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BogsHerbaceous Perennial

Gunnera manicata

giant rhubarb

G. manicata is a very robust herbaceous perennial, forming a spreading clump of lobed, rounded, rough-textured leaves with spiny stems 1-2m in width. Tiny red-brown flowers are borne in erect panicles to 1m in height

Other common names
Chilean rhubarb
prickly rhubarb

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Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
2.5–4 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Moisture
Poorly–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Brown Red Green
Autumn Green Green Red
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or East–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Gunneraceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Clump forming
Genus

Gunnera may be evergreen or herbaceous rhizomatous perennials, and range from small creeping plants to very large with huge leaves. The flowers are small, borne in narrow panicles or spikes and may be followed by small berry-like fruits

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Brazil

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in permanently moist, humus-rich soil in full sun or partial shade. Shelter from cold drying winds. Protect crowns by mulching during the winter months. This plant is listed on Schedule 3 of the EU (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011 in the Republic of Ireland as an invasive non-native species. While this does not prevent it from being sold or from being grown in gardens in the Republic of Ireland, the RHS encourages those that do grow it to take great care with managing it and with disposing of unwanted material. The RHS also encourages gardeners in the Republic of Ireland to find alternative plants to grow to those listed on Schedule 3

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in gentle heat as soon as ripe, seed quickly loses viability. Propagate by cuttings of leafy, basal buds in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Architectural
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • City and courtyard gardens
Pruning

Cut back after flowering

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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