Gunnera

Common name: Chile or Giant rhubarb

Gunnera tinctoria is a half-hardy large leaved deciduous perennial, suitable for growing at the edge of a lake or pool.

The plants grow in clumps that can grow to a height 2-3metres (6-10ft) with a similar spread.

Insignificant dusty red flowers around 600mm (24")long appear with the young leaves in April / May.

The leaves are light green in spring developing to a darker green in summer.

The young leaves of gunnera may be blackened by late frosts, but new growth soon appears.

Cultivation

Week 14: Sow seeds in pots/trays of seed compost and germinate at a temperature of 16°C (60°F)

When the seedlings are large enough to handle, prick out into 75mm (3") pots of potting compost.

Pot on as required until they are in 150mm (6") pots and overwinter them in a frost-free greenhouse, shed, or cold frame.

Week 18: If conditions allow, plant out in sun or semi shade in a sheltered spot,in humus-rich, permanently wet soil in sun or partial shade.

Do not disturb after planting.

Week 20: Increase stock by removing the rooted plantlets that form at the base of old plants.

Plant these up into suitable pots, then grow them on as you would seed sown plants.

Week 40: Collect and save seed if ripe.

Week 45: Protect the crowns in winter by covering them with their own leaves weighted down with soil this will also act as mulch in the following season.





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