Gunnera manicata, Giant Rhubarb, Giant Gunnera, Mammutblatt, Dinosaur Food Plant

Gunnera manicata

Giant Rhubarb, Giant Gunnera, Mammutblatt, Dinosaur Food Plant
Family: Gunneraceae
Origin: Brazil
USDA Zone: 7-10?
USDA Plant Hardiness MapLarge shrub 5-10 ft tallSmall plant 2-5 ftSemi-shadeFull sunRegular waterBog or aquatic plantOrnamental foliageSubtropical or temperate zone plant. Mature plant cold hardy at least to 30s F for a short timeFlood tolerant plant

Gunnera manicata is a spectacular, architectural herbaceous plant, commonly known as 'giant rhubarb'. These plants need plenty of space to grow in, as it can be difficult to control their size. In terms of planting these plants, they look best either as a feature plant in a damp, bog garden, or beside a large pond where the reflections of their umbrella-shaped leaves are visible. The fat growth buds clustered in its crown are prone to frost damage. Therefore, it is advisable to provide extra protection by piling a heavy mulch layer of dead leaves and stems over the plant during autumn. Gunnera manicata can be grown in almost any kind of soil, as long as it remains moist.

In terms of sun exposure, Gunnera manicata is tolerant of both full sun and semi-shade environments. It is relatively hardy, and can withstand temperatures as low as -17C (0F) with the help of a thick mulch layer. Furthermore, this plant is also saltwater resistant and can even handle temporary frost spells down to the 30's degree Fahrenheit (F). To keep the plant healthy, it should be watered at regular intervals, prune off old leaves and snip dead branches, as well as being fed with a fertilizer every month. With a bit of extra care, these plants can also survive in cooler climates and can even be kept in containers. When grown in the ideal environment, Gunnera manicata is quite a show-stopper and its large green leaves, ornate blooms, and contrasting red branch tips, attract attention and add to the overall aesthetic. It is also known to attract many birds and butterflies, making it a great addition to any garden.

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