Why is my Rhubarb
Green in Color Instead of Red?

 ... rhubarb plants are plants are green with only a hint of red at the bottom ...

Question #1:

... all the stalks on my 4 monster plants are green with only a hint of red at the bottom.  I planted them three years ago.  Am I doing something wrong or do I have a different variety?

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Many varieties of rhubarb have stalks that are actually more green than red.

You may have already visited here, but this is link to the more common types of rhubarb:  https://www.rhubarb-central.com/rhubarb-varieties.html

Most of the varieties of rhubarb which I grow are also more green than red, but this has really no bearing on the flavour...some people are of the opinion that the redder rhubarb is sweeter and more tender - that may be true to some degree, but ANY shade of rhubarb is tart.

There are also methods to make your rhubarb more red when making a rhubarb recipe: https://www.rhubarb-central.com/red-rhubarb.html

The beautiful red rhubarb stalks that you often see in photos is mostly rhubarb that has been forced-grown indoors (especially in the U.K.).

See:  https://www.rhubarb-central.com/forcing-rhubarb.html   and    https://www.rhubarb-central.com/yorkshire-forced-rhubarb.html

Green Rhubarb StalksThe color of your rhubarb stalks is mostly determined by the variety!

Question #2:

Why does my rhubarb not turn pink or red?


There are many different varieties of rhubarb, some yield stalks that are more pink or red than others.

See:  https://www.rhubarb-central.com/rhubarb-varieties.html

Also, the tender pink stalks you often see in pictures are often grown in hot houses or forcing sheds.

My rhubarb is quite green, with some red and pink, but the taste is really very close to rhubarb that is more red in colour.

When I stew my rhubarb I make it a crimson red by adding strawberry or raspberry flavoured gelatin, as I describe on this page on my website:

https://www.rhubarb-central.com/stewed-rhubarb.html It works great and I do this recipe again and again - the family loves it as a dessert OR a side dish to any dinner!

Also, here is a page describing tips for how to made your green rhubarb red:


Question #3:

My rhubarb stalks never turn red! It's been growing for 4 years and we have never harvested it. It's already going to seed. Can I harvest green stalks?


YES you can harvest the rhubarb even though it is green.

I assume there is some (albeit very little) red on the stalks ... but definitely you can harvest rhubarb from greenish stalks.

In fact, it does not matter how many years you wait, the rhubarb will not turn more red. It is the variety of rhubarb which you are growing which will determine how red or pink the rhubarb will grow.

See:  https://www.rhubarb-central.com/rhubarb-varieties.html

The beautiful red rhubarb you see in many images of rhubarb is usually grown in a "hot house", and is not "field" rhubarb that is grown by most home gardeners. Also, in the United Kingdom, for example there is deep pink and red tender rhubarb stalks available, but these too are most often grown in special "growing sheds" and are often "forced".

See: https://www.rhubarb-central.com/forcing-rhubarb.html

I am guessing the variety you are growing is "Victoria". This is a very common type of rhubarb grown in US and in Canada. This variety is a very hardy variety and produces (in most cases) a VERY large harvest.

I myself have grown mostly "Victoria" rhubarb. I grow several other varieties as well, some of which are more red, but they also provide a less abundant harvest.

The good news is that there is a few things you can do to "make your rhubarb more red".

One thing you can do is to make a rhubarb sauce (or stew) and add a package of strawberry or raspberry "jello" or gelatin crystals. The jello helps to make the sauce a nice consistency, and it makes it a beautiful red that no rhubarb red can match! ;)

I do this with MOST of my rhubarb, both fresh and frozen. This rhubarb sauce I use as a side to ANY dinner (similar to applesauce), as a topping for pudding, ice cream, sorbet, pound cake, and cheesecake, and I use it to make smoothies and parfaits! And more!

Just freeze the rhubarb you cannot use now, and you have a store for the rest of the year!

See: https://www.rhubarb-central.com/freezing-rhubarb.html

And See:  https://www.rhubarb-central.com/storing-rhubarb-refrigerator.html

Another thing you can do is to add food colouring to recipes where you really prefer the outcome to be a little more red.

See: https://www.rhubarb-central.com/rhubarb-tips.html

Rhubarb is such an easy veggie to grow ... it grows with very little care, it can grow on almost any size property, and it's healthy and frugal! See:   https://www.rhubarb-central.com/easiest-vegetable-to-grow.html

AND, when you notice a seed pod /flower stalk come up between the rhubarb leaves, it is best to remove it and discard it. Removing this seed pod or flower will help to prevent it from taking needed "energy" away from the rhubarb plant.

It's not too late to remove it now, and ENJOY YOUR RHUBARB HARVEST!

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