Rhubarb is a hardy and comparatively robust plant, provided you choose the right planting time and the right site conditions. Because the heavy feeder can only thrive if there are enough nutrients and space. Our instructions show what is important when planting in addition to the time and which tips are helpful.

site conditions

Rhubarb – also known as Rheum rhabarbarum in botanical terminology – is a so-called heavy feeder. This means that the crop requires large amounts of nutrients. This factor must also be taken into account when choosing a location or preparing the planting site. In addition, there are a few specifics to watch out for. In addition, the following site conditions should be met

  • Rhubarb needs a lot of light, semi-sunny and sunny locations are ideal
  • a sheltered location ensures good health and high yield
  • the space requirement and is one square meter per plant
  • Due to root lengths of up to two meters, the planting hole must be at least 70 or 80 centimeters

substrate and nutrients

Another decisive factor for the rhubarb, in addition to sufficient light, protection and the deepest possible planting hole, is the chosen soil. This should be fresh, profound and loose as well as nutritious. A good basis is normal garden soil, which can be obtained directly when digging the grave hole. It is important here that there was no other heavy feeder at the location beforehand. Because then the substrate must first recover and be enriched with new nutrients. In addition, the following points must be observed:

  • Dig the soil to a depth of at least 70 to 80 centimeters
  • loosen the substrate
  • very dense soil with a small amount of sand and gravel
  • Remove roots and stones
  • Mix in horn shavings and well-rotted manure or compost
  • Put the substrate back into the planting hole
Tip: If the soil is very loamy and tends to compact, you can increase the proportion of sand or gravel or add another, loose substrate. For example, vegetable soil or bedding soil as well as substrates for potted plants are suitable.

Plant step by step

If the ideal site conditions and the desired planting time have been selected and the soil prepared, you can easily use the rhubarb. The following guide will help:

  1. Sufficient soil is filled at the bottom of the excavated planting hole so that the plant is flush with the surface of the earth after it has been planted.
  2. During filling, the substrate should be gently tapped in layers to prevent it from sinking later.
  3. A plant stake is now placed in the middle of the planting hole to stabilize the Rheum rhabarbarum.
  4. The plant is loosely tied to the plant stake in order to be able to hold it. Alternatively, you can simply hold the rhubarb with one hand.
  5. With the free hand or both hands, soil is now heaped up and also repeatedly tapped until the plant stands on its own without any problems.
  6. Finally, all that is missing is a copious watering to encourage the growth of the roots.

Planting time of rhubarb

The best time to plant rhubarb is late summer or early fall, before the first frost. This allows the plant to root until spring, which means that a good yield can be expected in the first year.

However, it is also possible to plant the Rheum rhabarbarum in spring. The period from March to May is well suited. However, young plants in particular should be slightly protected from late frost. This can be done, for example, with a special plant fleece that is laid over the plant and weighed down all around. Another advantage of this measure is that the rhubarb is darkened at the same time. On the one hand, this ensures that it ripens earlier in the year.

On the other hand, the rods become straighter and longer. There is also an improvement in taste, the vegetables then contain less acid. However, the earlier sprouting costs the plant some strength, so the measure should not be carried out every year. In the case of late frosts, you no longer have to protect the plant after the first year.

Note: Planting the rhubarb in a hill bed or raised bed has the advantage that the harvest time is earlier in the year. This allows stems to be harvested for a longer period of time, which in turn increases the overall yield.

Implement and share

A few years after planting, the soil is exhausted and the nutrient content is too low for the heavy-feeding Rheum rhabarbarum. Therefore, a conversion must take place. This can also be done in spring or fall. The right time for this measure has come after about seven years. In any case, the plant should not be in the same place for longer than ten years.

This also applies if the site conditions are optimal and the plant is fertilized regularly. In addition to the planting time of rhubarb, the depth of the planting hole must also be taken into account. Because the older the rhubarb is, the deeper the roots it could form. A good guide for root depth is flower height.

The plant can also be divided during transplanting. To do this, the root is severed in the middle with a sharp knife and cut into two equal parts. The interfaces should then be allowed to dry for a few hours. This reduces the risk of rot. Then plant the daughter plants separately from each other at a distance of at least one meter and care for them as before.

Tip: If the plant is damaged during division or transplanting, such as torn leaves or snapped stems, you can use them directly as fertilizer for the plants. For this purpose, they are only slightly crushed and placed directly on the ground or slightly incorporated.

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