How to grow Gunnera manicata

We expanded the catalog of indoor plants with a species capable of developing leaves of more than 2 meters in diameter. If yes, I am not making a mistake in writing it; 2 meters in diameter. You could use a single leaf to make an umbrella. It’s called Gunnera manicata .

In the United States it is known as Giant leaves. Yes, they have not spent much time putting the names.


Gunnera manicata is a plant with very tight needs, typical of temperate areas of Brazil, which is where it comes from, so finding outdoor climatic conditions in Spain is not easy.

Therefore, the only way to enjoy this plant without too many difficulties is usually inside the home. As with any indoor plant, the final size it reaches is always smaller than in the usual outdoor conditions where it grows.

Gunnera manicata indoors will not develop similar leaf umbrellas, although it will reach a considerable size, making it a suitable plant for large and open spaces or covered terraces where we keep the plant out of the cold.

Its leaves, as we said, can reach 2 meters in diameter with large spiny petioles with which we must be careful when handling the plant. The size of the petioles has to support a large foliar mass and they are sometimes confused with the stems.



Its growth optimum is around 20 ºC . It does not bear well the cold and the excessive drafts. If it were the case that it can be kept outdoors, the winter must be spent protected in our latitudes.

It is a rhizomatous plant and with the cold the aerial part can die and then re-sprout but the leaves will not support it. Outdoors, adaptation is important since the plant is young.


Many of the plants that we usually have indoors need filtered sun and suffer from too much exposure. It is not the case with this plant that is not afraid of indoor exposure.

Outdoors I can tolerate direct sun conditions if irrigation is not lacking, although semi-shade is perhaps the most appropriate.


Its natural habitat is humid and it is what it demands. Its large leaf surface causes high perspiration and irrigation cannot be neglected. It is not advisable to let the substrate dry between waterings and in summer, the ambient humidity will be a factor to take into account.

As always the use of wet pebbles around the Gunnera or sprays are the most common solutions.


Bearing in mind that the substrate must not be allowed to dry between waterings, it must have a good moisture retention capacity.

Peat mulch and garden soil mixtures are the most common for Gunnera.


The division of clumps is the simplest and most effective method since it requires a little more attention and work for seeds.

The germination conditions are very specific but if you want to try, we will tell you how:

  • Needs high humidity to germinate
  • Temperatures between 24 ºC and 29 ºC
  • Sowing during spring-summer (February to July)

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