What is Rhubarb?

A rhubarb plant is a confusing plant for many people. Here are some common questions:

Q: What does it look like?

A: Rhubarb looks like a beautiful cross between kale and celery.

Q: Is it a fruit or vegetable?

A: Rhubarb is a vegetable, though it is often paired with fruits.

Q: What does it taste like on its own?

A: Rhubarb has a bitter taste, and is usually eaten by boiling it down with sugar or is served with strawberries to counter that. 

It grows very well in our Pacific Northwest climate, and is a welcome addition to many gardens in our area. If you’re interested in growing it in YOUR yard, then this guide is for you.

Choosing a Site for Growing Rhubarb

A deep, rich, well drained sandy loam is ideal for rhubarb production. A slight to medium acid soil is best. Due to rhubarb’s high water requirement, the soil needs to have plenty of organic matter to help hold moisture for growing plants.

Planting Rhubarb

Rhubarb crowns need to be very shallow. At least ¼ to 1/3 of the crown surface should be above ground level. If the bud itself is below ground it may rot. Fertilizer should be applied in the mid to late spring. Fertilizers used should be well balanced, slow release fertilizers and/or compost or aged manure.

Harvesting Rhubarb

Wait until the second year after planting to harvest your first stalks. Pull the stalks by grasping the stalk down near the crown. A slight twist and side pull loosens the stalk without breaking or injuring the primary bud. It’s important to avoid bud damage as each bud will produce several stalks.

Give us a call or drop by our Portland garden center to learn more.