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How to plant rhubarb

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is not at its best in January

Plant is not at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is at its best in June

Plant is at its best in July

Plant is at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is not at its best in October

Plant is not at its best in November

Plant is not at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do To do in March

Do To do in April

Do To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do To do in November

Do not To do in December

Rhubarb is an easy-to-grow, handsome plant that will produce an abundant crop of stalks once established. Plant it in rich, free-draining soil and add lots of garden compost to the planting hole. Allow plenty of space around the plant so its roots can spread out.

Don’t be tempted to pick stalks in the first summer, because rhubarb needs time to get established before it will produce a significant number of stalks.  

When harvesting, take the entire stem. Rather than cutting it and leaving a section behind, hold the stalk at the base then tilt it forward slightly before you pull upwards. This reduces the risk of damaging the crown with careless yanking. The leaves can be composted but never eaten, as they are extremely poisonous.

Cut out the flower stem when it appears to prevent it taking energy from the rest of the plant. 

You will need

Rhubarb plant (in a pot, or a division from a larger plant)

Garden compost

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Total time:

Step 1

Dig a hole that’s a bit larger than the crown, then fork plenty of garden compost into the base. Sit the plant in the hole, so the crown is level with the soil surface. Fill around the roots with soil and firm down gently.

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Step 2

Water in well and continue to give it regular soakings around the crown, especially during dry spells. Apply a mulch of well-rotted manure or sprinkle general-purpose fertiliser around the plant in February.

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Step 3

Leave the stalks and foliage to develop for at least the first summer without pulling any. This allows the plant to become well-established so that it will produce a good crop of stems for years to come.

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