Rhubarb

  • Sun: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Stalk Size: 18 to 24 inches
  • Days to Harvest: depends, see below
  • Plant Size: Up to 4 feet wide and 4 feet tall
  • Plant Type: Perennial

With tall, tart-tasting stalks, rhubarb provides the perfect complement to sugar and berries in homemade pies and jams. This is one of the few perennial vegetables, so give it a permanent spot in the garden. It produces for many years.

Plant rhubarb in spring. Let it grow the first year without harvesting. Harvest lightly the second year and plan a full harvest the following years.

Plant Spacing: 36-60 inches apart. Plants Per Person: 2 to 3 for fresh and freezing.

Secrets to Success »

Choose a permanent spot in your garden and prepare the soil with plenty of compost—rhubarb is a heavy feeder. Plant so that crowns are 4 inches deep.

Harvest and Use »

In the second year, remove a few stalks from each plant. Beginning in the third year, you’ll be able to harvest the stalks for about 8 to 10 weeks in early spring. The early stems are the most tender. Cut stalks then remove and compost the rhubarb leaves—they’re toxic and cause digestive problems. Slice rhubarb stalks as you would celery. Sweeten the tart stalks with sugar for the classic rhubarb taste, especially for making strawberry-rhubarb pie, a favorite spring dessert.

Try these garden companions »

  • Another rhubarb. It needs a permanent, dedicated spot in the garden.
  • Strawberries, a must for strawberry-rhubarb pie!

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