© RHS / Adam Duckworth

Introducing...

Gunnera

Common name: Brazilian giant rhubarb, giant rhubarb, devil's strawberry

With the largest leaves of any hardy perennial and the appearance of a giant rhubarb, Gunnera manicata makes an impressive statement in a garden large enough to accommodate their huge size. However, there is a small one called Gunnera megellanica to seek out. They are great plants for wet soil on the margins of a large natural pond in gardens, but make sure they don't escape as the larger ones are invasive in the wild (see Good to Know below).

Looks

Huge, deeply veined, jagged-edged leaves are held horizontally on robust, upright, prickly stems. Large, conical spikes of reddish-green flowers emerge around the base of the plant in late spring. Protect plants from freezing weather in winter by folding the decaying leaves over the crown in late autumn.

Likes

Gunnera revel in permanently damp soil. They need shelter from strong winds and protection from extended freezing conditions. Gunnera prefer to grow in sun or light shade.

Dislikes

Growth will be poor on dry soils or in deep shade. Frost can damage the crown of the plant if unproteced over winter.

Did you know?

Gunnera manicata can be invasive, particularly when planted along a water course. As a result it 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. Stricter rules apply in the whole of Europe and UK for Gunnera tinctoria - it is an offence to plant or cause these to grow in the wild. It is banned from sale and gardeners growing this plant should undertake measures to control its spread beyond their garden.

Growing guide

Gunnera we recommend

Buy gunnera from RHSPlants.co.uk

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Bog gardens: plants for

Bog gardens: plants for

Perennials: planting

Perennials: planting

Pond care

Pond care

Shade gardening

Shade gardening

Wet soils: plants for

Wet soils: plants for

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