Ornamental Rhubarb Care: How To Grow A Chinese Rhubarb Plant
How to Grow a Chinese Rhubarb Plant: Part 1 – Identification & Culture Requirements
The first thing you need to do when growing ornamental raspberries is identify them. There are several species of ornamental raspberries, but they all have one common characteristic; their leaves are green with white stripes (or sometimes red or purple). They’re called ornamental because they look like flowers, not because they’re edible.
Chinese rhubarb is another type of ornamental raspberry that grows in China and Japan. These varieties have a different shape than most other types of raspberries. Their leaves are oval instead of round, and they don’t have any white stripes at all!
There’s no way to tell which variety of ornamental raspberry you’ve got until it blooms!
Growing Requirements :
You’ll want to grow ornamental raspberries in a raised bed if possible. Raised beds allow light to reach your plants’ roots so they can absorb water and nutrients better. You’ll also want to keep the soil evenly moist during the growing season. If you don’t provide enough moisture, your plants won’t get enough sunlight and will wilt under stress. Watering too much can cause root rot, which kills your plant before it even gets started!
You’ll need to water your plants early in the day to allow them to dry out a bit before nightfall.
Ornamental raspberries can also be grown in containers. The main advantage of container growing is that your plant won’t have any roots extending out past the edge of its growing space. This helps to keep them going when your soil dries out too much. It also prevents animals from digging up your plants when they look for food.
Soil Requirements :
If you’re growing your ornamental raspberries in a raised bed, prepare the soil in the same way you would for any other type of plant.
Ornamental raspberries can grow well in a wide range of pHs (5.0 – 7.0) as long as they have adequate nutrients, water and sunlight. While it is possible to grow them in ordinary garden soil as long as you add a lot of organic material (manure), they will do much better in soil that has been amended with 3-5 inches of organic plant mulch, such as chopped up leaves, wood chips or grass clippings.
Once you’ve prepared your soil, it’s time to plant. Ornamental raspberries should be planted 2-4 feet apart, so if you have a small garden, it may be better to grow them in containers.
Ornamental raspberries can be grown from seed, but it takes a long time for the seed to first begin to sprout and then produce flowers and fruit. It’s much easier to buy nursery plants and transplant them into your garden.
Your nursery plants can be as little as a 1-gallon pot, but they should at least have several root nodes visible above soil level. Large plants in small pots will need to be transplanted soon, so they don’t die of root rot.
Just dig a hole larger than the diameter of your container. Cut or break off the bottom of the pot, slide the plant out and place it in the hole. Backfill with soil and lightly pat down to remove any air pockets. Water thoroughly and then mulch around the base of the plant.
Ornamental raspberries are very low maintenance plants. They are pest free and don’t require pruning or fertilizing. All you need to do is water them during long periods of drought.
Wait until your ornamental raspberries have fully ripened before trying to harvest their fruit. This will allow them time to build up as much flavor as possible. If the berries are green when you sample them, they won’t be ripe enough to eat yet. The easiest way to check is by gently tugging on the stem. If it doesn’t pull off easily, it isn’t ripe enough.
Begin sampling when the berries are a dark red color and skin starts to split open a little bit. This will tell you it is ripe and ready to eat.
The ornamental raspberries will last longer if you keep them in the refrigerator, but they’re best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting.
A Few Things to Remember :
If you notice any of your plants have yellow or dead patches on their leaves, dig around the roots and see if you can find any small gray gnawing creatures. You may need to take a quick trip down to your local garden center and buy some nematodes to kill off the grubs before they destroy all your plants.
Make sure you water your ornamental raspberries well during long dry spells.
Don’t over-fertilize your raspberries, as this can sometimes encourage the spread of diseases and pests. Use a well-balanced fertilizer that is low in nitrogen and high in phosphates and potash, but only mix at a rate of 1/4 strength.
If you live in a very warm climate, frost will be your biggest concern. In order to protect your plants from freezing, you can either pick up your containers and move them into a warm room for the night, or cover them with blankets or cardboard boxes.
Prune any dead branches back to the main trunk. Dead wood is more vulnerable to disease and will only hold the rest of the plant back.
Last of all, HAVE FUN! Gardening should be a stress-reliever, not the opposite. So get out there, get your hands dirty and enjoy the fruits (or berries in this case) of your labor.
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Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) View Color Images Bitter melon is a type of vine native to the rainforests of northern Australia, but has been introduced in other tropical parts of the world. Grown for its large, bitter fruit and thick leaves, it is grown mainly for culinary purposes. The fruit itself can be cooked in stews and curries or made into a nutritious jelly. The leaves can also be eaten after cooking and are a good source of vitamin A. The vine will grow on any sunny, trellis or other support that is nearby.
Like many other climbing plants, it will produce tendrils that stick to surfaces like strings, which will then climb up to reach the nearest solid surface. It will produce a leafy “coat” over whatever it grows over, giving it a rather fuzzy appearance.
How to Grow :
Bitter melon can be grown in most temperate zones. It can be grown outside, but it is also grown in greenhouses in colder areas. The vines need something to grow on, so it is best to grow them up some strings that can be hung from above. The vines will produce tendrils that will eventually grab hold of the string and climb up. It grows best in sunny areas out of the wind.
It can be planted during any season, but the fruit will be ripe in late summer when grown outside.
The fruit will be ripe for picking when it starts to fall off the vine when lightly knocked. Cut the fruit from the vine and store it in a dry place for later use. Pick leaves as needed.
The fruit must be cooked before it can be eaten. When cooking, the skin will become easier to peel and the flesh will no longer taste bitter. It can be eaten plain, or made into a jelly that can be used on toast, as a side with fish or meat, or in a salad. The leaves can also be eaten after cooking. Bitter melon can be use to help regulate blood sugar.
It can also help with digestion and stomach/intestinal issues.
Most Medicinal Uses Are Still Being Studied :
Bitter Melon is still being studied for most medical uses. What is known is that it can help with diabetes by regulating blood sugar, it can help with stomach/intestinal issues due to the bitterness, and it may help lower cholesterol. It is also believed to lower blood pressure and act as a sedative.
While not known to be toxic, the raw fruit has certain compounds that will cause the lips and tongue to go numb if eaten. This may be due to chemcials such as charantin and vicine. One compound, made from oxidizing the sugar mannotriose, is known as charantin. It is this compound that is believed to help with diabetes. A compound known as vicine is also believed to have a blood pressure lowering effect.
However, it should be noted that the seeds and young leaves are believed to be the most toxic parts of the plant. So avoid eating them. Don’t eat large amounts of bitter melon and don’t use it as your only method of diabetes treatment without talking to a doctor first. INTERNAL USE ONLY. EXTERNAL USE ONLY.
NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL CARE.
Sources & references used in this article:
4 Rhubarb: Botany, Horticulture, and Genetic Resources by DL Barney, KE Hummer – Horticultural Reviews, 2012 – Wiley Online Library
Grow your own rhubarb by J Parsons, NS Mansour, JR Baggett – 2003 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu
Rhubarb, rhubarb by SG Haw – PLANTSMAN-LONDON-, 2003 – academia.edu
Variations in morphology and disease susceptibility of micropropagated rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum) PC49, compared to conventional plants by Y Zhao, BWW Grout, P Crisp – Plant cell, tissue and organ culture, 2005 – Springer
Revand Chini (Chinese rhubarb): A review on historical and unani classical prospect by SV Martin, J Smeenk – 2011 – Cooperative Extension Service …
Rheum emodi (Rhubarb): A fascinating herb by M Azhar, N Anjum – academia.edu
Chemistry and Pharmacology of Rhubarb (Rheum species)— A Review by L Rizhang – Maritime History Studies, 2013
Antimicrobial activity and total content of polyphenols of Rheum L. species growing in Poland by H Rehman, W Begum, F Anjum… – … of Pharmacognosy and …, 2014 – phytojournal.com