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Why Doesn't my Rhubarb Turn Red

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: January 16, 2017
Why Doesn't my Rhubarb Turn Red

Rhubarb is a seasonal spring favorite featuring small flowers, triangular poisonous leaves and fleshy long edible stalks. In cooking, stalks are crisp like celery and have a tart, strong taste. Although rhubarb comes in the category of vegetables, it is usually prepared as a fruit. Most stalks are prepared with sugar, and added to pies and similar desserts. It has laxative properties due to which it can help in constipation. But most people are concerned about cooking rhubarb because it doesn’t turn red like it is supposed to do. So, here at OneHowTo.com, we are trying to find out why doesn't rhubarb turn red.

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It depends on how the rhubarb is grown

Rhubarb is grown in very small quantities basically to handle weeds. Only 7 to 10% of the stalks are allowed to ripe enough become red in color. The rest is left to stay green only. In addition to that, all rhubarb is not created the same way. There are only some varieties of rhubarb that turn red. This does not affect its flavor, but red rhubarb looks attractive in food. To let the rhubarb ripen fully, the yield should be fertilized with well-composted manure. Rhubarb grows robustly when supplied with enough of nutrients. So, use a good fertilizer for this crop, such as compost.

The rhubarb may be pH sensitive

Rhubarb grows properly when exposed to full sun, and the soil in which it is grown should have a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Your rhubarb is not turning red because it was grown in the soil with incorrect pH. So, before you plant your rhubarb or buy some from outside, make sure that the soil in which it was grown had the right pH value.

The rhubarb may have acidic tissues

Your rhubarb does not turn red because it probably has acidic tissues. At the season’s end, when the rhubarb starts dying down, each piece that is falling to the ground will carry acidity in it. With time, acidity from the pieces that are composted to the soil reduces the surrounding soil’s pH. Due to this, the red color leaves the plant and you are left with only green stems. One good idea is to rip off the old plants and place new red stemmed pieces in the place. You should also clean up any dying foliage during each fall season, and stems should be cut off as they start dying back. The area should be thoroughly raked after the dying of all the plant’s material.

Understand that green is fine

It is just a myth that red rhubarb is better. You need to understand that green rhubarb does not mean that it is not sweet. Green varieties are more productive, and red varieties are no sweeter than the green ones. A deep red petiole variety is more popular among people who want red rhubarb, but the Victoria variety, which is perhaps the greenest of rhubarb, produces very sweet stems too. So, instead of being obsessed with red rhubarb, accept it and enjoy the green varieties as well. Click here to know how to cook rhubarb in the microwave.

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Why Doesn't my Rhubarb Turn Red
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