How to Care for a Gunnera Plant


Gunnera (Gunnera tinctoria) is a huge, splashy plant with leaves that can grow as much as 5 feet across and is sure to become a conversation piece in your garden. Gunnera is especially appropriate if you have a pond-side garden or a boggy place where the plant will stay constantly moist. Gunnera will survive an occasional light frost, but if you live in a climate with cold winters, you'll need to bring the plant indoors until spring.

Step 1

Plant gunnera seeds outdoors when the weather warms in spring. Gunnera seeds won't germinate in cold soil. Choose a moist spot in full sunlight. Gunnera can tolerate light shade; the plant won't grow in full shade. If the soil is poor, work in 2 to 3 inches of manure or compost.

Step 2

Keep the soil constantly moist. During warm, dry weather, water the plant daily and never allow the soil to dry out.

Step 3

Fertilize gunnera weekly, using an organic fish emulsion. Apply the fish emulsion according to the directions on the label.

Step 4

Mulch the gunnera plant in autumn if you live in a climate with mild winters. Spready 2 to 3 inches of organic mulch such as chopped leaves, pine needles or bark chips around the base of the plant.

Step 5

Move gunnera to a large container before the weather turns cold if you live in a freezing winter climate. Use a large container with bottom drainage, and fill the container with commercial potting soil. Store the plant in a cool, frost-free room until spring. Keep the soil slightly moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Gunnera seeds
  • Manure or compost
  • Organic fish emulsion
  • Organic mulch
  • Large container (optional)
  • Commercial potting soil (optional)


  • Washington State University: Gunnera
  • Growing Gunnera
Keywords: gunnera plant, plant gunnera, fertilize gunnera

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.