Flowering rhubarb is a common site at this time of year. If the rhubarb flower is left on the plant, the root will be weakened & the stalks will be weak and thin.
Some people like to see rhubarb flowers in the garden.
But if you are after rhubarb for the kitchen, the rhubarb flowers should be removed as soon as the flower buds are seen.
To remove the flower stem:
- Hold the flowering-stalk close to the ground
- Pull upwards twisting the stalk
The tendency to bolting depends on:
- variety – Victoria is more prone to flowering than other varieties
- maturity – older plants are more likely to flower than younger ones
- weather – prolonged high temperatures and drought promote flowering
- nutrition – lack of nutrients makes the plant want to seed
To encourage leaf growth and discourage flowering of rhubarb:
* divide the crowns every 4-5 years to keep them young
* water during the harvesting period if in drought conditions
* feed with well rotted manure or fertiliser in early spring and autumn
* do not totally strip the root – always leave 4 or 5 stalks.
* stop pulling stalks after July, to allow the leaves to feed the root
* do not force each crown more than once every two years
* provide an open, sunny site in the vegetable garden
Although flowering rhubarb looks pretty, it is not good for the production of rhubarb to eat.