Rhubarb looks like a beautiful cross between kale and celery. With its deep red stalks and green foliage, it is very pleasing to look at in the garden. It is a cold season perennial vegetable, extremely hardy and drought resistant. The red stalks are tart in flavor and used for baking and preserves. The leaves are toxic and should NOT be eaten.

Where to Plant

Rhubarb grows best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

Choose a site with well-draining soil. Good drainage is essential, rhubarb will rot if kept too wept. Rhubarb plants are heavy feeders and love organic matter. Many people plant their rhubarb next to their compost piles.

Rhubarb gets big! It can grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. Make sure you choose a location where it won’t be too crowded.

Planting and Growing Rhubarb

In early Spring, plant crowns when the soil is able to be worked, when the roots are still dormant, and before growth begins (or as plants are just beginning to leaf out. Young plants already growing in pots may also be

found at our garden center in mid to late Spring).

Dig holes 1-2″ in diameter, mix compost, manure, or anything high in organic matter into the soil.

Rhubarb crowns need to be planted very shallow with the eyes facing up. At least 1/4 to 1/3 of the crown surface should be above ground level. If the bud itself is below ground, it may rot.

Water well at the time of planting and consistently throughout. Especially during the dry days of Summer.

Fertilize in mid to late Spring with an organic balanced fertilizer, compost, or manure.

Remove seed stalks as they appear, they will drain energy from the plant that could be used to produce stalks or roots.

To prevent overcrowding, divide rhubarb every 3-4 years while dormant in early Spring or late Fall. Each division should have a least one large bud on them.

In the Fall, remove all plant debris. Mulch with compost or a layer of straw to retain moisture and discourage weeds.

Harvesting Rhubarb

DO NOT harvest any stalks during the first growing season. Harvest sparingly in the second year. This allows your plants to become properly established. 

Stalks are ready to harvest when they are 7 to 18 inches long and at least 3/4-inch in diameter. If the stalks become too thin, stop harvesting; the plant’s food reserves are low.

Best times to harvest are May, June, and July. After July it is best to leave the stalks on the plant to gather energy for the next year’s growth.

At the base of the stalk, with a gentle twist pull it away from the plant.

Always leave at least two stalks per plant to ensure continued production.

Give us a call or drop our Scholls Ferry location to learn more.


A lifelong Oregon resident, Drake has been passionate about plants since childhood, beginning with propagating and growing flowers at his grandfather’s nursery. He opened Drake’s 7 Dees in 1974, while earning degrees in Business and Horticulture from Oregon State University. He later expanded into the design/build side of the industry, allowing him to combine his passion for plants with his love of family by maximizing the quality of family time spent outdoors.

Drake is co-founder of the Oregon Landscape Contractors Association and is a Landscape Industry Certified Manager (LICM)—a designation that less than two percent of landscapers have attained. Additionally, Drake serves on the Board of Directors for the Portland Japanese Gardens, widely regarded as one of the seven best Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Drake is married to former Oregon Speaker of the House, Lynn Snodgrass. Together, he and Lynn received the Farm Bureau President’s award in 1999 for their service and dedication to agriculture in the state of Oregon. Drake and Lynn have two wonderful daughters, two talented son-in-laws, and seven grandchildren. In his spare time, Drake enjoys camping, water and snow skiing, reading, and of course, gardening.

Born and raised in the Portland Metro Area… Tim has had an appreciation for the outdoors from a young age.  Inspired by our local beauty ranging: the Mt Hood National Forest to salty, sea spray of Cannon Beach, the arid high-desert of Central Oregon to the rugged terrain of Steens Mountain – Tim sought higher education at the University of Idaho in their Landscape Architecture department.  Graduating with honors in 2004, he returned home to establish his professional career.

Now making his home in Sandy, Oregon – Tim and his wife [Nicole] are raising two happy and healthy kiddos and 4 fur-babies.  Between soccer, football, cheerleading, girl scouts and other extra-curricular activities… the Sellin family are heavily involved in their community and church family.  Since college, Tim has spent 13 of his 17 years with Drake’s 7 Dees and has ‘set roots’ in anticipation of long-term growth at the family-focused company.  Having spent his time away from Drake’s in a ‘boots on the ground’ capacity, Tim has fostered a love for the operational/production side of landscape business, as well as the design/sales.

His goal in life as well as business is to put others first.

Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture, BSLA… 2009
California Polytechnic University, Pomona… Cum Laude
American Society of Landscape Architects – Honor Award

Steven has 15 years of experience in the residential landscape design/build and garden center industry, including 9 years with Drake’s 7 Dees. Steven also has experience working with the National Park Service in Yosemite on sub-alpine restoration projects, as well as volunteer experience as a Peace Corps Volunteer serving the community of Zaouiat d’Ifrane in Morocco.

Together, Steven and his wife Anna have four lovely children, all 5 years old and under! In his (very limited) spare time, Steven enjoys camping, hiking, archery hunting, and cooking. Steven’s passion for his work lies in helping others, through design to envision a more beautiful space that, once built, becomes a reality that improves their quality of life.