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Herbaceous Perennial

Rheum × hybridum 'Livingstone'PBR

rhubarb 'Livingstone'

a compact variety to about 50cm with bright red stems. Unlike other rhubarb varieties, it does not have a dormant period in summer. The main cropping period is early to late autumn, though it can be cropped in summer if required

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Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Red Green
Summer Red Green
Autumn Red Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Polygonaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Harmful if eaten, except cooked leaf stalks. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling. Pets: Harmful if eaten, except cooked leaf stalks - for further information and contact numbers regarding pets, see the HTA guide to potentially harmful plants
Genus

Rheum are robust rhizomatous herbaceous perennials with large, simple or palmately lobed leaves and tall leafy stems bearing large panicles of tiny flowers

Name status

Accepted

How to grow

Cultivation

Plant crowns in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, from late autumn to early spring. Crowns can be cropped for ten or more years, though division may be necessary after about five years. Mulch in spring with a 7cm layer of well-rotted organic matter without burying the crowns, and apply a general fertiliser at 70g/sq m in spring or summer. Water during prolonged dry periods in summer. See rhubarb cultivation

Propagation

Lift crowns between autumn and early spring (usually in November). Use a spade to divide the crown into sections each retaining a portion of the rhizome (thickened root) and at least one growing point. Sections from the outer part are better than the centres of old plants. Discard any old or decayed parts of the crown. Replant straight away or wrap in damp sacking until ready to plant

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
  • Low Maintenance
Pruning

Allow the foliage to die back naturally in winter then cut away the old leaves to expose the growing points to winter cold

Pests

May be susceptible to stem and bulb eelworm, swift moth caterpillar, and to slugs and snails on young growth

Diseases

May be susceptible to honey fungus, downy mildews, grey moulds, crown rot and virus diseases

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