unhealthy rhubarb

Asked May 8, 2020, 11:56 AM EDT

Last fall we transplanted two rhubarbs from a clayey part of the garden into a raised bed with amended soil, just like our other beds where crops thrive. The stalks of the rhubarb are spindly, the leaves flecked with yellow spots, the stem splay to the side rather than growing upright. New leaves appear, but grow very slowly. I'm wondering if I should discard these plants and start over with new plants or whether there is something I can do to help them. Many thanks for your help on this. Dianne Langtry

Multnomah County Oregon

1 Response

Thank you for choosing Ask an Expert for help with your rhubarb. The weak growth may simply be a result of transplanting. Newly-transplanted rhubarb is generally given a year to get its feet under it. Continue to give it good care and next year it should take of more strongly.

I believe I see a bit of grey/white fuzz which could indicate a fungus attack. This disease can be discouraged by good air circulation around the plant.

The little white spots on the leaves could be leafhoppers or thrips. Check out the underside of the leaves to see whether you can see any insects building up in your garden bed.

For lots more information on growing rhubarb, see this Oregon Extension Service brochure, Growing Your Own Rhubarb. See here: https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec797

Have a good gardening year,