How to grow and overwinter Gunnera Manicata

Gunnera manicata

French name: Gunnére or Rhubarbe géante

Back in the UK I could only dream of owning a Gunnera manicata. The sheer size that this plant can grow to made it a big no-no for the small garden of our terraced house. Therefore our number one priority in our French garden, when digging the flower borders next to the small steam, was to create the perfect spot for a Gunnera manicata.

Large Gunneras can be quite expensive to buy, so when I saw a small plant for sale at Jardiland for less than 20 euros I snapped it up. Small or not, this little plant shot up even in its first year, so never be afraid to buy smaller, more cost effect plants. Once out of their pots they grow at a rate of knots.

How to grow and overwinter Gunnera Manicata

Gunnera manicata grow to a spectacular size, and are perfect for using as a specimen plant in either a bog garden or next to a pond. They require deep, permanently moist, rich soil. To ensure that our Gunnera manicata never struggles for water, even in the heat of summer when temperatures can top 40c degrees, we have buried a small pipe which runs from the stream to the root of the plant.

How to overwinter Gunnera Manicata

The crowns of these glorious, architectural plants are prone to frost damage, and need nursing over winter to make sure they come back with a vengeance the following spring.

Once the first frosts arrive, cut all the leaves off the Gunnera down to its crown.

How to grow and overwinter Gunnera Manicata

Then use these leaves to cover the crown

How to grow and overwinter Gunnera Manicata

 

Finally top the whole lot off with a snug layer of protective fleece.

How to grow and overwinter Gunnera Manicata

Here at Le Jardin Perdu we can have very cold winters, with temperatures of -10c not unusual along with weeks of thick snow. Protected in this way, our Gunnera manicata has survived the winters, and grown ever bigger each springtime.

Once the threat of the last frosts have passed, usually in April or May, you can uncover your Gunnera manicata, and allow him to grow to his full glory once more

If you have a Gunnera in your garden or have any more suggestions for protecting the plant over winter, I’d love to hear about them so please feel free to leave your comments in the box below.

A bientôt
Katherine x



'Gunnera manicata' have 5 comments

  1. November 22, 2012 @ 8:45 pm gardennutter

    Hi Katherine, your gunnera looks a fine specimen. I would love a few of them, the bigger the better but I think its too dry here, I don’t even have any shady bits and the soil dries out very quickly. I don’t know much about this plant so I’m going to google it and see if there some ideas I can put into practice so I can have one.
    Thanks for the post,I always enjoy them.

    A bientôt

    Jennie 🙂

    Reply

    • November 23, 2012 @ 10:23 am Katherine

      Thanks Jennie, I adore my Gunnera. They can grow to about 3m x 4m! Yes they definitely need moisture, perhaps you can create a bog garden? I created one back in the UK by digging down and putting a layer of plastic sheeting at the bottom which I pierced in a few spots so that excess water could drain through, but the bulk of it was retained to keep the soil nice and moist. It gets very hot here, and my Gunnera is in full sun most of the time, but seems happy with just having a soggy bum! x

      Reply

  2. March 21, 2014 @ 2:15 pm Moving strawberries and shrubs in spring | jardin-perdu

    […] D’or, which I planted in the border next to our petite source. As last summer wore on, and my Gunnera manicata continued its transformation from plant to giant, I realised that the Physocarpus was soon going to […]

    Reply

  3. July 1, 2017 @ 5:09 pm Moving strawberries and shrubs in spring | jardin-perdu

    […] D’or, which I planted in the border next to our petite source. As last summer wore on, and my Gunnera manicata continued its transformation from plant to giant, I realised that the Physocarpus was soon going to […]

    Reply

  4. November 8, 2018 @ 3:39 pm jardin-perdu / Our Top November Gardening Jobs - jardin-perdu

    […] Not one of our favourite November gardening jobs, as it signifies the imminent end of the gardening season. If you have any tender plants in your garden though, it is time to either bring them inside, store them in your greenhouse or to wrap them in a snug, protective fleece. For me it’s always a sad time, as it means that I have to put my beloved Gunnera Manicata bed for the winter.  If you have a Gunnera in your garden, you can read our earlier blog about how to overwinter them here. […]

    Reply


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Le Jardin Perdu 2018. All images and posts are the property of Katherine Forshaw

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