How To Grow Rhubarb In Colorado

Rhubarb grows well in Colorado, and it is a tasty vegetable that is somewhat difficult to grow. It can be grown practically anywhere, including in the front yard or backyard. Here are some plants to help you start your rhubarb patch!

Rhubarb is an easy, low-maintenance plant that you can grow almost anywhere. It prefers well-drained, acidic soil and needs lots of sunlight. Rhubarb is also a nutrient accumulator, meaning that it takes up lots of nutrients from the soil as it grows.

The leaves can even be harvested for compost to add nutrients back into the soil. Plant rhubarb root sections in late fall or early spring. The plants have shallow roots and do not like to wet their feet, so it is best to plant them on mounds or in raised beds. You can look at the local nursery nearby to see if they sell plants or root sections specifically suited for your area.

How To Grow Rhubarb In Colorado

How To Grow Rhubarb In Colorado

When you plant rhubarb, do not bury the root section too deep. You are expected to water the plants regularly, so they need room to spread out. Rhubarb usually does not survive autumn frosts, so move it inside if you live in an area with extreme temperatures in the fall or early spring.

In cooler regions like Colorado, you can start rhubarb indoors and transplant it outside at a later date. You will want to transplant it about eight weeks before your last frost date to bear lots of fruit.

If you are about to plant this delicious vegetable for the first time, you may want to know what is in store. Rhubarb is a fruit crop that needs care and has a low failure rate.

The following are the standard requirements when growing rhubarb plant

Water and temperature requirements

Rhubarb needs much less water than most other plants because it stores moisture within its large leaves. Rhubarb requires a long, cool growing season to produce the large leaves necessary for the stalks. Large plants can produce up to 20 pounds of stalks per year.

Rhubarb thrives in temperate zones (66-72F/19-22C) and prefers partial shade to full sunlight. It is drought tolerant, but it grows better with ample water. However, it is adapted to winter lows down to −15C (5F). Ideal growth conditions for rhubarb are around if possible some rainy days during the summer months will help maintain moist soil and grow healthier plants.

It is propagated by rhizomes, which are thickened roots. Rhizomes are typically planted in spring from dormant roots, broken off of parent plants up to several years old.


Rhubarb needs soil with plenty of organic matter, with a pH between 6-7. Good soil will help regulate the fertilizer needed to maintain optimum growth and nutrient intake. If your Rhubarb plants grow in containers, they will require frequent fertilizing throughout their life cycle to keep them healthy.

Rhubarb requires a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. If you grow plants in containers, fertilize each time you water the plant. The soil should be evenly moist but not saturated before each watering.

Your Rhubarb plants will need more fertilizer in the summer months because they require energy to flower and grow new stalks and leaves.

It is best to fertilize in small amounts several times throughout the growing season than to fertilize in significant amounts only once or twice a year. A small amount of fertilizer or fish emulsion is at a rate of 1/8th cup for every 10 feet of row, applied every 2-3 weeks, or less frequently at half that rate.

A general recommendation to fertilize in the spring is an application of slow-release fertilizer. You can spread large applications over the entire growing season, with a maximum of 1/2 cup per plant. As the rhubarb grows, add organic matter like grass clippings, leaves, and compost to the bed. That will help feed your plants as they grow.

Common diseases and their prevention methods

How To Grow Rhubarb In Colorado


It is caused by a fungus that attacks the leaves and stalks of rhubarb plants. The leaves may first appear yellow and distorted from the infection before turning brown and falling off the plant. If left uncontrolled, this disease will kill the entire plant within six months after becoming infected. You can control it by pruning out infected leaves or applying fungicides to the soil around each rhubarb plant.

Rhizoctonia Crown Rot

It is caused by a fungal infection that attacks the crowns of rhubarb plants. This disease causes brown circular rings in the stalk while leaves turn yellow and fall off. If left untreated, the rhubarb plant will eventually die due to being killed by toxic levels of plant hormones called gibberellins. You can best control it by seeding new plants only where the old ones can be removed or dug out by hand.

Powdery Mildew

It is caused by a fungus infection which attacks the stalks and leaves of rhubarb plants. The leaves appear yellow then brown as healthy ones turn yellow and fall off. You can control the powdery mildew by pruning damaged leaves and applying antifungal sprays to the plant.

Verticillium Wilt

It is caused by a soilborne fungus (Verticillium alboatrum) that attacks the stalks and roots of rhubarb plants. The tops of the plants will wilt and collapse as it keeps growing and becomes infected with more spores. This disease can also affect carrots, celery, tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries, and pumpkins. If you cannot save the rhubarb from this fatal fungal infection, it will eventually die on its own if left untreated. The best way to prevent this disease is by adding compost and mulching around the plant.

How To Grow Rhubarb In Colorado: Final thoughts

Rhubarb needs a lot of sun and well-draining, fertile soil. That is especially critical when planting rhubarb in Colorado. This plant thrives best in areas that have a spring climate, which makes growing rhubarb in Colorado challenging because it is typically much warmer here during the summer.

Rhubarb plants are not the most frost tolerant, so you want to ensure that your plants can withstand warm summers and cold winters.