Plant Profile: Rhubarb

rhubarb in flowerAh, rhubarb. It makes a fabulously tart pie filling, a tasty compote ingredient, a striking specimen planting, and yes, it even grows Little Shop of Horrors-style flowers if you don’t mind sacrificing a season’s worth of stalks. Watch for snails and your plant will be as beautiful as it is tasty.

Common name: Rhubarb
Scientific name: Rheum x hybridium
Family: Polygonaceae
Origin: Asia
Type: Perennial, can be grown as annuals in mild-winter areas
Exposure: Full sun (light shade in hottest areas)
Height: 24-36″
Width: 24-48″
Growth rate: Fast
Water: Regular
Zones: 3-8
Foliage color: Dark green
Flower color: Pink/burgundy
Edible: Stalks only
Harvest: Varies, usually late spring and early fall in North America
Propagation: Rhizomes, division
WARNING: ALL parts of the plant except the stalk are poisonous. Be sure to trim all leaf parts from the stalks before cooking.

Looking for fun ways to use all those rosy stalks? Check out these online recipes: