Rhubarb likes a moist soil enriched with plenty of organic matter – dig in plenty of compost, well-rotted manure and make sure it is well mulched over summer (nutritious mulches like Lupin Mulch are ideal). Grow in part shade – morning sun or dappled shade is ideal, as it will not cope with the full hot summer sun in Perth! Plants will wilt and let you know when they need a drink during those hot summer months. If you struggle to find a position that will suit year round, try growing it in a large pot.
Seedlings can be planted year round but the crowns are only planted during the winter. The benefit of crowns over seedlings is that they can be harvested much sooner. Seedlings can take several years to reach a mature size. Resist the temptation to harvest during the first year, as you want the plants to establish well, meaning more stems in future years. You can plant the crowns as close to each other as 80cm and plant them so that the top of the crown is just at soil level. Be careful not to plant too deep.
The stems are harvested from spring through into summer. Always make sure when picking the stems to break them away from the crown downwards. Never cut the stems as this can cause rot and you may lose the whole plant.
Although when given the right conditions Rhubarb is fairly pest and disease free, keep an eye out for slugs and snails which can damage the new stems. If there is poor air flow and excessively damp conditions Rhubarb can also be effected by fungal diseases, such as mildews.
A note on stem colour: Not all rhubarb produces a deep red stem, this can be dependent on variety or partially due to climatic conditions. There is nothing wrong with a greener stemmed rhubarb, it is not ‘unripe’. In fact, the greener varieties are often much sweeter than their more popular red friends!
Ever Red – produces high yields of sweet red stalks for most of the year, with the heaviest crop being produced in spring and summer.
Giant Victoria –One of the sweeter varieties that has greener stems than the Ever Red. Vigorous, produces mostly during spring and summer.
Please note that this is intended as general information only. Please ask one of our qualified horticulturists for more specific advice for your situation.
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Why not grow some Rhubarb in your own vegie garden?