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What is eating my gunnera stems?

I have a bog garden in which I have planted a gunnera, hoping that it will settle and grow following two previous attempts with smaller specimens, one of which was eaten and one of which I failed to overwinter.  However, something is eating this new plant - mainly the stems.  I have seen reports elsewhere about slugs eating the leaves, but in our case something is stripping the stems specifically.  I have taken slug precautions, but the stripping continues and all three main leaves are now collapsed.  Please help as I would love to be able to grow this magnificent plant.  We don't have deer or rabbits in the garden.



  • I am having nearly the exact same problem! As the new leaves emerge, they are severed at the stem and left lying on the ground! I presumed slugs to begin with, but in case it was something else, built 2 cages which I placed over the poor plants and anchored to the ground. Something tried to push them over so i rescued the cages.  I moved one into a pot nearer the house to keep an eye on it, where it is slowly recovering while the other grew tremendously once protected. When it got too big for the cage and covered in tough spines, I released it and thought the problem solved, until today! I've just found it with 3 or 4 leaves severed at the base of the stalk! I'm so frustrated as to what to do. The garden centre suggests deer could have done it, but it is definitely not slugs or snails as they could have eaten it in the cage. My bog garden looks terrible with out the 2 gunners I'd planned. Can anyone suggest anything?
  • My poor gunnera is now leafless entirely, with only the flower spike left.  I can dig it out and keep it in a pot closer to the house, but that rather removes the point of planting it in the bog garden in the first place.  Good to know it's not just me, but solutions (short of building a cage round the bog garden) would be appreciated.  My stems were good and spiky before something stripped them.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,391
    Where abouts are you, ikh?  I read that squirrels are partial to gnawing young stems.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • Hi and thanks for replying.  We are in Kent, with a large garden in a town location, surrounded by other gardens.  Yes, we do have squirrels and that is a possibility, but it is not just the young stems which are eaten - they seem to systematically strip each stem in turn sometimes from the top, sometimes from the bottom.  We also have foxes and our own pet labrador.  Not aware of any deer in the area.
  • sihatleysihatley Posts: 4
    Same problem?
  • Yup, looks very familiar.  Any ideas?
  • BurtsnestBurtsnest North westPosts: 174
    I have had a similar issues. The heads of Dianthus being chewed off and a stem of a very tall Allium Bullgaricum flower shredded off at the top. Leaving a 2ft stick poking out of the ground 🙄 On a recent TV programme they talked of squirrels chewing through  bark on trees in woodland areas. They said (they think) one reason is if there are too many males in one area the males become frustrated and knaw through things. I've had to put it down to this as it drove me mad. We too are in a town location, with a lot of frustrated squirrels. 
  • Squirrels are the only thing I can think of, I'm just not sure how to stop them as it is a little difficult keeping squirrels off something as large as a gunnera.
  • I'm giving up on gunnera!I have 2 stumps left, one eaten by slugs in a pot and the other by squirrels, perhaps? I'm going to try Darmera Peltata, which I heard was a similar sort of plant but easier to grow. Lets hope the squirrels don't like it!
  • sihatleysihatley Posts: 4
    edited August 2018
    Installed motion activated camera to confirm the cause of the damage...
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