How to Grow Forced Rhubarb

If you have ever seen pale pink stems of rhubarb for sale, you may have wondered about their paleness. This is called "forcing" and it's a growing method that involves keeping rhubarb in the dark.


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    Grow rhubarb. If wished, grow rhubarb from seed. Before forcing the rhubarb, it must be established, for at least 2-3 years.
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    Find a rhubarb forcer at your local garden center. This is a covering that is placed over the plant to create darkness. Alternatively, simply purchase or find a clean, tall bucket and to place over the rhubarb. Even a clean old bin will work.
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    Clear the area around the rhubarb crown. Make sure it is clear of debris, other plants, etc. so that you can place down the forcer object.
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    Place over the rhubarb crown. Plug any holes that might let in light.
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    Continue to keep watered and fertilized as usual.
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    Collect the lovely pale pink stems when they're ready. They are ready when they're about 20–30 centimeter (7.9–11.8 in) in length, about eight weeks later.


  • In the northern hemisphere, do this from November to February, with harvest January to April.
  • Consider insulating the forcer with straw if it's cold.
  • Fresh horse manure can speed up the process.[1]


  • Don't force a rhubarb plant again for two years. A lot of energy is depleted by this process and you could lose the plant as a result. Alternate between different places on three yearly cycles.

Things You'll Need

  • Rhubarb forcer pot, or bin, or other container
  • Rhubarb crowns in ground

Article Info

Categories: Growing Vegetables