Alert: Limited Online Availability

Now that summer is here, we have limited our stock for online purchase. Find Monrovia plants at your local garden center. Pre-order for 2023 will be available later this year. ×

Chilean Prickly Rhubarb

Gunnera tinctoria

Enormous, puckered leaves of this tropical looking, prehistoric plant emerge in spring, reaching six feet across or more, creating a dramatic waterside or greenhouse specimen. In late spring, a robust stalk bearing bronzy-brown inflorescence adds to the exotic appeal. Evergreen in frost-free areas.
There are very few rules in gardening, but perhaps the most important one is to work within your zone. Choosing plants that grow and thrive in your particular climate is the very first step toward having a beautiful garden . Learn More

Your climate might be too cold for this plant:


Filtered sun, Partial shade, Partial sun

Water regularly to maintain wet or evenly moist soil - weekly or more.


Due to the seasonal nature of plants, availability at your local garden center is not guaranteed. Give them a call before visiting.

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LoreIn it's native cloud forest habitat, Gunnera tinctoria takes root nearly anywhere the soil has been disturbed. Its natural armor protects it from foraging animals. In South America, particularly Chile, the young leaf stalks are peeled and cooked or eaten raw. The taste is described as acidic and refreshing. Stems are also processed into preserves and liquor, and the juice is used as an astringent. Its roots are used as a black dye. The leaves are used to cover cooking pots and as roofing material in rural areas. Outside of South America, Gunnera tinctoria is primarily used as a distinctive landscape plant.
Average Size at MaturityHuge leaves form a fast-growing clump 8 ft. tall and wide.
Bloom TimeSummer
Design IdeasThe large, dramatic foliage makes a spectacular focal point for a tropical or eclectic garden, where it adds an exotic, primeval look. Place at the edge of ponds, streams, or in a boggy part of the garden where little else will grow, and where it's large leaves will add exceptional texture and proportion.
Deciduous/ EvergreenDeciduous
Flower AttributeShowy Flowers
Flower ColorGreen
Foliage ColorGreen
Growth HabitClumping
Growth RateFast
Landscape UseSpecimen, Very Wet Areas, Water Garden
Light NeedsFiltered sun, Partial shade, Partial sun
Soil NeedsAll-Purpose Plant Food
Special FeatureTolerates Wet Soils, Year-round Interest
Water NeedsHigh
Watering NeedsWater regularly to maintain wet or evenly moist soil - weekly or more.

Prefers rich, well-drained soil and cool summer climates. Water regularly to maintain damp soil. Prune to six inches from ground annually to rejuvenate; use care to avoid spines. Protect the crown with pruned leaf stalks or mulch before thread of frost, to protect through winter. Feed with a controlled release fertilizer when new growth begins in spring.

This Plant's Growing Zones: 7-9

USDA Cold Hardiness Zone Map

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Your climate may be too cold for this plant