After my post on Monster Rhubarb!, I received several responses as to whether or not this was a good sign or the end of my rhubarb for the season before it actually began. I read up on it a bit, as I had no idea it wasn’t supposed to flower (or seed in this case) and found out all was not lost.
In order to salvage the rhubarb that was growing and to encourage new growth throughout the next month or so, all I had to do was cut back the flowers/seeds.
The reason my plants went to seed so quickly was probably due to the unseasonably warm weather we were experiencing. Other reasons could be:
- Maturity: The older a plant, the more often it will go to seed. This is the second year for my rhubarb, so I doubt maturity was a factor.
- Variety: Certain varieties of rhubarb plants seed more often than others. I have no idea what type of rhubarb I have so this could be a factor, but who knows.
- Stress: If rhubarb suffers lack of water, animal damage, pests, or nutrient deprivation, it can cause it to seed. None of these were a factor with my plants.
Apparently going to seed isn’t always a bad thing, because in my case it proves my plants are healthy. The reason I want to cut the seed stalks off though is because once it goes to seed, the plant stops producing new usable stalks of rhubarb. I’ll definitely be keeping a close eye on these plants for the next month or so just so I can get as much home-grown rhubarb as possible. After cutting the flowering stalks back, a few days later there were again flowering stalks protruding from the plants. I quickly snipped these away.
I love gardening and although I have a lot to learn, the learning process is one of the things I love most about it, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.