The Q&A Archives: Rhubarb

Question: When do you plant rhubarb? I live in the Willamette valley in Oregon

Answer: Rhubarb is traditionally available as bareroot (just like roses) and planted in the spring but sometimes roots are found for sale in the fall. Plant it whenever you can find roots in your local nursery.

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. Leave at least two large stalks per plant to restore energy to the root system for next year. Rhubarb benefits from a mid-summer side dressing of compost or aged-manure. You can repeat the application in the fall. Using organic material will supply nutrients to the roots of the plants in small doses, giving the plants a constant supply of food, resulting in slow, even growth. I hope this info helps.

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