Rhubarb Growing Problems

by Linda Croudace

I am growing rhubarb and have had several pickings but today I found a lot of the stems covered in small clear, gelatinous blobs which has an unsightly effect under the skin.
Not sure if it is the snails/slugs for which my garden seems to be an ideal holiday destination OR just the really bad rain and humidity we have been having OR something else I haven't considered. Can anyone shed any light?

Comments for Rhubarb Growing Problems

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Jun 14, 2010
Clear jelly blobs on rhubarb stems
by: Megan

Something is eating your rhubarb. That something could be caterpillars or beetles. Caterpillars usually eat the leaves so it's probably the Curculio beetle, sometimes called Snout beetle or Rhubarb weevil.

Rhubarb Curculios are usually red and grey/black with some yellow on their backs which rubs off. They are at least 1 cm long with curved snout-like mandibles which they eat with. When they attack rhubarb, not only do they eat it but they also make holes in rhubarb stems to lay their eggs in around springtime. The eggs drop to the surrounding ground and hatch in mid-late summer.

The clear jelly lumps on the rhubarb stalk are produced from the damaged holes. These holes are prone to decay, so controlling the beetles is important.

Try and keep dock plants away from your rhubarb as they can act as a host plant for curculios to breed on as well as a food source. To interrupt their breeding cycle you can clear away all debris surrounding the rhubarb plant, or cover the ground and any loose mulch with a flat layer such as newspaper, cardboard, matting etc.

The beetles themselves are large enough to pick or shake off and crush, or drown in soapy water.

Aug 26, 2012
by: Nigel from Suffolk

Today the leaves of my rhubarb have brown patches, and when I pulled the stems and cut them for cooking I found the insides very red and a small - 1cm long - grey with dark head maggot crawling. One suggestion received was that this is the rhubarb weevil, but I can find nothing about this in the literature or online.

Has anyone any clearer idea, and how can I eradicate this or control this, please.

Aug 06, 2013
Rhubarb just has decided to die and nothing will change it's mind
by: Dad

My rhubarb grows just fine for a few months, then starts dying one stalk at a time. I try less water and it dies, I try more water and it dies. Now, I find termites in the bottom of the stems. Termite guy says they are not causing the problem, that termites only eat dead vegetable material and that something is killing our plats making them available to the termites. I'm going to move the soaker hose so they only get whatever rain we get and it will be sink or swim for my rhubarb.

Jul 30, 2014
Sticky lumps
by: Phil North Devon

Just pulled some lovely stalks but half the stalk from the base up is covered in the lumps so many thanks for the info now I know what to look for. Cheers!

Apr 20, 2015
by: rayroy

my rhubarb is three years old from seed this year it got large red lumps growing does that mean they are no good as i haven`t had a cut of them yet.

Jun 02, 2015
rhubarb not growing after one picking
by: Anonymous

My rhubarb looks so good in early spring and I pull some and then the stalks that come back are thin and raggie... does not come like it did when they first came.

May 26, 2019
Rhubarb failure
by: Peter of Cornwall

I picked an excellent first crop but since then the growth has been poor with stalks soft and many thin. The leaves are yellowish and have red markings.Advice required from a experienced gardener.

Jun 21, 2019
Sorting out Rhubarb problems
by: Weekender

Rhubarb dislike wet feet, so make sure yours is planted in a well-draining place. If you have soggy soil, then dig up your rhubarb and make a mound and plant it back on top of the mound. That said, rhubarb like lots of water and feeding in summer when growing. It's happy to be cold and frosty in winter. Fungus problems rarely occur, but if they do, then pick the leaves and toss them away so you don't spread the spores. Red spots are fungus, so pick them and eat the stems unless they are useless. Picking lots of stems then not feeding your plant will probably result in the poor plant looking for some added food, so dump some compost around it or water in some fertilizer. I love my rhubarb and cream!!

May 04, 2020
white leaves
by: carole

The leaves on our rhubarb are turning white.

May 18, 2020
Rhubarb white leaves
by: Liz

Probably rust or some other fungus. The colors can change from red to brown, white, black etc. Pull off those leaves, and dig up the crown and check that it's not rotting. If rotting, try and find a good bit to re-grow.

Aug 31, 2020
Muskoka Rhubarb
by: Helen

I have had beautiful rhubarb for over 20 years;
last year and thus year the rhubarb has not seeded; stems are very small and short.
it was fertilized in the Spring and seemed to start well. I love my Rhubarb and want to know what to do to improve it!

Apr 22, 2021
slime on rhubarb stalk
by: Anonymous

If you notice a slimy area on a stalk is that rhubarb safe to eat?


Apr 23, 2021
Slime on rhubarb
by: Anonymous

Probably been attacked by bugs and the slime is left where the plant is damaged. Perfectly good to eat, just look for any little holes that may have bugs in them!

Jul 14, 2021
Yellow eggs
by: Anonymous

The stalks of rhubarb look healthy but the leaves are full of holes. The underside of the leaves have patches of yellow eggs/tiny bugs which seem to be eating the leaves. What could they be?

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