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Rhubarb Seed Viability?

 
gardener
Posts: 973
Location: Western Washington
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Hi,
I have some rhubarb seeds from 2017 or so. Do you think they're still viable?
 
gardener
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Location: South of Capricorn
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I have some rhubarb seeds hidden away from at least that long ago!! I would try them, what's the worst that could happen? The hardest part will be waiting for them to germinate (for me it takes foreeeeeeeever).
 
pollinator
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Location: Fryslân, Netherlands
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I've certainly been sowing rhubarb seeds from the same package for consecutive years without a problem, so they're not the most short lived seeds.
I don't remember germination being slow either. More of a problem - for less than patient people - can be the slow development towards mature plants. Having to wait 3 years for your first harvest is a long time, although some varieties can start giving some yield in their second year, but you can't take too many stalks from a juvenile rhubarb plant.
Then there are the genetic variations between rhubarb plants grown from seed, which is also a big reason why rhubarb gets cloned a lot, because then you know what you get. If you do sow rhubarb, it is advisable to let quite a few seedlings develop, then later select the best ones. I've grown a few different varieties of rhubarb from seed, it's interesting and not difficult, but it takes a bit of devotion.
 
James Landreth
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Thanks! I've grown it from seed once and have around ten clones from commercial varieties in the ground. I'm hoping to grow more from seed so I can plant a lot in my food forest.  
 
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