Holy cow, Great Gunnera! No... this is not something your High School Health teacher was embarrassed to discuss!
Great Gunnera is a very unique and uncommon plant.
(Honeysome Aquatic Nursery)Often called Giant Rhubarb and sometimes called The Dinosaur Plant, it is a native of the tropical forests of Costa Rica, Columbia and Brazil. The plant itself can grow to be ten feet high and just as wide, with single leaves reaching 4 to 6 feet across!
(photo found on Flickr)Gunnera prefers wet, boggy soil and so it is a perfect plant to use beside a pond. It also prefers some shade, especially in hotter climates. I'm told it does not like cold weather nor does it like hot humid weather. I've also read that is very finicky and difficult to grow. Despite all this, I decided the unmatched drama of the foliage was worth a try! I located a nursery in Oregon, Forest Farm, that carries tuber plants at a very reasonable price. I ordered three and was very pleased with my purchase. Not only was the service fast, but the tubers were a really nice size with a great root structure and at least 3 new leaves on each plant. When the tubers arrived, I removed them from the small pots they arrived in and transplanted them into large pots for a few weeks so they could become acclimated to our climate. This past weekend I decided to plant them in the ground. I planted one at the edge of the pond near the waterfall, one towards the back of our yard in a very "natural" area and the third I planted in the shade garden off the side screen porch.
I can't wait to see how these guys perform and I'm hoping I'll have some spectacular pictures to share with you over the summer!
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