This rare green-stemmed English rhubarb is one of the earliest to appear in the spring, usually by mid-March in our region (Zone 7).Highly cold-tolerant, Early Champagne is presumed to be a strain of Hawke’s Champagne, another English variety predating 1860, as discussed in an 1860 issue of The Gardener’s Monthly. Early Champagne was popular both for its earliness and for its unique flavor, which resembles gooseberries.It was used as a substitute for making gooseberry wine and champagne, hence the name.

Like all rhubarbs, Early Champagne seed does not produce a large percentage of true seeds. Therefore, it is necessary to over-sow and to allow seedlings to develop for two or three years.After that time, select out the best plants and establish them in a permanent bed. Some seedlings may exhibit red stems.These represent genetic reversions to the original Hawke’s Champagne, which had blood-red stems.

Early Champagne Rhubarb