Livingstone Rhubarb Crowns & Plants (Rheum x hybridum Livingstone)Livingstone Rhubarb Crowns & Plants (Rheum x hybridum Livingstone)

Livingstone Rhubarb Crowns & Plants

Rheum x hybridum LivingstonePlant guarantee for 1 yearFeefo logo

The details

  • World's 1st Autumn Cropper
  • Height: 60cm
  • Spread: 1.2m
  • Succulent, non-stringy stems
  • Taste: full flavour, tart
  • Use: cooking
  • Picking: May-First Frosts
  • Colour: Rich red
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Description

Livingstone Autumn Cropping Rhubarb

As rare as a Scottish doctor in the Congo in the 1860's, there is nothing to presume here: Livingstone is the world's first and, thus far, only rhubarb that doesn't go dormant in summer, but keeps on cropping all the way through to October-November. 

Browse all of our rhubarb crowns.

Growing Rhubarb

The thing about rhubarb is that it completely disappears in winter but needs plenty of space in summer. Its large, architectural leaves are handsome and look magnificent in a potager. Once planted they can be left to themselves but are so much happier if you can mulch them in spring with lots of compost and, if it promises to be very cold, to cover them with straw in the winter to keep the frost off the crowns. They require lots of nitrogen when young so dig in masses of muck into the planting hole. Rhubarb likes damp summers; if it is too hot and dry in the summer rhubarb tends to bolt so make sure you give your plant plenty of water during dry spells. Conversely, rhubarb can rot in winter if the soil is waterlogged so if your soil is very heavy and wet, plant the crown on top of a mound of soil so that it is slightly raised. After planting, do not pull the stems the first year to allow the crown to gather strength. In the second year and onwards, make sure you pick every stem periodically by pulling and twisting the stem away to encourage more to be formed. It is a bit like pulling a globe artichoke leaf off the main choke. Do not cut the stem.

Features:

  • World's 1st Autumn Cropper
  • Height: 60cm
  • Spread: 1.2m
  • Succulent, non-stringy stems
  • Taste: full flavour, tart
  • Use: cooking
  • Picking: May-First Frosts
  • Colour: Rich red

Did You Know? 

Bred in the UK entirely the old-fashioned way, through diligent selective breeding: not a GMO in sight. 

Dr Livingstone (1813-1873) was a paragon of Scottish virtue and grit, who raised himself out of poverty to become a medical doctor and his generation's most legendary explorer. Appalled by the treatment of Africans at the hands of Arab Muslim slave traders, he devoted himself to Africa, sacrificing his own family life in the process. He is famous for his quest to find the source of the river Nile, but his reason for doing so is less well known. In his own words: "The Nile sources are valuable only as a means of opening my mouth with power among men. It is this power with which I hope to remedy an immense evil", referring to the Caliphate's slave trade. 

In the 1960's, when they finally felt safe enough, it became fashionable among effete intellectuals to bash the memory of Livingstone as a negligent father, failed explorer and missionary, and for the fact that he often had no choice but to accept help and hospitality from the very slave traders he opposed. Had they dared to say any of that to his face, he may well have quoted his contemporary and fellow Scotsman, Robert Louis Stevenson: "Our business in this world is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits". The Africans who knew him certainly do not share those snarky sentiments, and he is remembered with pride to this day in the towns named after him: Livingstone in Zambia, and Livingstonia in Malawi.