Whoops: Rhubarb plant is blooming already!

linnea56(z5 IL)May 12, 2014

I have not gotten to the back yard in a few days. I was really shocked to see the larger plant was already throwing up a big flowerhead. I bought 2 potted last year, both pretty large; one gallon, the other slightly smaller.

I was assuming I could harvest a stalk or 2 this year, if they were thick enough. I was waiting for the stems to get longer or more numerous first.

Isntt there some reason why you should not harvest stalks after bloom starts? Thanks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jbraun_gw

I cut all of the flower heads off before they bloomed. My sister HAD rhubarb. After it bloomed the parent plant died.

Mine is only 2 years old and started from seed. When my strawberries are ripe in a few weeks I'm going to harvest some rhubarb also.

I'm in z5 in Mo close to I 70.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larry_gene

No, there is no reason you can't harvest rhubarb after or during bloom, but you should get rid of that bloom stalk as soon as possible.

Cannot tell from your post if the plants are still potted; if so, the stress could have caused bloom.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

My parents grew them for years, but I don't recall the details. I should cut the flower stalk off? I somehow thought that they bloomed much later.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larry_gene

The blooms can appear anytime from spring through summer. Often many dozens of blooms can be seen in local commercial rhubarb fields near here, didn't see any during a drive-by last Sunday, but that field may be well-tended and the blooms removed.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thewallawallaian89(7a)

What does the bloom do exactly? I have one big rhubarb growing and I havent a clue what to do with it. >.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

No, they were both planted in the ground immediately after purchase last year. The bigger in early June, the smaller in early July.

I am guessing the flower stalk must drain a lot of energy from the plant that could be devoted to leaves, stems, and roots.

As a general rule, they should always be cut off?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larry_gene

Like many plants, the bloom will set seed and make more plants, like jbraun mentioned above. Sometimes the bloom will weaken the original plant.
------------
"I have one big rhubarb growing and I havent a clue what to do with it."--you realize the stalks are edible? Or, you don't like rhubarb?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larry_gene

Yes, for the home gardener with one or a few plants who intends to harvest the stalks for eating, the entire bloom stalk should be removed, cut it off 2 or 3 inches above the ground.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
clarkinks(5b)

My plants always bloomed and then died. I would cut off the bloom

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 5:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimmy56_gw

How can you tell which is the bloom,This is my first year.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

It'll be obvious. Google up some pictures and you'll see. All rhubarb can flower but not all rhubarb does. Mine never has yet and its about 20 years old. It's in deep, moist, clayey soil in dappled shade which I think helps.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrsg47(7)

My red rhubarb never turns red! I think it is too shaded by my fruit trees. I'll remove the flowering 'knobs' today. They are so strange looking. The plant is over seven years old grows big but the stalks never turn red. It is not a green rhubarb. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 10:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

Yes, the bloom stalk is obvious. Even for someone who has not seen one in years, if ever. Straight up, big puffy ball on the end with multiple flower buds forming. Mine gets sun almost all day.

Thanks so much for the help. Off with its head!

As far as harvesting is concerned, the bigger plant, the one that is blooming, has short, thick leaf stalks,. The smaller, a different variety, has thinner. Should I use just the thick ones, and leave the thinner?

Both of mine are supposed to be red, but they are not very red.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
brookw_gw

Many varieties are worse about blooming than others. Victoria, IMO, is the worst. It's always green, but it is reliable. Valentine makes an amazing thick, red stalk w/few flower heads; however, it's hard to find and expensive. Canada Red and MacDonald are pretty good too. My favorite tho is an heirloom from my grandmother. It is small in comparison to most rhubarbs but offers up a thin, red stalk that is very sweet and flavorful.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mrsg47(7)

I believe my rhubard that never turns red is a Victoria. I've had the thing in the ground for quite a few years. I can still eat the stalks if they are green? I hope so! Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

The colour of the stalk makes no difference to the edibility. Green is perfectly safe. I don't know what variety mine is but it looks like this:

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larry_gene

I have two unknown varieties, the clumps are over 25 years old, a bloom stalk comes out about every 5 years. The left clump has mostly green stalks and the right has red. The red clump gets slightly more shade.


Shown after thorough harvest, just newer upright stalks remain.
-----------------------
Some newer plantings will have thin stalks until the clump matures, or they may stay thin due to growing conditions and poor soil. The thin stalks are fine if they are firm (small stalks would be quicker to dehydrate and become spongy). Rhubarb in most recipes gets diced up anyway. If your diced rhubarb is around 1/4 inch, you may need to reduce cooking or baking time from what the recipe calls for.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 12:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
linnea56(z5 IL)

My stalks are stubby by comparison. Maybe 8 inches from the crown to the base of the leaf. The one with thick stalks (which was the larger plant when purchased) is Valentine, the one with thinner stalks is Crimson Red.

I thought I should wait til the stalks get longer. Will they?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 2:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
larry_gene

I've never timed stalks out from sprout to full size (I would guess about 3 weeks), but if any one stalk is not noticeably longer after a week's time, it will not grow more.

Your plants are young and should not be heavily harvested. Once clumps are mature and have a dozen or so stalks, up to 1/2 of these should be harvested soon after maturity, forcing more (potentially larger) stalks to sprout (even if you have no use for that harvest), that keeps the plant productive into Labor Day (regular watering required). If you would only be using rhubarb in the spring, 1 or 2 harvests, then you can just let the plant be until autumn, discarding all decaying stalks/leaves that lay flat.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 11:31PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Are these roots that are forming on a callery pear cutting in water?
As you may know, i took cuttings of a flowering pear...
tlbean2004
Blackberry Winter Survival 2015
I finished snowplowing yet again today here in South...
calfee20
Raising Blackberries For Fun and Profit-Prime Jim
I stumbled across this video on Prime Jim blackberries....
2010champsbcs
How does well water with Rust affect pH?
We use well water with lots of rust in it. Will it...
Helen Zone 6 Ohio
Calling all Sweetcrisp owners!!!
Dear Sweetcrisp owners, Over here in Australia we are...
raadster
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™