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Rhubarb Crowns


Plant your crowns as soon as possible after receipt, 1.2m (4ft) apart. Rhubarb will tolerate full sun or partial shade but should be planted in well drained soil.
If soil conditions are very wet or frozen plant each crown individually in a 20cm (8in) container, using a multi-purpose compost and position in a sheltered spot until your soil is in better condition.
Improve the soil structure by thorough digging before planting, ideally to a depth of about 45cm (18in) - two spades deep. Mix in plenty of well rotted manure or compost.
Soak the crown in water for 1-2 hours, then plant so as to leave the top bud just level with the soil surface. Apply rootgrow™ mycorrhizal fungi directly to the crown before planting - this will help the plant to establish quickly. Firm well and water in thoroughly.


Keep the soil around the crown moist throughout the first growing season. In later years only water during prolonged dry spells, drenching thoroughly no more than once a week. Container grown rhubarb will need more regular watering and should never be allowed to dry out.

Weeding & Mulching

Keep the area around the crown free of weeds, particularly during its first year. An annual mulch of well rotted compost will greatly improve moisture retention and soil structure, and help suppress unwanted weeds.


Do not pull any stalks during the first year. In subsequent years pull the stronger stalks from each crown, leaving immature stalks to grow on for later. To pull a stalk, grasp it near the base and pull down and away from the crown whilst twisting it to one side.


For really early succulent red stalks the crown may be ‘forced’. To do this, cover with a thick layer of straw or an upturned bucket in December and pull the stalks when they reach about 30cm (1ft) long.


Feed liberally in spring with a high nitrogen fertilizer.

Pests & Diseases

Rhubarb is generally trouble-free.

Further Information

For further information refer to RHS Growing Fruit by Harry Baker. Useful information can also be found on the RHS website.