.

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