rubarb

Asked July 10, 2019, 8:01 AM EDT

My rubarb is 3 years old. It is very bushy a pretty but is not growing thick and big enough to harvest. Not how I remember it growing at my grandmas anyway. I read your response to another gal, you said they don't like too much water, and I do water it very day, but if I don't it shows by the leaves drooping.
I remember at my grandmas it grew the stems pretty thick, kinda like at the stores. Mine has a lot of stems, it's very bushy, and pretty, but the stems are not very thick.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
It's in full sun most of the day, we don't have a lot of high winds, I live in town here.
Thank you

Humboldt County Nevada

5 Responses

There are a few things I would look at first:
How much light?
What is the sun exposure?
What is the soil mix it is planted in and when was the mix last amended?
How often do you water?
Many times with rhubarb it comes down to sun and soil nutrients. Nutrients are a key especially when the plant is grown in a pot. The roots are very limited by the soil or potting soil mix in the small area provided.
Generally, they only require moderate watering and benefit from drying out a little between waterings. In our Nevada heat and sun, some afternoon shade can be beneficial. If you can get back to me with some of these answers we may be able to find a few simple solutions. I have also attached a few information sheets on rhubarb from states similar to ours.
https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2071&context=extension_curall http://sonomamg.ucanr.edu/The_Kitchen_Garden/Feature_Vegetables/Growing_Rhubarb/
https://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/pdf/8020.pdf



Thank you for your response and aditional reading. I appreciate that. I amend my soil each year in the barrels I use. I actually did ask my mom after I asked my question and she said I dont want store sized since they are genetically modefied. I use bonnie bell plant food for vegetables once a week. They get full sun on that side of the house in the morning until about noon when the sun is above and more in front of the house, and is blocked from being straight on by large trees, and then shade in the afternoon as it moves around the house from there. They are on the east side. Thank you.

One other issie I had this year was that this plant kept producing buds. I had to keep removing them. I removed 5 buds at the recomendation of my grandmother. She said it would use all it's energy on the flowers and not on the stalks. Please advise.

Depending on the age of your Rhubarb it is perfectly normal for bolting and certain varieties have more of a tendency. Age and heat are the typical factors the will cause a healthy Rhubabr to bolt. If you are not planning on harvesting during the summer months it is ok to let the plant flower. It will diminish the harvest for summer/fall but it will not injure the plant.
If the plant has been in the whiskey barrel for several year top dressing may not be enough for nutrients. It is important to remember soils are much warmer in a pot that in the ground and microbes and nutrients are limited in a pot versus garden soil. It may be time to divide your rhubarb this fall and rejuvenate the plant and the soil. Remember potting soil does not contain soil and will lose nutrient quickly. Try to use a garden mix that contains soil and add compost to the mix. This will be much heavier and if you are not moving the pot, it should not be an issue.

Thank you so much for everything, I greatly appreciate your time and knowledge. I will definitely move forward with some of your tips.