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I live in South Carolina (37 C or 100 F everyday in July), but I LOVE Rhubarb. I planted 4 rhubarb plants in the shade on the north side of my house. 3/4 have died and the last is struggling. They get lots of water. Is there anything else I can do to stimulate growth? Would potting them and bringing them indoors help?

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Shortly after asking this question (3 wks ago), I build a Dirt wall around the rhubarb plants (2-3 inches tall, and 14 inches in diameter), which I have filled with around 3-4 gallons per plant everyday. The sandy clay takes some patients to wait for the water to soak in (before adding the rest of the water in small increments) and the soil is still moist the next day. With this extra attention the rhubarb has begun doing noticeably better--one has added 2 new leaves/stalks (it only had 3 before) and the other is still recovering. Thanks Mike Perry for the "ideas link" in your comment. –  JoeHobbit Aug 21 '11 at 22:15
    
The method in my last comment has led to rhubarb rust: gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/2089/… Next Summer I will likely try drip irrigation. –  JoeHobbit Sep 30 '11 at 17:34
    
Ok, I potted the rhubarb and it is growing in my air-conditioned sunroom. Perhapse that will encourage it's growth this summer. –  JoeHobbit May 18 '12 at 19:11
    
My sun-room doesn't get enough sunlight for rhubarb. I went to a local nursery that sells rhubarb and the plants were thriving outside in 90F heat. The only difference: they had a very porous soil vs. the clay I had tried growing mine in. I am now successfully growing rhubarb outside in 80-90 degree F heat. The soil MUST be porous. (+ daily watering) –  JoeHobbit Jan 22 '13 at 3:35

5 Answers 5

For North Texas (similarly hot, but less humid) it is recommended that rhubarb is grown as an annual.

I tried it once but it was a dismal failure - one (of two roots) sprouted but didn't get past about 6in. I chose a shady spot, but the root stock (from a big box garden place) was probably poor quality. I think there's a good reason much of the local population don't know what it is (I've had check-out people at the grocers not know what it is) - and that is, it doesn't grow well at all in the hotter climates.

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Totally agree! with "winwaed", since moving over here, Missouri (5 years ago) I've only seen 1 person growing Rhubarb (with only ok! success) & not seen it sold anywhere :( As a kid back in the UK we always had a Rhubarb patch & I remember I couldn't get enough homemade Rhubarb Crumble. I would love to grow some here (Zone 5-6) & might give it a go next year, but I'm not holding out much hope for good success... –  Mike Perry Aug 2 '11 at 14:31
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^That said^, this article may offer you some hope & ideas, things to try. Good Luck :) –  Mike Perry Aug 2 '11 at 14:33
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It makes me very sad to think that there are parts of the country where people can't grow rhubarb, where the grocers don't even know what rhubarb is. –  JSBձոգչ Aug 2 '11 at 17:14
    
Well the checkout lady didn't know but I'm sure some manager or stock keeper did. It was sad looking rhubarb - I doubt they were selling much. –  winwaed Aug 2 '11 at 20:28

My sun-room doesn't get enough sunlight for rhubarb. I went to a local nursery that sells rhubarb and the plants were thriving outside in 90F heat. The only difference: they had a very porous soil vs. the clay I had tried growing mine in. I am now successfully growing rhubarb outside in 80-90 degree F heat. The soil MUST be porous. (+ daily watering)

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I grow it in the UK where it thrives. I'd suggest putting it in a shady area under some trees or shrubs. Maybe you could grow it in late winter / spring and autumn as an annual? It needs cold dormancy (induce in late summer by putting the root in a bag and in a freezer). Then in late summer when it is cooling down - plant it and harvest in late autumn / early winter and maybe through till spring. When it starts getting hot again, cut it back, dig it up and store it in a fridge until late summer when it should go in the freezer for a week or two. I'm not sure if this will work, but Rhubarb is very cold hardy and could be forced to grow in a cooler part of thr year IMO. It won't thrive in heat though, so don't have it un the ground during the middle of summer. I'm not sure if it'll work, but it's worth a try. Rhubarb roots are dirt cheap and can be divided every few years.

Your problem is growing rhubarb in a warm climate, mine is growing grapes in a cool climate. Rhubarb is easy to grow here - put it in the ground and forget about it.

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When I grew rhubarb in England, it thrived without any help. Of course, the climate in England is temperate.

It doesn't grow very well at all in climates approaching sub-tropical and warmer. Even if there is a noticeable cold season, rhubarb will find it difficult to thrive when summers are hot. The humidity level might be important too.

I've attempted to grow rhubarb in two different parts of Tennessee. In the mountains of Northeast TN, at about 2000 feet elevation, I found that rhubarb planted in the spring seemed to thrive for a while, but by August it had all but melted into the ground. I would think that the NW corner of South Carolina might experience something similar, the rest of the state being worse for rhubarb.

In West TN, a few miles from the Mississippi at about 300ft elevation, where winters are less cold and summers tropically hot and humid, it gave up the ghost much more rapidly.

Growing it as an annual might be possible, but an important point about rhubarb (to me) is that it's around for many years. I've given up growing it, with despair.

I suspect that the climate of the area around San Francisco, California, would be good for rhubarb.... also Maine, Michigan, northern Illinois...

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I'm recently retired here in southern Brasil from Manitoba, Canada. I too miss rhubarb crumble, and of course nobody ever has heard of rhubarb here. I brought some seeds from Canada, and started the plants outside in a planter in mid winter (July here). They grew amazingly well! I even managed to savour a rhubarb crumble, then the weather got really hot, and they fizzled out and disappeared. I don't think the plant likes warm soil. I'm going to try again and this time watering only with cold water, maybe that might help. I have pictures of the plants; they were awesome!

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make sure the soil is porous and does not hold moisture: clays and such are bad for rhubarb. See also my comments below the question. –  JoeHobbit Mar 8 '13 at 18:27

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