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RHEUM x hybridum

Image of Rheum x hybridum

Jessie Keith

Family

Polygonaceae

Botanical Name

RHEUM x hybridum

Plant Common Name

Hybrid Garden Rhubarb, Rhubarb

General Description

Hybrid garden rhubarb is a large, vigorous, clumping perennial. Its complicated parentage includes species of Rheum that are native from eastern Europe to China. It is grown in the ornamental garden for its huge crinkly leaves on tall reddish stems and for its dense frothy clusters of small white flowers on tall thick stalks. In the vegetable garden it is grown for its tart, somewhat sweet leaf stalks. Only the leaf stalks are edible. All other parts of the plant are highly toxic.

Rhubarb grows best in moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil and full or partial sun, but it will grow on clay soil. Harvest the leaf stalks in spring, sparing enough leaves to sustain the plant. If the plant is being grown as an edible, remove flower stalks as they appear. The plant spreads by adding new roots to its often massive central root. It is easily multiplied by dividing the roots, making sure that each division has at least one bud. It is rarely if ever harmed by rabbits. Rhubarb is very difficult to dig out once established because its main roots are thick and deep. Almost any fragment left in the ground will sprout and make a new plant. The plant therefore should be introduced in the perennial garden with caution.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 7

  • Sunset Zone

    2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    2'-5' / 0.6m - 1.5m

  • Width

    4'-8' / 1.2m - 2.4m

  • Bloom Time

    Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin, Eastern Asia, India, Nepal, China

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Ivory

  • Fruit Color

    Brown, Chocolate

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No