Dr. Joe Masabni
Department of Horticulture
Texas AgriLife Extension Service
Rhubarb is grown for its tasty leaf petiole. Leaves are large and somewhat heart-shaped, and the plant may grow to a height of several feet. It is a perennial (come back after winter-kill), and the young, tender petioles are harvested in the early spring. the leaf blades are cut to within an inch of the petiole tip at harvest, so only a small fraction of the leaf is available in the retail market.
Rhubarb does not grow well in any area of Texas. For good growth it requires moist, cool summers and winters severe enough to freeze the ground to a depth of several inches. An unknown variety with large green petioles thrives in the Panhandle north of Amarillo.
Select petioles that are bright pink, crisp and free of disease or insect damage. Young, dark pink, smaller diameter petioles are sweeter and more tender than thick, long green ones. Cut all the leaf blade from the leaf stem and they will keep well in refrigeration for about 2 to 3 weeks in a sealed plastic bags.