Growing Rhubarb in Canberra
Rhubarb is a really hardy perennial plant that will keep producing luscious stems for years. Potted plants are available most of the year. Rhubarb is easy to grow in the Canberra region if you shield it from the harshest sun.
What do i need?
A sunny place is best - at least half a day - but shelter from harsh afternoon Summer sun.
Good drainage - no wet feet.
Soil well prepared with lots of Cow Manure, Compost and Fertiliser - OR a good quality Potting Mix (Martins Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Mix).
Avoid lime - they prefer an acidic soil.
Generous mulch - to conserve water.
Regular deep watering.
Generous, regular fertiliser.
How do i grow Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a very heavy feeder, so prepare the planting bed in advance with lots of Cow Manure, Compost and a complete plant food - we recommend Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser. A raised bed is ideal or you can mound the soil to ensure good drainage. Canberra soils are usually acidic, which suits Rhubarb just fine, and you might need Healthy Earth Clay Breaker to deal with heavy clay soils.
Plant potted Rhubarb at any time. Space plants 80-90cms apart. Water in with Healthy Earth Liquid Fertiliser and a Seasol solution to help them settle.
Mulch with Pea Straw, Lucerne, Sugar Cane or similar. Water regularly and deeply during the growing season, especially when hot and/or windy, and fertilise monthly with Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser. Do not harvest in the first year - give your Rhubarb a chance to establish.
Pick stems from the outside, sharply pulling sideways and down. Leave at least 4 stems on the plant to keep it growing. Do not eat the leaves, they are poisonous! Remove flower stalks as they appear.
Rhubarb will be dormant in winter before bouncing back in spring. Tidy up dead leaves and lightly dig in Cow Manure and Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser in late winter.
You can grow Rhubarb in large containers, but remember they are big plants needing a lot of water.
Stem colour can vary between plants from red to green, especially if raised from seed. Don’t worry, because they will all taste similar when cooked. Red-stemmed plants will often go a stronger red in cool conditions and sometimes more green in hot conditions. Most named varieties are red stemmed, e.g. Sydney Crimson, Victoria, Ever Red - so choose these if colour is important. Green-stemmed plants will not change their colour.
Divide plants every few years to keep them productive, keeping the most vigorous outer buds from the clump to replant in freshly prepared soil.
- Healthy Earth All Purpose Fertiliser
- Healthy Earth Instant Clay Breaker
- Healthy Earth Liquid Fertiliser
- Cow Manure
- Compost - Landtasia or Martins
- Mulch - Pea Straw or Sugar Cane
- Martins Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Mix