Planting Guide and Seed Saving Notes for Rhubarb

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum)

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable, though it has a rich, tart flavor generally used as a fruit in desserts and jams. Often matures at the same time as your strawberries, which is why they are often so famously paired together in pies. You only eat the stalks; the leaves of this plant are poisonous.

How To Grow Rhubarb From Seed

Bed Preparation

Rhubarb grows best in fertile, well-drained soils that are high in organic matter. Plant crowns shallowly, about 2 inches under the surface. Rhubarb thrives in full sun but will yield in light shade. Select a location that gives plants ample room; individual rhubarb plants can measure up to four feet wide and tall.

Planting

Starting rhubarb from seed is not difficult but you will need to plant at least twenty seeds to cull out ones that do not exhibit the desired traits for the variety.Starting in pots is recommended.

Harvest

We suggest to leave growth in the first year and not harvest stalks until the second year. This promotes healthy root development.

Seed Saving

While you can save rhubarb seed, most gardeners cut off the flowers in order to redirect the energy that would be spent on seed production into vegetative and root growth. Saving seed is not recommended until the plant is at least three years old and well established. Propagation can also be achieved by splitting the mature crowns when the plants are dormant.