23. January 2019

Growing rhubarb from seed

It's time to grow rhubarb! Growing rhubarb from seed is a great way to get plenty of plants for the rhubarb patch in your garden. The seed viability is really good!

The small rhubarb plants are large enough to be replanted from the container I sowed them in.

 

Some plants are just so fun to grow that it's a challenge not to do it all the time. Rhubarb is definitely one of those guilty pleasures in my garden. Have you tried growing rhubarb from seed?

Most people add to their rhubarb patch by buying plants at the garden center (there are usually a lot of varieties out there you can try) or sharing rhubarb plants with friends and acquaintances. But it's really easy to grow rhubarb from seed too. And it's a lot of fun, try it!

I always take the size and color of the rhubarb into consideration when I grow it here at home. I have grown both regular edible rhubarb and ornamental rhubarb in my garden so far. The ornamental rhubarb was sown in fall. I grow the plants outdoors and then I move them to a pallet collar bed with a lid for a while before planting them in the final spot.

 

 

Glaskins – just like glass

A common edible rhubarb variety that you can grow from seed is the variety Victoria, but I also like Glaskins Perpetual. This is an heirloom variety with a lower amount of oxalic acid than many other varieties, which might be helpful for anyone with a sensitive stomach. The variety has dark red fast-growing stalks. It's supposed to produce a harvest already in the first year, but I have only dared to try first year stalks twice when growing it myself.

 

Två plastbyttor med pyttesmå plantor av rabarber. Growing rhubarb from seed, two plastic containers with tiny rhubarb plants.

Almost every single seed in this sowing germinated. This is my experience from previous years too, the seed viability is generally very good with rhubarb.

 

 

Närbild på tråg med små plantor av rabarber. Growing rhubarb from seed, close-up of a trough with little rhubarb plants.

The lovely little stalks are hard to resist! I had to taste them of course. They are both mild and slightly tart at the same time.

 

The information on the back of the seed packet says that you should sow the rhubarb in spring, but I have had great results sowing it in winter in my polytunnel too. I just put the seeds in a plastic container filled with soil and they start growing as soon as it's hot enough. Just like any other winter sowing that is. The pictures in this post are from last year when the seed viability was close to 100 percent. I got a lot of plants and I gave many of them away as gifts.

More about winter sowing: A guide to winter sowing

 

Pre-sprouted rhubarb grows very quickly. The plants are just like little works of art with their light green leaves and lovely red/pink stalks.

I'm planning on doing a larger rhubarb patch on the north side of my garden, almost like a rhubarb hedge. I need a lot of plants to do this, and growing rhubarb from seed seemed like the perfect solution. If you don't have room for more rhubarb in your garden, you could still try to grow it just for fun and then give the plants away. It's a great gift. Good luck growing rhubarb from seed!
/Sara Bäckmo

 

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