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RHUBARB GROWING INFORMATION
© Frances Michaels
BOTANICAL NAME: Rheum rhabarbarum
Polygonaceae, the knotweed family
Rhubarb is a cool season herbaceous perennial; the best stem colour is produced at 10°C. A leafy plant,
reaching a metre in height, with thick red stalks. It requires a cold winter and can be hard to grow in
areas with very hot summers or high humidity.
Only the rhubarb stalks should be eaten and they must be cooked. Rhubarb is rich in iron, and vitamins A
and C. It is used as a 'fruit', and can be baked in pies and crumbles, it combines well with apples and
ginger. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous
and should never be eaten or fed to
livestock or poultry.
Rhubarb can be grown from crowns or seed. Plant in an open, sunny position. Leave undisturbed for 4-5
years and then divide the plants. Rhubarb requires a deep, well-drained soil, enriched with well-rotted
animal manure. Water well in dry spells and mulch the plants annually each spring with compost. Feed with
a liquid manure to encourage stem formation. Cut out any flower stems that develop and pick stems very
lightly in the first year. The best planting time for crowns is May to October. Plant the crowns just under
the surface, 90 x 90 cm apart. Seed requires a germination temperature of 20 - 23°C.
Harvest by pulling the thickest, healthiest stalks off gently, do not cut them and leave a stub. Do not
take more than half the stalks of any one plant.
RHUBARB INSECTICIDE SPRAY
Cut up 1 kg of rhubarb leaves, boil in 3 litres of water for 30 minutes. Strain through a cloth or old
stocking. When cool, dissolve 30 grams of soap flakes in 1 litre of hot water. Add this to the mixture.
Use as a general botanical insecticide spray against aphids, whitefly and caterpillars.
Available as seed...
Not to NORFOLK ISLAND, NT, SA, TAS or WA
SORRY but due to quarantine restrictions between Australian States no plants at all can be ordered
by residents of Norfolk Island
. These restrictions are very important as they prevent
the spread of plant pests and diseases. No potatoes, garlic, shallots, strawberries or tubestock
can be sent to South Australia
. No tubestock can be sent to
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