Reviving Rhubarb Plants: Tips and Tricks for a Bountiful Harvest

If you’re a fan of rhubarb, you know how disappointing it is when your plants start to wilt and die. Fortunately, it’s possible to revive rhubarb plants with a little bit of effort. Here are some tips to help you bring your rhubarb back to life.

First, make sure your rhubarb is getting enough water. Rhubarb plants need consistent moisture to thrive, so if your soil is dry, it’s time to water. Give your plants a good soak, making sure the water reaches the roots. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot.

What To Do When Reviving Rhubarb Plants

Assessing the Plant

Before you can begin reviving your rhubarb plant, you need to assess its current condition. This will help you determine what steps to take to bring it back to life.

Inspecting the Root System

The first thing you should do is inspect the root system of your rhubarb plant. Dig around the base of the plant and check for any signs of damage or disease. Look for roots that are brown, mushy, or have a foul odor. These are signs that the plant is not healthy and may not be able to be revived.

If the roots look healthy, check to see if they are overcrowded. Rhubarb plants need plenty of space to grow, so if the roots are tightly packed, you may need to divide the plant and replant it in a larger area.

Checking for Pests and Diseases

Next, you should check your rhubarb plant for any signs of pests or diseases. Look for holes in the leaves, discoloration, or unusual growths. These can all be signs of a problem.

Common pests that can affect rhubarb plants include aphids, slugs, and snails. If you find any of these pests, you can try using an insecticidal soap or a natural pest control method to get rid of them.

Diseases that can affect rhubarb plants include crown rot, leaf spot, and powdery mildew. If you notice any of these diseases, you may need to remove the affected leaves or treat the plant with a fungicide.

By inspecting the root system and checking for pests and diseases, you can get a better idea of the condition of your rhubarb plant and what steps you need to take to revive it.

Reviving the Plant

If your rhubarb plant is looking a bit sad and wilted, don’t worry – there are steps you can take to revive it and get it back to its former glory. Here are some tips to help you get started.


The first step in reviving a rhubarb plant is to prune it. Cut off any dead or damaged leaves and stems, and remove any flowers that have started to bloom. This will help the plant focus its energy on growing new, healthy leaves and stems.


Once your rhubarb plant has been pruned, it’s time to fertilize it. Use a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Spread the fertilizer around the base of the plant, and water it in well.


Rhubarb plants need plenty of water to thrive, so make sure you’re watering yours regularly. Aim to give it at least an inch of water per week, either through rainfall or by watering it yourself. Be careful not to overwater it, though – rhubarb plants don’t like to sit in water.


Finally, consider mulching your rhubarb plant to help it retain moisture and keep weeds at bay. Use a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or shredded leaves, and spread it around the base of the plant. This will also help regulate the soil temperature, which is important for rhubarb plants.

By following these simple steps, you should be able to revive your rhubarb plant and get it back to its healthy, thriving self in no time.


To keep your rhubarb plants healthy and productive, you need to perform regular maintenance tasks. Here are some tips to help you maintain your rhubarb plants.

Regular Watering and Fertilizing

Rhubarb plants require regular watering and fertilizing to thrive. Water your plants deeply once a week, especially during dry spells. Make sure the soil is moist but not waterlogged.

Fertilize your plants with a balanced fertilizer in the spring and again in midsummer. Use a fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer according to the package instructions.


Mulching is an excellent way to conserve moisture and suppress weeds around your rhubarb plants. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or compost, around the base of your plants. Make sure the mulch is not touching the stems of the plants.

Dividing and Transplanting

Over time, your rhubarb plants may become crowded and need to be divided. To divide your plants, dig up the entire clump and separate it into smaller sections. Each section should have at least one healthy crown and a good root system.

Transplant the sections to a new location or back into the original bed. Make sure the new planting hole is large enough to accommodate the roots without bending or crowding them.

By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your rhubarb plants healthy and productive for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I divide my rhubarb crowns?

You should divide your rhubarb crowns every 4-5 years. The best time to do this is in early spring or late fall. Dividing your rhubarb plants will help prevent overcrowding and ensure healthy growth.

What are some common problems when growing rhubarb?

Some common problems when growing rhubarb include crown rot, fungal diseases, and insect infestations. To prevent these issues, make sure your plants are well-drained and receive adequate sunlight. You can also use organic fungicides and insecticides to protect your plants.

How can I grow thick stalks on my rhubarb plants?

To grow thick stalks on your rhubarb plants, make sure they are well-fed and watered. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer in the spring and water your plants deeply once a week. You can also add compost or aged manure to the soil to improve its fertility.

Can rhubarb plants be revived if they are dying?

Yes, rhubarb plants can be revived if they are dying. First, identify the cause of the problem. If it’s due to a lack of nutrients, water, or sunlight, address those issues. You can also prune away any dead or damaged leaves and stalks. If your plant is severely damaged, you may need to replant it.

What are some reasons why a rhubarb plant may not be thriving?

Some reasons why a rhubarb plant may not be thriving include poor soil quality, insufficient sunlight, lack of water, and insect or disease infestations. Check your plant for any signs of damage or disease and address those issues accordingly.

Do coffee grounds have any benefits for rhubarb plants?

Yes, coffee grounds can benefit rhubarb plants. They are a good source of nitrogen, which can help promote healthy growth. However, it’s important not to overdo it. Too much coffee grounds can make the soil too acidic and harm your plants. Use coffee grounds sparingly and mix them into the soil well.