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Red rhubarb leaves

figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
Hi all. This is the first year I've tried growing rhubarb, and was given 3 crowns which were planted up in about late February. All has seemed to be going fine, but today I've noticed that quite a few of the leaves on all plants have turned bright red. Have googled it, and the likely cause seams to be some leaf disease which will eventually finish the plants off. Is there anyone that can give me any better news? The plants themselves look healthy - in a technicolour sort of way.


  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    Hi figrat. Rhubarb does not like to be planted too deep . I usualy force a clump of mine, a differant one each year . This  sometimes alters the colour of the leaves , Ive had a few pinkish leaves this year I put it down to being forced . What I would do is dig up the clump and replant it in a differant spot or in a large container . My friend always grows hers in home made pots using old tyers. she puts about 4 together uses this and tops with well rotted manure or chicken manure pellets. She swears by this method .

    Myself I wouldnt fancy it though she swears blind it does not taste rubbery !

  • SaskRobSaskRob Posts: 1

    I am having the same problem and my local people seem to be stumped.  The most logical suggest some kind of spore based problem but one online source suggested a bacterial based problem.  No solution is available and since the bacterium is soil resident it is recommended not to attempt rhubarb again in the same place, and maybe not in the same garden.  The red leaf disease seems to be about the only thing that will kill rhubarb.  Just my luck I have it in my garden at my new house!!

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,097

    Hi SaskRob image

    We don't seem to have the rhubarb red leaf problem here in the UK thank goodness - google suggests that it's a problem of Northern America - you'd be better enquiring on a US site. 

    Over here if the leaves are going red it's usually drought or because it's late in the season and the leaves are dying off.

    Sorry I can't be of more help. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Brutal but fixed the problem... Living in the UK: Mid season (June) after an infestation of small black dots (presumably eggs but I never worked out what they were and may not be relevant) the edges of the leaves started turning red and thicker than usual round the edges. After some searching it sounds like it had a fungal infection and the best solution was to dig it up and throw it away. As it is my only plant I thought I’d try some “kill or cure” first. I harvested all the stems and leaves so all that was left was closed buds. I then boiled the kettle, put it in the watering can (don’t melt your watering can) and watered the plant and the surrounding area with a radius of a foot. After a week I harvested and watered again. Apart from a few scorch marks on some of the leaves because some idiot poured boiling water on them the plant was cured. :)

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