Rhubarb in Maryland

homegroAugust 31, 2011

Anyone has any success in growing Rhubarb in Maryland, Virginia or anywhere further south? If so I would like to hear your experiences and tips. This is the third year my Rhubarb plants had died. It seems they died so predictably, always in late summer. The big healthy plants withered from the leaves, then the stems rot gradually. I was helpless in reviving them, it was not too dry nor too wet. I planted them in a well drain soil under partial shade, and I covered them with lots of compost. They grew well from small seedlinngs (in pots from local nurseries) to huge size plants with big stems for the last few months since early spring. I used to grew good ruhbarbs up north, and I realize the temperature and humanity here in Maryland is hard on them, but do I miss any tricks? Or should I give it up? Thanks in advance for any inputs.

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beeman_gardener(5)

Rhubarb always dies down in late summer! You should see a crown just beneath the surface which will sprout again in the spring. Quite normal.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 9:03PM
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homegro

Thanks Beeman, I wish that was the case. I thought that may be the case before, but nay, it never came back the following spring. You can tell from the way they died, the stems were rotted one by one and if you dig the soil around, nothing left, at the end, everything including the crown was gone. You are in zone 5, that could be normal, but, I am not sure that is the case where we are. Thanks for the thoughts though.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2011 at 10:12PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

What variety did you raise? Some may be better suited than others for you.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 2:44PM
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homegro

I believe it's Canadian Red, they are carried by local nurseries, Walmart,etc. year after year. I assume many people around here also grow them, that's why I am hoping that someone from our zone may have some good tips for growing or knowing what I might have missed. Thanks though, Wayne.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 3:32PM
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planatus(6)

At a high elevation in SW VA our rhubarb does great on a sunny north-facing slope. It's in a low, moist area but I still water it to keep it in stalk all summer. In winter and again in late spring (when I'm finished cutting for the freezer or giving it away), I topdress with Harmony 5-4-4 (processed turkey manure), and keep the root zone mulched with grass clippings, weathered sawdust, or both. Also apply a light dusting of wood ashes once or twice a winter. Don't know what variety they are, but they're less red than many I've seen. The plants were survivors from an old garden. We found them on a neglected hillside and transplanted them to the garden. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2011 at 7:14PM
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homegro

Thanks, Planatus. That was helpful. There are a few points to be made. Though the name tag from nursery was "Canada Red" and it looked red when they are young and tiny in early spring. When they grew bigger, the huge stems were mostly green. I don't know whether wood ashes or sawdust would make difference, but mine was growing great without them up until two weeks ago. As I indicated, I planted my rhubarb in partial shade area, but it gets afternoon sun which can be hard on them during hottest months. Since you planted yours on a north-facing slope, One thing I may try differntly next year is to plant them so it gets morning sun and afternoon shade. I will see if this will make a difference. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2011 at 10:50AM
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