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What Is The Pod That Forms On Some Rhubarb Plants?…

Judi Asked

What is the pod that forms on some rhubarb plants? Is it a seed sack that can be planted for a new rhubarb crop?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Judy: Rhubarb is a long-lived, cool-season perennial. Yes, what you are referring to sounds like a flowering seed head. These seed pods are commonly found on certain varieties of rhubarb, especially the ornamental ones. These flowering seed stalks are typically found among older, mature plants as well as when they become overcrowded or in need of nutrients. It is possible to propagate rhubarb from seed but it will not come true to seed, meaning it will have different characteristics from the plant that you are currently growing. This can be a good or a bad thing and for this reason rhubarb is typically propagated by division, but you don’t know until you try. If you want to try to grow from seed, collect the seeds, soak them overnight in water, and then pot them up into small peat pots or any small container with good drainage. Fill the container with a well-drained potting soil and keep them relatively moist, not sopping wet but do not allow the soil to completely dry out either. Place the seeds in a bright space with good filtered light. They should germinate in seven to 10 days. As the plants grow you can transplant them into a larger container, being careful not to damage the roots. When the plants are large enough to put in the garden, you will want to gradually work them into the full sun so the foliage does not burn. Treat them as you would any new planting. You should be able to harvest in two growing seasons. If you are growing rhubarb as a vegetable and not an ornamental plant, the seed stalks should be removed as soon as you notice them because they will take energy away from producing the edible stalks (petioles). Allowing the rhubarb to flower will reduce the vigor of the plant.

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