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Zones 4-6, 14-17, 20-28, 31, 32
Partial Sun
Partial
Ample Water
Ample

Gunnera

Gunneraceae
Perennials

Big, bold, awe-inspiring South American plants grow to 8 ft. high and as wide or wider, with giant leaves (4–8 ft. across) on 4–6-ft.-long stalks covered in stiff hairs. Leaves are conspicuously veined, with lobed and cut edges. Given space (they need plenty) and the necessary care, these plants can be the ultimate summertime conversation pieces. New sets of leaves grow each spring. In mild-winter areas, old leaves remain green for more than a year. Elsewhere, leaves die back completely in winter. Flower clusters to 1 1/2 ft. long resemble corncobs, form close to roots. Tiny fruits are red.

Gunnera tinctoria
Gunnera tinctoria

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Gunnera tinctoria

From Chile. This is the most common species, with lobed, toothed, somewhat frilled leaf margins. Leaves are cupped, flaring, and bigger than umbrellas, with the plant holding them more vertically than those of G. manicata. Leaves are on 6-foot stalks; to support them in their giant dinosaur-conjuring glory, give plants plenty of water.

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