Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Rhubarb, Pieplant, Da Huang
Rheum rhabarbarum

Family: Polygonaceae
Genus: Rheum (REE-um) (Info)
Species: rhabarbarum (ra-BAR-buh-rum) (Info)

Synonym:Rheum x cultorum
Synonym:Rheum rhaphonticum

30 members have or want this plant for trade.


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer

Grown for foliage

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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11 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive RosinaBloom On Nov 19, 2013, RosinaBloom from Waihi
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

Rhubarb is a much loved old plant - that's if ya like Rhubarb! It was planted by the old settlers, and it is still here. We often cut up the ripened red-green stalks, put them in a pot on a low heat with sugar and a little water, and let them cook gently. Very nice indeed with fresh cream - whipped or otherwise OR with ice-cream!

Neutral bjctbone On Apr 9, 2011, bjctbone from Nashville, TN wrote:

I bought a rhubarb plant last year here in Nashville, TN. I'm originally from Minneapolis, MN so I grew up with the stuff and agree, this stuff can't be killed. But I so loved when my Mom would make rhubarb bars. I amended the clay soil some to loosen things up and allow some roots to form. Anyways, the plant died off quickly in the Middle TN heat last year. However, this year, the plant has arisen from the dead. I'll keep you posted in the next few months to say how it is doing. I want rhubarb SO BAD!

Positive Volgardner On Jun 9, 2010, Volgardner from Knoxville, TN (Zone 7b) wrote:

I love Rhubarb, but since moving south to Knoxville TN, havent found anyone growing it. So I wonder, does it grow in this area. The plants I had in South Dakota could not be killed out by anything. I love tenacity.

Positive JonnaSudenius On Sep 21, 2009, JonnaSudenius from Bllingen
Belgium (Zone 6b) wrote:

The plant does set seed and the seed is viable

Positive Malus2006 On Dec 22, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

Cutting off the flower stalks may help store up the energy instead of wasting it all on the seeds.

Edit: Rhubarb also grows in zone 9 with some cultivars doing better than others.

Positive minnasnowtan On May 14, 2008, minnasnowtan from Braham, MN (Zone 3b) wrote:

Rhubarb is one of my favorite vegitables. As a child, I would sit on the edge of my mom's patch with a cup of sugar and pull a stem, dip it in the sugar, and eat it like it was candy. :D
One of my favorite ways to use rhubarb is to make it into a sauce along with fresh blueberries and sugar. This is wonderful on waffles, cakes, ice cream, or with just a spoonfull of whipped cream.
I have always been told that you should never pick it after the first (or 4th) of July, always pull it (never cut it), and to cover the plants with a thin layer manuer in the fall. Other than that, they require very little care.

Positive compostuser On Apr 20, 2008, compostuser from Bremerton, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Great addition to your garden. Rhubarb grows great in the Pacific Northwest. Easy to start from seed, but you have to wait two years before your first harvest.

Positive Half On Nov 26, 2007, Half from Minneapolis, MN wrote:

I have 2 huge rhubarb plants, infact I will be transplanting them in the spring, out of my veg garden and into a perennial bed. I get the flowers off when they first pop up, this helps keep the stalks tender. I will be splitting the roots and giving half of each one to my daughter. I am planting strawberries at the same time so about the time the rhubarb is ready for harvesting again the strawberries will be also. Strawberry rhubarb jam and pie are wonderful, rhubarb crisp is also very good. There are number of excellent dishes that can be made with it, mixed with other fruits can off set some of the tartness. It freezes very well. If the stalks have gotten woody boil the rhubarb and strain it, you still get the wonderful flavor, and can it be used in jam in place of the water, in jello in place of the water, in kool-aid in place of the water, raspberry lemonaid in place of the water, mixed in smoothies and juices, make sherbet, etc. Other than watering occationally it requires no work and the plant itself is very pretty.

Positive ndakotamom On Apr 4, 2006, ndakotamom from Grace City, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

Rhubarb is very common here in eastern North Dakota. It grows very easily in our zones 3 and 4. It is a plant that can take a lot of abuse and it just keeps coming back year after year. The stalks do not have to be large to harvest, in fact the larger they are the tougher they are. Up here we are told not to harvest after July 4, but you can sneak a few stalks if you need to. Rhubarb can be used in many recipes. My husband's favorite is a Rhubarb Custard Meringue dessert. Just remember to always cut all of the leaf off, as it is poisonous.

Positive calpsychik On Aug 18, 2004, calpsychik from Santa Cruz, CA wrote:

My grandfather gave me my first rhubarb root when I was 9 in Wisconsin. I went back home a few weeks ago and it was still there, reproducing like crazy, even though my mother doesn't water it. That rhubarb was tart and very flavorful. I grew rhubarb in California, and it was much milder. The flavor wasn't strong enough when I made strawberry-rhubarb jam. I'm trying another variety to see if it will have good flavor. (Some rhubarb varieties require a high chill, so I'll just have to see if it does well!)

Positive NatureWalker On Aug 7, 2004, NatureWalker from New York & Terrell, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

In Upper New York State; Rhubarb comes up at the same time as strawberries do; hence all of the stawberry-rhubarb pies; we also use maple syrup in it too.

And we always make sure we freeze some stawberries and rhubarb for later in the year, for pie-making/holiday season. Mmmmm... yummy!

Positive woodspirit1 On Aug 7, 2004, woodspirit1 from Lake Toxaway, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

I've never had them get over about 3-1/2 feet tall. Rhubarb is commonly made into a pie or cobbler with strawberries, which
is very tart. My Mother-in-law used bananas with rhubarb; it was less tart and very smooth. It's the only way I make it.

Neutral poppysue On Sep 3, 2001, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable which the large fleshy stalks are harvested for pies, jams, and preserves. It has a tart fruity taste that is prized by gourmet cooks. Rhubarb breaks doramncy in early spring and sends up dark green leaves that can be a foot accross or wider. The green leaves are poisonous but the purplish-red stalks can be harvested for many weeks.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Amesti, California
Santa Cruz, California
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Walsenburg, Colorado
West Haven, Connecticut
Wilmington, Delaware
Blackfoot, Idaho
Orofino, Idaho
Mackinaw, Illinois
Dubuque, Iowa
Dry Ridge, Kentucky
Prospect, Kentucky
Falmouth, Maine
Allen Park, Michigan
Gobles, Michigan
Braham, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota (2 reports)
Saint Cloud, Minnesota
Saint Louis, Missouri
Sparks, Nevada
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bolton Landing, New York
Deposit, New York
Jefferson, New York
West Kill, New York
Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Belfield, North Dakota
Medora, North Dakota
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Kingston, Rhode Island
West Warwick, Rhode Island
Sturgis, South Dakota
Nashville, Tennessee
Blacksburg, Virginia
Bremerton, Washington
Colville, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Brookfield, Wisconsin
Hudson, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin
Menasha, Wisconsin
Lovell, Wyoming

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