grow rhubarb

Grow Rhubarb From Seed Tip For Beginner’s

So, you’ve decided to grow rhubarbs for your next dessert recipes. How should you start? Is this vegetable species easy to plant?

Gardeners prefer growing rhubarb from seed. The whole process isn’t too complicated or challenging, but beginners may find it confusing.

We will cover everything in this post. Let’s check our step-by-step instructions to yield a plentiful harvest! 

growing rhubarb from seed
growing rhubarb from seed

How To Grow Rhubarb From Seed?

Rhubarb is easy to grow from seeds. Depending on your local weather, rhubarb can be a perennial or an annual. So we will discuss both methods. But before starting, let’s warm up with some highlights about this species:

  • Genus name: Rheum rhabarbarum
  • Common name: Rhubarb
  • Plant type: Vegetable
  • Sun: Full sun to partial shade
  • Height: 1-3 feet
  • Width: 2-4 feet
  • Hardiness zones: 3-9 

Step 1: Prepare the seeds

Soak the seeds in water first. This preparation step can help them germinate and root sooner. 

Then, mix the potting soil with moss, compost, and vermiculite. Rhubarbs thrive in slightly acidic soil with pH levels of 6.0 to 6.8. You can test with a pH test kit for this step. 

The pots you grow rhubarb in should be small, around two to three inches, and have drainage holes at the bottom.

Fill the chosen pots with the potting soil and use your finger to dig a 1/2-inch hold in each pot. 

Place two rhubarb seeds in the hole and cover them with soil and water. The soil should be moist but avoid drowning the seeds. 

During germination, keep your seeds warm. The ideal temperature is not higher than 70 °F. If you want to speed up this phase, use a heating mat or heating table.  

how to grow rhubarb
how to grow rhubarb

Step 2: Grow rhubarb as a perennial

If you live in hardiness zones of 1 to 8, grow rhubarbs as perennials. These zones include places in the north or center of the U.S, such as Indiana, Maine, or North Dakota. 

After germinating, protect your seedlings against cold temperatures. They are sensitive in this stage, so you can place a protective sheet for about two months before the final frost comes. 

It’s ideal for transplanting the seedlings about two weeks before the final frost. At this time, they should be around four inches tall.

However, since you sow the seeds indoors, you have to harden off the seedlings for them to get used to the external elements, like rain and sun. 

Hardening off means bringing the pots outside for several hours a day. Do it in seven days, and your plants are ready to live outside. 

To transplant, gently turn the pots upside down and remove the seedlings. Then, transport them to a shady area. 

For the plants to flourish, keep the soil moist. You can use mulch for an even moisture distribution.  

can i grow rhubarb in a pot
can i grow rhubarb in a pot

Step 3: Grow rhubarb as an annual

Southern areas, like Texas, Florida, and California, are zones 9 or above. In such places, you can grow rhubarbs as annuals. 

Start sowing your seeds in August. After soaking the seeds and planting them in soil-filled pots, find a shady place for them because rhubarbs don’t thrive in extreme heat.

After around 30 days in the pots, move the seedlings to the garden. They should be around four inches tall at this point. Turn the pots upside down gradually, allowing the plant and root to fall out.

grow rhubarb in containers
grow rhubarb in containers

How To Harvest Rhubarb?

Since you may grow your rhubarbs in two different ways, there will be two methods for harvesting:


Before you begin harvesting, grow rhubarb plant at least two years. And when it’s time, pull some stalks off at the soil’s surface. Take just a few of them at a time to keep your plants healthy. 


If you have annual rhubarbs, harvest them between March and May. Your zones may have scorching summers that make it hard for the vegetables to thrive.  

where does rhubarb grow
where does rhubarb grow

How To Force Rhubarb?

You can force rhubarbs to have an earlier crop with sweet and pink shoots. The simplest forcing method is to exclude light from the winter. 

There are several ways to block the light. You can use an upturned bin to cover the plants for them to retain heat. Gardeners like decorative ceramic forcers too because it adds beauty to their gardens. 

In some cases, especially in icy areas, you can use manure to provide plants with more heat. When the forcer starts to sprout shoots, check on your plants daily to see how they’re doing. 

As they seek light, shoots can grow rapidly and should be ready for harvesting in two to four weeks.

how long does rhubarb take to grow
how long does rhubarb take to grow

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What month do you plant rhubarb?

The best times to sow rhubarb crowns and buds are in the fall or spring when the soil is moist and warm.

If you plan to grow rhubarb in a pot, go for any time of the year. Just make sure that the soil is dry and not frozen.

2. Where does rhubarb grow best?

This species thrives best in regions where the ground freezes throughout the winter. For plants to develop a crop of stems, a prolonged chilling period at below-freezing temperatures is necessary.

3. How do I make my rhubarb stalks thicker?

You can enrich your soil with organic manure or compost. Additionally, apply organic fertilizers for a more stable nutrient balance. 

4. Why is my rhubarb so skinny?

There are several reasons for thin rhubarbs, including:

  • Your plants are too young. 
  • You don’t give the plants enough space to grow. 
  • The soil nutrients are insufficient. 
  • Your plants don’t receive adequate care. 
can rhubarb grow in shade
can rhubarb grow in shade


It’s such a great experience to have your favorite vegetables in your garden. If you like the sweetness of rhubarbs, do not miss anything we have shared with you in this grow rhubarb guide. 

While growing rhubarb from seed, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any problems. Thank you for reading and see you in the next post! 


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