Anyone out there grow Ornamental Rhubarb? Question...

christinmk z5b eastern WASeptember 9, 2011

This past spring I picked up a lovely looking Rheum palmatum var. tanguticum at a local plant sale. When I got it the plant had a couple large leaves plus a couple ones that unfurled a month or so later. After that, once it got hot out, the leaves began to yellow/brown/die off one by one. Now it is down to two leaves on the plant, with one starting to discolor.

With my other 'culinary' rhubarb it is normal for it to die back in summer and then put on new foliage later. Are the ornamental rheum the same? Should I expect the plant to put on more foliage after all the leaves die (which I kind of think they will)? Or does it sound more as if it were truly dying? The spot I have it in now is pretty good I think. It can dry out here, but I haven't let it since planting the rheum there. Gets some morning and filtered early afternoon sun, but shade the rest of the day. If you think it is not happy planted here I DO have a large wine barrel planter behind my shed that I could plant it in. It stays very cool and shady in this area and I would be sure to keep the planter well watered and mulched with compost.

Thanks for any info (and reassurance, lol!) you can give. ;-)

CMK

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Nevermore44 - 6a

thats interesting... i bought one early summer (zone 6 here). I dug a nice deep hole, filled with compost and good dirt. It was hot out when i planted. It threw up a few leaves.. then started to rot. The plant was done in a weeks time.

Are your plants dieing from the leaf down.. or leaf and stem at the same time?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 7:44PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

I think it is the whole leaf/stem at a time. I'm fairly certain it isn't rot since the area is gravel-y and has good drainage. I put in compost as well, so it can't be lack of nutrients. The only thing I can think of is that this guy likes it SUPER cool and moist and where I have it doesn't fit that requirement. Very interesting that yours had such problems as well. Any chance the roots are still viable?? Or is it completely rotted?
CMK

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 8:03PM
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punman(Zone 3)

I bought one this summer for the first time. It had two leaves. With time it grew a couple more and a couple shrivelled and died so I am now back to two leaves. It seems fine but was bought in the heat of summer. I have it 15 feet from "normal" rhubarb that thrives so I hope it is in a good place. It averages over 10 hours sun per day in the summer.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 9:37AM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Thanks punman. I do feel a little relief knowing others have had similar experiences! I know my ornamental rhubarb is native to cool regions of Asia, so maybe it our summer heat getting to it. Hopefully both of ours will eventually do good where they are planted!
CMK

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 11:47AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

I have the same ornamental rhubarb (for years) and mine has never been as robust as the culinary type. However it doesn't die out in the summer but goes through to fall. MIne haven't yellowed yet.

But we all know that for the first year, the same rules don't apply.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 3:49PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-gottagarden, thanks so much for input. Do you have yours in full shade? Is it in a full shade area?
CMK

    Bookmark   September 10, 2011 at 8:05PM
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Nevermore44 - 6a

After the leaves died down.. i could tell the crown was mushy. I pulled the whole plant and it was rotten completely. I dug a 3 foot hole when i planted it (read in a article they like to send deep roots)... so mine too couldn't have rotted from standing water.

I was thinking if it was just the heat that it wouldn't have been thriving at the nursery i bought it from. I am now thinking that the compost i placed it in was just too "fresh". I read in a book that some get a rot from some fungus. Going to try and hunt down seeds next year and give it another try.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2011 at 9:07AM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Mine are in full sun, I'm pretty sure they prefer sun but will be okay with some shade. Full shade would probably have them fade away . . .

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 6:32PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

Not sure if anyone is at all intersted in the outcome but...it lived!!! I am thrilled. I looked out last week and there was nothing, looked again yesterday and pink buds are welling up!

I actually DID end up moving the plant to the wine barrel planter behind the shed, where it is shady and cool. The last leaf died off soon after, but I decided to let it be and see if it would retun in fall or spring. So pleased it did! I wish I had a spot in the garden it would like, but at least it is living where it is- hopefully it won't mind life in a pot.

I will be interested to see if it goes thru the same die-back process come summer. Maybe that is the norm with this plant...
CMK

    Bookmark   March 26, 2012 at 3:02PM
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