Grown for the tart flavor of its edible stalks, rhubarb (Rheum x cultorum) is a staple cool-season crop that grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8. It is picked primarily in spring when the stalks taste best, but can be harvested into summer. Consider other factors, too, when harvesting rhubarb, including the plant's age and the appearance of the leaves and stalks.
Rhubarb takes three years to mature and its stalks should not be harvested during its first two years in the garden. Harvest your first crop of rhubarb over a four-week period in early spring of its third year. From fourth year onward, harvest the leaves for eight to 10 weeks in spring.
What to Look For
Rhubarb stalks provide clues about when to harvest with their size and color. Harvest-ready stalks are 10 to 15 inches long with a diameter of 1/2 to 1 inch (Ref 3, "Rhubarb"). Varieties such as "Canada Red" (Rheum x cultorum "Canada Red") develop a red stalk at maturity while "Victoria" rhubarb (Rheum x cultorum "Victoria") has a speckled stalk that fades to green at the tip.
- Photo Credit jlmcloughlin/iStock/Getty Images
How to Grow Rhubarb
Rhubarb is one of the few perennial vegetables. It favors cool climates, but in territory it likes (USDA zone 8 and colder)...
How to Cook Fresh Rhubarb
In much of the United States, the earliest reliable sign of spring isn't that first robin arriving on your lawn. Instead, it's...
How to Transplant Rhubarb Plants
Transplanting rhubarb (Rheum x cultorum or Rheum rhabarbarum) gives fading and overgrown plants a new lease on life. A perennial vegetable that...
How to Care for a Rhubarb Plant
Although rhubarb does not require as much care as other plants, if you provide proper care, your plant will produce better stalks...
How to Plant Rhubarb in Containers
Rhubarb is a perennial that is normally grown in the ground. It is possible to plant rhubarb in a large container. The...
How to Remove a Highlighter Stain From Jeans
Hitting the books hard to study for exams often means many late nights of work. Getting sleepy comes with the territory. Highlighting...
When to Split Rhubarb Plants?
Rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is a vegetable used for making pies, pastries, jams and sauces. Two sweet varieties are Canada Red and Valentine....