How to Grow Rhubarb – A Beginner’s Guide

rhubarb plant growing in garden
Rhubarb, which are known botanically as Rheum rhabarbarum, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing rhubarb as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Rhubarb

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the rhubarb seeds in early spring, using root divisions. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when rhubarb are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Rhubarb the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing rhubarb in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your rhubarb grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained and fertile. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 6.5.

3″ apart in rows 18-24″ apart. 3-4 feet apart in rows 4-6 feet apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 4-6″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your rhubarb seedlings 3-4 feet apart when seedlings are 4-6″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Rhubarb

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your rhubarb. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your rhubarb should be getting full sun to partial shade, which means at least 4-6 hours of sunlight.

How Much to Water Rhubarb

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your rhubarb do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your rhubarb begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Rhubarb to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your rhubarb grow.

It takes approximately root divisions do not need to germinate to germinate, and a total of 2-3 years for full maturity from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Rhubarb

The best time to harvest your rhubarb is when stalks are 12-18″ long and 1/2-1″ thick.

Rhubarb can grow up to about 12-18″ long stalks.

What Can Rhubarb Be Used For?

Food Use: great for pies, jams, and sauces

Flavor Profile: tart, tangy, and slightly sweet.

Can Rhubarb Grow in Pots and Containers?

No, it is generally not advised to grow rhubarb in pots or containers.

Are Rhubarb Safe for Bees?

Yes, rhubarb are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing rhubarb is bee-friendly.

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