Why are My Rhubarb Stalks so Short?

 ... rhubarb has short stalks ... I need more length on the stalks ...

Question #1:

 ... My rhubarb has short stalks but beautiful leaves.

 I need more length on the stalks.  Is there anything I could do or feed it to produce better stalks?  Thank you for your help!

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In my experience with rhubarb growing, I sometimes have the same situation; the leaves are large and mature, but the rhubarb stalks seem to be kind of short.

What I do is wait a bit before harvesting the rhubarb and the stalks will grow longer.

If the rhubarb patch is dry, give the plants a few good, deep waterings, and you will notice the stalks will eventually grow longer.

If you harvest the short stalks, you will miss out on a greater yield of rhubarb!

Please let me know if this works for you as well!

Short Rhubarb StalksWhat can cause rhubarb stalks to be short?

Question #2:

 ... I have rhubarb in the ground for several years.  This year I have lots of leaves, but very little stalk.  I live in New Mexico (around 7,000 ft) so it doesn't get really hot.  Any thoughts on why the stalks are very short?


I am not sure why your rhubarb has so many leaves, and very little stalks. My one thought would be "water". Is it a dry season where you live?

Although rhubarb does not usually require too much effort at all, it does require enough regular deep waterings. If the season is unusually dry as compared to other years, this condition may cause shorter stalks.

One year I went to pick the rhubarb in my own patch, and I could not believe the size of the leaves (large) in comparison to the short stalks. It was during a very dry and hot period. I really soaked the patch with a few deep watering, and I did notice that the stalks grew a little more.

Rhubarb is kind of odd that way ... when the leaves are big and healthy one thinks it is time to harvest the patch ... but really if the stalks are too short I am now leaving the patch a little longer, and if we do not receive a good deep rain watering, I water the patch well over several days, and then harvest the rhubarb. 

Hope this helps, I cannot think of anything else that may cause this. 

Please do let me know what happens ... and what you do ... that will help future inquirers to Rhubarb-Central.com that may encounter the same problem.


Thank you for your response.  Yes it has been very hot and dry, more so than usual this early in the year.  I will try extra watering and see if that helps!

Question #3:

 ... I transplanted my rhubarb 4 years ago. It comes up but does not get to be a very large plant.  Literally only about 5-6 inches high.  What may be the problem?


As to the issue of your rhubarb plant not growing very large, my question would be, does it receive plenty of water? If you are experiencing a dry season, be sure to water your rhubarb with a few DEEP watering early in the morning a few times a week. This is especially important when the plant has grown to a large size ... it needs moisture to keep growing longer stalks.

My own rhubarb plants sometimes also do not grow very long stalks. Usually when the years that this happens are very dry summers. I do find that if I allow the rhubarb to grow for another couple of weeks, that the stalks do grow longer. Even if the leaves are really large and full grown, you can still leave the rhubarb harvest for a bit to allow the stalks to grow longer.

Hope this helps!

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