Livingstone Rhubarb Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' (PBR)

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


The Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' is a cultivar commonly known as rhubarb, particularly recognizable for its large, broad leaves which have a deep green color. The undersides of the leaves often have a lighter hue, adding to the visual interest. Rhubarb is famed for its thick, fleshy stalks that can range in color from deep red to shades of green with red speckling. These stalks are the edible parts of the plant and are often used in culinary applications for their tart flavor. The plant produces flowers on tall stalks that can be quite striking, though it is commonly advised to remove these to encourage leaf and stalk growth. Overall, rhubarb has a bold and robust appearance, with a stark contrast between the large leaves and the vibrant, colorful stalks.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Synonyms

      Livingstone Rhubarb

    • Common names

      Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' (PBR)

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The most common name for Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' (PBR) is a type of rhubarb. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid, which can be toxic if consumed in large quantities. Eating these leaves can cause symptoms such as a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can lead to difficulty breathing, weakness, and seizures due to the effect of oxalic acid in reducing calcium levels in the blood. The stalks of rhubarb, on the other hand, are commonly eaten and are not toxic.

    • To pets

      Rhubarb, the most common name for Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' (PBR), is also toxic to pets like cats and dogs due to the presence of oxalic acid, particularly in the leaves. If a pet ingests the leaves, it could experience drooling, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, tremors, and urinary problems. In more severe cases, rhubarb leaf ingestion can lead to kidney failure and increase in calcium oxalate crystals in the urinary tract, which can be life-threatening. It is important to prevent pets from consuming any part of the rhubarb plant, especially the leaves.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Height

      2 feet (0.61 meters)

    • Spread

      4 feet (1.22 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Ornamental Value: Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' adds aesthetic appeal to gardens with its large, lush leaves and dramatic flower stalks.
    • Edible Stalks: Known commonly as Rhubarb, the plant produces stalks that can be used in cooking and baking to add a tart flavor to dishes and desserts.
    • Youthful Leaves: It has appealing young leaves that add a fresh green look in the spring garden.
    • Low Maintenance: Rhubarb is a hardy plant that requires minimal care once established, making it ideal for busy gardeners.
    • Drought Tolerance: This variety has good drought resistance, reducing the need for frequent watering.
    • Cold Hardy: Rhubarb is capable of withstanding colder temperatures, which makes it suitable for growing in a range of climates.
    • Long-Lived: Rhubarb plants can live and produce for many years, making them a long-term addition to the garden.
    • Attracts Pollinators: The flowers of the plant are attractive to pollinators, which can help with the pollination of other plants in the garden.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Rhubarb leaves can be used as a natural insecticide due to their toxicity when broken down, particularly against aphids and leaf beetles.
    • The large leaves of rhubarb can be used to create a leaf mold or compost, contributing to a nutrient-rich soil amendment for gardens.
    • Due to their size, rhubarb leaves can also be used as natural weed-suppressing mulch by placing them around plants to block light to the weeds.
    • Fabric dye can be made from rhubarb roots, giving textiles a rich brown or yellow color depending on the mordant used.
    • The fibers from rhubarb stalks can be technically utilized in paper making for creating a unique paper with a light green or yellow hue.
    • Rhubarb can be used in crafting natural baskets, with the stalks being woven together to create a biodegradable and sturdy container.
    • Rhubarb is sometimes used as a cleaner for burnt pots and pans due to the oxalic acid present in the plant, which helps to dissolve the burnt residue.
    • Rhubarb's vibrant red stalks can be used as a natural food coloring in homemade pastries, desserts, and even pasta to add a pinkish hue without the use of artificial dyes.
    • As an educational tool, rhubarb can be used to demonstrate principles of acidity and pH in home science experiments, as it can change color depending on the pH of solutions it is added to.
    • A creative use for the plant is as a component in art projects, where rhubarb stalks can be sliced and stamped onto paper to create interesting and organic patterns.

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

    • Perseverance - Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' is a hardy perennial, symbolizing the ability to withstand challenging conditions and persevere through adversity.
    • Longevity - With its robust nature and long-lived characteristics, this plant represents a long and healthy life.
    • Prosperity - Because rheum is a productive crop, it is often associated with prosperity and abundance.
    • Healing - Historically, parts of the rhubarb plant have been used for medicinal purposes, symbolizing healing and wellness.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring-Early Summer
Not needed
  • water dropWater

    The Livingstone Rhubarb should be watered deeply when the top inch of soil feels dry, typically once a week, depending on weather conditions and soil type. During the active growing season in spring and summer, you might need to water more frequently. Provide enough water to soak the soil around the roots; for a mature plant, this might mean up to 1-2 gallons per watering. Make sure to avoid overhead watering to prevent fungal diseases. During the dormant period in fall and winter, reduce watering to prevent root rot.

  • sunLight

    The Livingstone Rhubarb thrives in full sun to partial shade. It prefers a spot that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily. However, in extremely hot climates, some afternoon shade is beneficial to prevent leaf scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' or Livingstone Rhubarb grows best at temperatures between 40°F and 75°F. It can tolerate cold down to about 20°F and heat up to about 90°F, but extended periods outside this range can stress the plant. The ideal growing conditions for Livingstone Rhubarb are in cool to moderate climates with temperate summer temperatures.

  • scissorsPruning

    Prune Livingstone Rhubarb in autumn after the leaves have died back to remove any spent foliage and to maintain plant health. Pruning is typically done annually, but you may also remove flower stalks as they appear in spring to redirect the plant's energy into stalk production. The best time for pruning is when the plant is dormant, generally after the first frost.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    For the Livingstone rhubarb, a well-draining soil mix with plenty of organic matter is ideal. Incorporate compost or well-rotted manure to enrich the soil. Ensure the pH level is between 6.0 and 6.8 for optimal growth.

  • plantRepotting

    Livingstone rhubarb should be repotted every 3 to 4 years to refresh the soil and allow room for growth. Repotting is typically done in early spring before the growing season begins.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Livingstone rhubarb thrives in average humidity conditions and does not require any special humidity adjustments. It is quite adaptable to the humidity levels typically found in outdoor environments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Keep Livingstone rhubarb in bright indirect light indoors.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in fertile soil, partial to full sun, and space well.

    • Hardiness zone

      3-8 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The 'Livingstone' rhubarb begins its life as a seed or more commonly from division of its crown. Germination or new shoot development occurs in early spring when soil temperatures rise. As the weather warms, the rhubarb's leaves and stalks begin to grow rapidly, unfurling large leaves and thick stalks that are harvested in late spring to early summer. After harvesting, the plant continues to photosynthesize throughout the summer, storing energy in its root system for the following year. In autumn, the leaves die back as the plant enters dormancy to conserve energy through the winter months. The life cycle repeats each spring when temperatures rise and the plant re-emerges from its dormant state, capable of being harvested once more.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone' (PBR), commonly known as Livingstone rhubarb, is most commonly propagated by dividing its crown, which is best done in early spring before the plant breaks dormancy. To propagate by division, dig up the entire plant, making sure to keep as much of the root system intact as possible. Using a sharp spade or knife, cut the crown into sections, each with at least one growing point or bud. Replant the sections at the same depth they were growing previously, spacing them about 3 to 4 feet apart (approximately 0.9 to 1.2 meters) to allow for adequate growth room. Water the new divisions thoroughly to help establish them. This method allows gardeners to quickly increase their stock of Livingstone rhubarb while maintaining the characteristics of the parent plant.