Sick Gunnera

Discussion in 'HortForum' started by zinzara, Apr 1, 2004.

  1. zinzara

    zinzara Member

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    Location:
    Port Coquitlam, BC
    Hi.

    I bought a gunnera plant recently at a nursery in a one gallon pot, it had already 4 leaves on it. I was advised when I bought it that it needed to be kept indoors (treated like a houseplant) until mid-april, and then planted outside. I have been faithful in caring for it, keeping it in a cool north facing window and always have kept it very well watered as I know they like boggy conditions.

    The problem: Over the last 3 days, although it continues to grow in height, the oldest of the leaves has gone brown and dry around the edges and this same thing is happening to a lesser degree on all the leaves. I'm scared something bad is happening to my precious plant!

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Bill

    Bill Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    West Van
    You are in the Greater Vancouver area - I'd whack that puppy in the ground now - preferably near water. It is obviously unhappy on the windowsill.

    If you want to see a picture of what they become, look at
    http://www.rhodo.citymax.com/albums/album_image/112402/12361.htm

    That was 3 years ago and it was half the size of my garage - it adds a couple of feet a year and has leaves 4 feet across.

    Mine is sending up new growth right now - I would think that even a small one would be fine outside as we are pretty much past any likelihood of frost.

    I chop off the leaves at the end of the season each year, pile them on top of the plant, and weight them down with the chopped off stems (wear gloves!) to see them through the winter. We (uncharacteristically) saw -8 or 9 deg. this winter and they weren't bothered at all. BY Spring, the leaves will have pretty much rotted and you can toss the remains of the stems away.

    While we are talking about Gunnera - funny story - a local shop told me that when he was away one day, the staff sold a dozen Gunnera the size of yours to one person. He later saw them in a local yard - planted on 2 foot centres!!

    Clearly a customer with no real idea of the magnitude of Gunnera ownership!
     
  3. Palm Nut

    Palm Nut Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Vancouver BC Canada
    I've had one for several years now. I've done the same thing, cutting the leaves and making a teepee cover for the winter. I remember seeing that's what was done to the Gunneras in Stanley Park. This past winter, I either forgot or didn't get around to covering my gunnera. I thought for sure the Big Freese of 204 killed it. I've done some spring garden cleanup last week and noticed there are new shoots. I'm so grateful its still alive. Yipee..

    Unfortunately, mine has never grown higher that 2' I've had it in full sun and also in part shade and its never grown taller than this.
     
  4. Bill

    Bill Active Member 10 Years

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    2"??

    Are you sure you have G. manicata?
    G. chilensis is a bit smaller, though not usually 2' high, and G. magellanica is a small ground cover and wouldn't even reach 2'.

    Maybe you have a chilensis that isn't in the right place - too dry, perhaps?

    Heck - the base of my plants are taller than that before the stalks start!
     
  5. Palm Nut

    Palm Nut Active Member 10 Years

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    Unfortunately, I did not write in my book which variety is was.
     
  6. zinzara

    zinzara Member

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    Location:
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    Thank you for your help Bill

    Since posting, I moved the gunnera to my shaded greenhouse until I had a chance to place it in the garden. I removed the 2 most damaged leaves and it has sent up 2 new ones with no damage. It has been placed in nearly full shade in a bog garden at the edge of a natural stream (this area only receives about 1/2 hour of sun per day). It will have plenty of moisture there and seems to be quite happy now in its new home. Currently it is about 18" high, but I'm hoping it will get VERY big soon! I have allowed a 12' x 10' corner of the yard, it's own haven to grow as it will... Thank you also for all the care information, I have read quite a bit about caring for these giants and the consensus seems to be exactly what you have described.

    Bill, that was such a funny story about the gardener with the grouped Gunneras. Since you are in West Van, I'm assuming they are too... I hope I run across that garden later in the year, I'm sure it will make me laugh when I see their overgrown jungle patch!

    Cheers
     
  7. Carol Ja

    Carol Ja Active Member 10 Years

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    Location:
    Salt Spring Island
    To my knowledge, Gunnera Manicata likes full sun and moist soil. Mine is in hot south facing sun and drinks like a pig. I leave it out all year round, and make a teepe out of its own leaves for winter.
    Carol Ja
     

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