Rhubarb Rheum × hybridum 'Grandad's Favorite'

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite'


The plant commonly known as rhubarb, with the specific cultivar name 'Grandad's Favorite', typically exhibits broad, dark green leaves that have a glossy texture and might show a crinkly or slightly wrinkled surface. The leaves are quite large and are attached to thick, fleshy stalks, which are notable for their often vibrant red color, although they can sometimes range into deeper crimson hues or even exhibit a mix of red and green. These sturdy stalks, which are the edible portion of the rhubarb, grow straight and have a smooth texture. The undersides of the leaves tend to have a lighter green hue, and the veins running through the leaves are prominently etched into the leaf's structure. While in season, the plant might produce flowers that grow in large, showy bunches, but these are often removed as they can detract from the quality and growth of the rhubarb stalks used in cooking.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Rhubarb, Pieplant.

    • Common names

      Rheum × hybridum 'Grandad's Favorite'.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and anthraquinone glycosides, which are toxic to humans if consumed in large quantities. Eating the leaves can lead to symptoms like burning in the mouth and throat, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can cause kidney problems, seizures, coma, and potentially death due to oxalic acid's ability to bind with calcium in the body, leading to hypocalcemia and kidney damage.

    • To pets

      Rhubarb is toxic to pets due to the oxalic acid in its leaves. If pets, such as dogs or cats, ingest the leaves, they might experience symptoms like drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and weakness. In severe cases, it can lead to kidney failure, difficulty urinating, tremors, and in some instances, it could be fatal if not treated promptly. It's important to keep pets away from rhubarb plants, particularly the leaves.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      2-3 feet (0.6-0.9 meters)

    • Spread

      2-4 feet (0.6-1.2 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Edible Parts: Rheum × hybridum 'Grandad's Favorite', commonly known as rhubarb, has edible stalks that are often used in pies, jams, and desserts.
    • Culinary Uses: Rhubarb's tart flavor adds a unique taste to culinary dishes and pairs well with sweet ingredients.
    • Aesthetic Appeal: Rhubarb plants have large, decorative leaves and can produce vibrant red stalks adding visual interest to gardens.
    • Easy Cultivation: Rhubarb is a hardy perennial that can be relatively easy to grow in a variety of climates.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal maintenance once established, making it suitable for novice gardeners.
    • Long-Lived: As a perennial plant, rhubarb can produce harvests for many years from the same plant.
    • Soil Improvement: Rhubarb can help to break up heavy soils with its extensive root system.
    • Companion Planting: Can be used in companion planting strategies to deter pests and enhance the growth of other plants.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Digestive Aid: The rhubarb plant, which Rheum × hybridum 'Grandad's Favorite' is a part of, has been traditionally used as a laxative due to the presence of anthraquinones which stimulate bowel movements.
    • Anti-inflammatory: Rhubarb may possess anti-inflammatory properties which can be beneficial for reducing inflammation in the body.
    • Antioxidant: It contains compounds like anthocyanins and vitamin C, which are known for their antioxidant activities, potentially helping to protect cells from oxidative stress.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Rhubarb leaves can be used as a natural dye, producing a range of colors from soft yellows to rich greens depending on the mordant used.
    • The fibers from rhubarb stalks can be extracted and used to make paper or textiles, taking advantage of their silk-like qualities.
    • Large rhubarb leaves can be used as biodegradable plates for outdoor dining, adding an eco-friendly and creative touch to a meal.
    • Rhubarb can be incorporated into art projects, with its vivid red stalks used to create botanical prints or natural art installations.
    • Non-food parts of the rhubarb plant can be composted to enrich garden soil with nutrients, promoting healthier growth in other plants.
    • The stalks of rhubarb can be hollowed out and used as natural, biodegradable straws in beverages for an eco-conscious alternative to plastic.
    • Because of its bright color and large leaves, rhubarb can serve as a decorative element in garden landscape design.
    • Dried and preserved rhubarb stalks can be used in craft projects for creating wreaths, ornaments, or other decorative items.
    • The acid content in rhubarb leaves can be used as a natural cleaning agent for pots and pans with burnt-on food.
    • As a natural pest repellent, rhubarb leaves can be boiled and the liquid utilized to repel certain insects in the garden.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The rhubarb is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The rhubarb is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing and Medicinal Properties: Often associated with medicinal uses due to the rhubarb's historical application in traditional medicine.
    • Reflection and Calmness: The large leaves and robust growth can symbolize introspection and the ability to thrive in adversity, inspiring calmness in challenging situations.
    • Bitterness with Sweet Potential: Rhubarb's bitter taste can signify life's challenges, but when sweetened in pies, it represents the idea that with effort, bitter experiences can lead to positive outcomes.
    • Prosperity and Abundance: As a plant that can grow vigorously and produce large leaves and stalks, rhubarb can symbolize growth, wealth, and abundance in one's life.

Every 1-2 weeks
500 - 2500 Lux
Every 4-5 years
Late winter-early spring
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' should be watered deeply once a week, providing about 1 inch of water to thoroughly saturate the soil. It's important to avoid overhead watering to prevent leaf rot and fungal diseases. During hot or dry periods, water may be needed more frequently, but always check the soil moisture before watering. Over-watering can lead to root rot, so ensure the plant is in well-draining soil. Rhubarb appreciates a consistent watering schedule, especially as it establishes itself in the first couple of years after planting.

  • sunLight

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' thrives in full sun, receiving at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. The best spot for planting rhubarb is a location where it will receive unfiltered sunlight throughout the day, as sufficient light is crucial for vigorous growth and optimal stalk production.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' prefers a cooler climate and can tolerate temperatures down to about 20°F, but it should be protected from harsh frosts. It grows best at temperatures ranging from 40°F to 75°F. Excessive heat above 90°F can cause the plant to enter dormancy.

  • scissorsPruning

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' requires pruning to remove any flower stalks as soon as they appear to direct the plant's energy back into stalk and leaf production. Pruning is also necessary at the end of the growing season to remove dead leaves and stalks. The best time for pruning is when flower stalks are seen or in the fall after the plant has gone dormant.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' thrives best in a well-draining, fertile soil with a mix of compost or well-rotted manure. The ideal pH for rhubarb soil is between 5.5 and 6.5.

  • plantRepotting

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' does not typically require frequent repotting as it is usually grown as a perennial outdoor plant; dividing every 5-6 years is sufficient.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Rhubarb 'Grandad's Favorite' is tolerant of a wide range of humidity levels and does not require specific humidity conditions to thrive.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Provide bright light, cooler temps, and ample space.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in sun, fertile soil, divide every 5-6 years.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA.

  • circleLife cycle

    Rheum × hybridum 'Grandad's Favorite', commonly known as garden rhubarb, begins its life cycle with seed germination, occurring in warm, moist soil conditions. Following germination, the seedling develops a root system and foliage in the form of large leaves with a thick, fleshy petiole which is the part typically harvested. As a perennial plant, rhubarb enters a period of dormancy during the winter, when the leaves die back and growth ceases until the following spring. In its second or third year, rhubarb may produce a flower stalk; however, gardeners often remove this to redirect energy into stalk production. Once mature, the plant can be harvested annually, usually in the spring, by pulling the leaf stalks from the base of the plant. After many years, the plant might start losing vigor and can be divided to rejuvenate growth and produce new plants.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Late winter-early spring

    • Propogation: Rheum × hybridum 'Grandad's Favorite', commonly known as rhubarb, is typically propagated through division, which is the most popular method. The best time to propagate rhubarb by division is in the early spring, just as the plant is emerging from dormancy and the buds are beginning to swell. To divide rhubarb, carefully dig up the crowns and roots of a mature plant using a spade, trying to minimize damage to the roots. Look for sections of the crown that have at least one to two strong buds. Using a sharp knife, cut the crown into sections, ensuring that each piece has a portion of the root attached. These divisions can then be planted into prepared soil, spaced about 3 feet (approximately 0.91 meters) apart to allow for ample growth. It is essential to maintain adequate moisture for the newly transplanted divisions to encourage root and top growth, but also to avoid waterlogging the soil as this can cause root rot.