University of Maryland Extension

Featured Plants - Rhubarb

Author: 
Ellen Nibali

Rheum acuminatum

Tuck this perennial “fruit” into a flower or vegetable bed.  Rhubarb can pass for a big-leaved hosta and also be handy for harvesting its delicious sour stems.   Rhubarb wants full sun to light shade--not too hot. Given average moisture, established plants tolerate drought, but ‘wet feet’ cause root rot. Rhubarb produces for many years, so amend your soil heavily with manure or compost before planting. Varieties are available with red or green stems, so be sure you’re buying the color you prefer.  Plant crown divisions in early spring, allowing 4 x 4 feet of space for each plant. Wait a year before harvesting and always remove flower heads that divert its energy. After tops die in fall, mulch with more compost. 

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