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The Plant Guide

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Gunnera manicata

Gunnera manicata

GUN-ner-ah man-ih-KAY-tah Audio

This is the granddaddy of big-leaved perennials. No other plant can so thoroughly alter the scale of a garden while calling such attention to itself.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsThe architectural leaves grow up to 6 feet across. They are rounded and deeply toothed, and sit atop prickly stalks that extend to 10 feet tall and form giant clumps. Gunnera manicata produces large, bottle-brush spikes of tiny reddish-green florets in the spring. It looks particularly at home at the water's edge. 

CarePrefers deep, moist soil, in sun or partial shade. Shelter from drying winds.  It may survive a colder zone with the protection of a dry mulch.

PropagationSow seed when fresh and overwinter in cool, frost free location. Germination is slow. Take basal leaf cuttings in spring.

ProblemsSnails and slugs.

  • Genus : Gunnera
  • Zones : 10, 7, 8, 9
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 10 feet
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Plant Type : Perennials
  • Flower Color : Red, Yellow
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage, Showy Seed Heads
  • Bloom Time : Spring
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
View Comments


  1. lyndacorsettestafford 04/06/2015

    can it tolerate salt water?

    1. Learning64 04/09/2016


  2. user-7008427 03/26/2017

    Is South Alabama a place where this can be planted and thrive to full growth? Our zone I believe is 9, and it never gets below 0 here.

  3. janemoffitt 04/06/2017

    how do u tell if my giant rhubarb plant made it thru the winter

  4. jenuinearticle 01/10/2018

    Are these stalks very thorny / painful to deal with when trimming etc?

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