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University of Minnesota Extension

Growing rhubarb in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Plant rhubarb in well-drained soil.
  • Different varieties have varying levels of sourness and fibrousness.
  • Only the long stalks are edible.
  • Rhubarb plants are very large. A single plant usually provides enough for any family.
  • A giant rhubarb plant can be a strong competitor against weeds.
  • Wait until the second season before harvesting.
  • Wait until the third season if you started from seed.
Harvested green and pink rhubarb stalks

Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a perennial vegetable hardy enough for Minnesota gardens. It is in the buckwheat family, has a sour flavor and is among the first crops ready for harvest in spring.

Rhubarb is also a "pie-plant," because you can cook, sweeten and use the chopped stalks as a pie filling, usually with strawberries.

You can also incorporate it into breads and cakes, sweet and use it as a sauce, or cook with sugar, strain and drink it as a refreshing juice.

Few people can eat much rhubarb as a raw vegetable. While juicy and crisp, it is very sour.

Soil pH and fertility


Selecting plants


How to keep your rhubarb plants healthy and productive


Jill MacKenzie

Reviewed in 2018

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