HARDY PERENNIALS: RHEUM

The ornamental species of Rhubarb are well worth growing though one of them needs ample space. R. alexanclrae has leaves of modest size—rounded and smooth, and a compact rootstock. In May come stems carrying curious but charming papery yellow bracts on spikes up to 3 feet tall, which stay effective for several weeks. Ordinary good garden soil suits this unusual plant, as it does the more massive but imposing R. palmatum. One should go for either the rubrum or atrosanguineum forms, since these are deep pinkish red when their 6 feet spikes open out in late spring. The first leaves too are brightly coloured, from early April till flowering time—pink—red—purple, but after flowering, fading to green takes place. These Rheums have such a wide spread when leaves develop that an established plant needs a 4-5 feet diameter spacing. Division of Rheums is best in autumn or very early spring.

RHEUM ale.xandrae

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RHEUM ale.xandrae

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