What is happening to my rhubarb?

linnea56(z5 IL)August 10, 2013

I planted this at the beginning of June. It was a big vigorous plant, in a gallon pot. It was going gangbusters. I was paying attention to water carefully while it got established. Then a few weeks ago, there was one 90 degree weekend. I didn't check the garden for only 2 days, then I saw it was wilted and the leaves were turning yellow. Other plants in the same bed were fine. The decline was very rapid. Only a few days after this shot, you could see nothing above ground but dead stems.

See the other rhubarb plant to its upper left? That was planted weeks after the first one, and it's fine!

Is there any chance it will return? Is it likely due to the one hot weekend? I didn't think rhubarb needed to be babied so much. My folks grew it and never did much of anything. I posted on here and did not get the impression it was that touchy. Thanks for your advice.

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Water it and watch it. It still seems to have a little life to it and it just might throw out a few new leaves till next year. So it is newly transplanted? They don't like living in pots and they are quite hardy. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:12PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I watered it well immediately after I saw this. Now, though, there is nothing visible left above ground. It's like nothing was planted there at all. I placed a stake there so I don't plant anything else in that place.

It was about a month or 5 weeks in the ground when the decline happened.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:32PM
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It just might be gone, that has happened to me with transplanted rhubarb. The more I coddled it, the worse it got. It used to grow like a weed in the middle of nowhere in Maine! You'll know next spring or else once all of the die-back is finished it just might sprout. Did you dig up or around the root to see if it was mush? Mrs. G

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Some strains have a very short season before going dormant. I would suggest this is one. You have marked the site, wait till spring, after all you have nothing to lose as it's too late to replace this year.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 9:34PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

This happened to me with my Valentine a few years ago. I thought it was a goner but it came back the next spring just fine. It was sort of stunted the following year but it's going fine now. Just keep it watered and don't coddle it like MrsG47 said. Definitely don't fertilize it now.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:40PM
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Although vigorous in the 1-gallon pot, it may have not had a good taproot or root system. Next year will tell if it is a winner, give it an extra layer of mulch this winter for protection.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:58PM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

Dormant?! I didnâÂÂt know they WENT dormant! Though my parents grew it I donâÂÂt recall details like that. It didnâÂÂt seem like they ever did any care: it was out in a field so never was watered; only receiving rain. âÂÂGrow like a weed in the middle of nowhereâ pretty much describes it. I donâÂÂt know what kind it was, other than it had red stems. I wanted something similar so bought red too. I didnâÂÂt do any exploratory digging.

The variety IS Valentine. ItâÂÂs encouraging to think that maybe the decline was just it going dormant. It didnâÂÂt bloom, though. The other one that still looks healthy in the picture is a different kind⦠I have not written it down, though I still have the tag.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:43AM
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Mine did that in a drought, but came back the next year. They seem to like clay soil and lots of compost.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 1:45PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

I have never had my McDonald or Valentine bloom, but the rhubarb that came from my grandmother does bloom. I think hers was probably Victoria.

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Rhubarb

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 5:52PM
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