Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

How do I grow rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a tough, relatively trouble-free long-lived perennial plant. Also called pie plant, most people grow rhubarb in or next to their vegetable gardens for its' edible leaf stems. You can also grow it in a perennial flower bed for it's bold foliage and tall flower stalks.

Rhubarb plants grow best in sunny locations on well-drained soil. They can remain in the same spot for years. Prepare the soil well and plant new roots in April. Mix in lots of compost or rotted animal manure to a depth of at least one foot, preferably 18 inches. Use about one bushel of compost or manure per plant and mix it thoroughly with existing soil. Plant rhubarb so that the top of the root-piece is about 2 inches below the soil surface. Plants should be at least 3 feet apart in the row, and 4 feet between rows. Add a 3 inch layer of compost, dry grass clippings, partially decayed wood chips, or some other organic mulch materials to conserve soil moisture. The mulch will discourage weed growth, maintain soil temperature, and provide a slow release source of plant nutrients.

If you grow rhubarb in well-prepared soil, and maintain an organic mulch cover, extra fertilizer will not be needed. Light fertilizing once a year, however, will improve vigor and yields.