In my last post on ” The Joys of Organic Rhubarb” I talk about how it is necessary to divide your plants very three or four years.
I also showed you the wonderful red stems of a new plant I had purchased last season.
I was anxious to have more than one of this plant, as this particular cultivar has beautiful red stems and excellent flavour, but didn’t really want to wait several years for it to be big enough for me to divide it.
So when the plant developed a flower stem in early autumn I did something quite drastic.
I cut the flower stem back to ground level and then removed all the leaves.
The plant didn’t die as you may have suspected.
By removing the flower stem I had removed the single growing point of the plant and by removing all the leaves I had sent the plant into “survive or die” mode.
As the plant was quite healthy it had enough reserves to develop four suckers.
I was ecstatic with this result. It meant I was going to be able to divide the plant and produce four new plants in just 12 months.
So to prepare the plant for division I fertilised it with Powerfeed to promote leaf growth.
Once the suckers had two leaves each I divided the plant.
I did this during winter, so there was no problem with damaging the plant as long as I could manage to get some roots on each division.
What I did
- I dug up the whole plant making the cut really wide and deep to ensure I retained as much root area as possible.
- I then washed the roots clean of dirt to expose the root system.
- The new growth points were evenly spaced around the crown so I then simply took an old serrated bread knife and cut the crown into quarters with each quarter having some roots and a growing point with a couple of leaves.
- I replanted these into soil, pre prepared with well rooted manure and compost.
- I watered them in with seasol and did follow up applications of seasol once a week for three weeks.
- Now I have four new rhubarb plants they will give me enough stems to harvest a feed from every few weeks over the spring and summer.
- I will feed and water these plants all growing season and will divide the healthiest of them next winter and then each subsequent year I will divide another plant to ensure I always have young vigorous plants.
So if you have a favourite rhubarb plant why not try dividing it. It is a cheap and easy way to increase your plant numbers.
For more information on starting your productive backyard, check out the website.
If you are dividing your Rhubarb plants, I would love you to let me know about it via my Facebook Page, Pinterest or Instagram!