Rhubarb Tip of the Week

Rhubarb 'Stockbridge Arrow' (Spring Planting)

Rheum x hybridum

Rhubarb ‘Stockbridge Arrow’ has an increasing reputation of as one of the best modern rhubarb varieties available. The long, thick stems are a strong cardinal red colour, topped with distinctive arrow shaped leaves. The stems of this Yorkshire bred variety are also easy to pull. Height: 60cm (24”). Spread: 120cm (48”).

These young plants will quickly mature, resulting in crowns big enough to harvest from 2 years after planting.

  • Rhubarb suffers from few diseases. Crown rot is the main threat, particularly if soil conditions are wet. The fungal infection occurs at the base of the stalks where crowns turn brown and soften.
  • Plants suffering from rot should be dug up and destroyed immediately. To avoid crown rot, make sure rhubarb is planted in fertile, well-drained, weed-free soil.

Divide your Rhubarb

Big clumps of Rhubarb die out in the middle,producing less over time. Dig and divide now. It's a tough job that will involve collateral damage but rhubarb is a survivor. Use a sharp spade and your weight to slice the crown into several pieces, each with at least one pink bud, cutting away dead and unproductive bits. Dig in generous quantities of garden compost before replanting with the buds just below the surface.

The Guardian Weekend 9th October 2010