Can You Eat Rhubarb After It Flowers? A Complete Guide

If you’re a fan of tart flavors, then rhubarb is definitely worth exploring. This striking red plant with its celery-like stems and large leaves is quite the sight in any garden. But there’s more to this vegetable than meets the eye. Rhubarb has a flowering stage which can be confusing for those who want to harvest it for consumption. But fear not, as we explore this and other aspects of growing and enjoying rhubarb plants in this comprehensive article.

Whether you’re an experienced gardener or just starting out, understanding how to manage your rhubarb plants for optimal growth is key to ensuring bountiful harvests every year. Furthermore, if you love getting creative in the kitchen, we’ll also be sharing some delicious and unique ways to use rhubarb beyond baking pies.

So let’s dive into all things rhubarb!

Understanding Rhubarb and Its Flowering Stage

If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably heard of rhubarb. This perennial vegetable is known for its tart taste and use in pies and other desserts. However, there’s more to this plant than just its flavor. In this section, we’ll explore the basics of rhubarb and what happens during its flowering stage.

What is Rhubarb?

Rhubarb is a vegetable that belongs to the same family as sorrel and buckwheat. It has long stalks with large leaves on top, similar to celery but with a reddish color. While it’s commonly known as a dessert ingredient, it can also be used in savory dishes or even pickled.

What Happens When Rhubarb Flowers?

Most gardeners prefer not to let their rhubarb plants flower because it signals the end of the harvest season. When the plant starts producing flowers, it shifts focus from producing tasty stalks to setting seeds instead. As a result, the quality and quantity of edible rhubarb decreases.

What Causes Rhubarb to Flower?

Rhubarb plants typically only start flowering after they’re several years old. The exact age can vary depending on growing conditions such as soil quality and temperature, but most plants will start flowering around year three or four.

  • The impact of flowering on rhubarb plants:

The real concern for gardeners arises when the plant reaches its flowering stage because it may decrease the size of the yield next season if not correctly managed; though some argue that harvesting regularly can delay or stop this process altogether. [^1]

[^1]: Thompson and Morgan. (2021). Rhubarb: A Gardener’s Guide and Plant Profile. Retrieved from https: //www. thompson-morgan. com/p/rhubarb-pink-victoria/tm01683TM

Can You Eat Rhubarb After It Flowers?

Rhubarb is commonly grown for its thick, tart stalks that are often used in desserts like pies and crisps. However, it’s not uncommon to see rhubarb plants flower during the growing season. This can raise questions about whether or not the plant is still edible.

Effects of Flowering on Rhubarb Stalks and Leaves

When a rhubarb plant flowers, it sends up a tall stalk with small pink or white flowers at the top. As the plant puts energy into producing flowers and seeds, the stalks can become tough and woody, making them less desirable for eating.

The leaves of a flowering rhubarb plant may also contain higher levels of oxalic acid, which can be toxic when consumed in large quantities. While small amounts of oxalic acid won’t cause harm, it’s generally recommended to avoid eating large quantities of rhubarb leaves regardless of whether or not the plant has flowered.

Safety of Eating Rhubarb After It Flowers

If you’re wondering if eating rhubarb after it has started to flower is safe, the answer is typically yes – as long as you harvest before the stalks get too tough. The general consensus among gardeners is that harvesting should cease once flowers have begun because flavors are lost but there aren’t significant health concerns.

To ensure your safety when consuming rhubarb harvested from flowering plants:

  • Only eat well-cultivated varieties and prepare stems properly by discarding any woody portions
  • Avoid consuming large quantities lettuce-shaped leaves since they are high on oxalic acid. Eat only young green fleshy stem parts without leaves attached.
  • Avoid harvesting late in the season or when the stalks are very thick and woody. These stalks won’t be as enjoyable to eat regardless of whether or not the plant has flowered.

Tips for Harvesting Rhubarb After It Flowers

If your rhubarb plants have already begun to flower, that’s okay! You can still harvest and use the stalks before they become too tough. The key is to act quickly and harvest as much as you can before the quality begins to deteriorate:

  • Harvest stalks promptly when flowering begins, twposing adverse impact if consumed.
  • Keep an eye on how fast their condition change. Idealy consukers should know difference between slow maturity process from growth cycle stoppage.
  • When harvesting, give a gentle pull with one hand while holding/pulling foliage upwards. This reduces vreakage at stem bases.

In conclusion, eating rhubarb after it flowers is safe, so long as you are careful about what parts you consume and when you harvest them. By following these tips above, you can enjoy delicious rhubarb from your garden all summer long.

Managing Rhubarb Plants for Optimal Growth

Rhubarb is a perennial vegetable that requires proper care to promote healthy growth and optimal yield. Below are some effective techniques for managing rhubarb plants:

Preventing Rhubarb from Flowering

  • When you allow rhubarb plants to produce flowers, their energy will go towards producing seeds at the expense of edible stalks.
  • To prevent flowering, snap or cut off the flower stem as close to the base as possible. Do so before it blooms.

Pruning Rhubarb for Better Growth

  • Cut back any old or dead foliage and remove it when new growth emerges in spring. This helps with disease control and increases sunlight penetration, which can lead to better stalk development.
  • Avoid cutting into the crown since this can harm the plant. Instead, only trim away leaves that have yellowed or browned.

Fertilizing Rhubarb Plants

  • Rhubarb prefers fertile, well-draining soil that’s high in organic matter. Before planting new rhubarbs it’s always good practice to add compost or aged manure below ground level while preparing beds.
  • You can also apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer early in spring after harvesting your first crop i. e. fish emulsion, seaweed extract etc., but be careful not to overdo it as too much Nitrogen might lead to lush foliage growth at the expense of the stems and may cause a decrease in sweetness naturally provided by sunlight exposure on stems during stem elongation phase called breaking dormancy which occurs once soil reaches adequate warmth around 40-50 degree Fahrenheit temp range typically goes off between late February throughout April depending upon climatic conditions of your region.

Watering and Soil Requirements for Rhubarb

  • Rhubarb requires even moisture throughout the growing season, but not waterlogged soil which may lead to root rot.
  • If you live in an area with low rainfall, water deeply once or twice a week to add about one inch of water per watering session.
  • To promote healthy rhubarbs it is always a good practice to mulch around the crown area i. e., stem base with organic matter like straws, leaves, etc., 2-4 inches deep so as to preserve soil moisture and prevent weed growth. Come springtime, replenish mulch as required. This will also help keep temperatures cool and suppress weeds.

With these simple tips, you can manage and care for your rhubarb plants properly. Take some time out this summer and watch as they produce stalks that are healthy, juicy, and delicious!

Creative Ways to Enjoy Rhubarb

Rhubarb is a versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of ways. Here are some creative ideas for enjoying rhubarb:

Delicious Rhubarb Recipes

  • Rhubarb crisp: Mix sliced rhubarb with sugar and cornstarch, top with a blend of oats, flour, brown sugar, and butter, then bake until golden and bubbly.
  • Rhubarb compote: Cook diced rhubarb with sugar and orange zest until soft and sweetened. Serve over ice cream or yogurt.
  • Rhubarb muffins: Fold chopped rhubarb into your favorite muffin recipe for a tangy twist on breakfast.

How to Store Rhubarb for Later Use

  • Fresh: Keep unwashed stalks refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to two weeks.
  • Frozen:

Preserving Rhubarbs for Year-Round Enjoyment

  • Pickled:

    Other Creative Uses For Rhubarbs

    In addition to making delicious desserts or pickling it as accompaniments. Rhubard can be a unique ingredient and bring delightful flavors to lots of different types of dishes! Try chopping it up into a salad or sautéing it with onions to make a savory sauce for meat.


    In conclusion, while growing your own rhubarb may seem daunting at first, it’s actually an easy-to-grow perennial that offers plenty of benefits both in the garden and on your plate. Whether enjoyed fresh or cooked up in a variety of recipes – sweet or savory – there are plenty of reasons why rhubarb deserves a place in every garden.


    When should I harvest my rhubarbs?

    You can start harvesting when stalks reach 10-15 inches long .

    How do I store my harvested Rhubarbs?

    Keep it refrigerated within 2 hours after harvesting so that they stay fresh longer.

    Can eating too much Rhubard make me sick?

    Rhubard contains oxalic acid which might make you sick if consumed excessively but necessary precautions will counteract its effects

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