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Bear's Breeches Acanthus mollis

Other Common Name(s):

Description

Bear's Breeches is an herbaceous perennial native to Europe and Africa with attractive leaves and showy flower spikes.  The leaves are large and deeply lobed making the plant attractive even when not in bloom. The leaves were used as the model for the Corinthian leaf motif in ancient Greek and Roman architecture.

It grows to 4 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide but reaches 5-6 feet tall when in bloom. The tall flower spikes have many 2-lipped tubular flowers in purple and white that bloom May to July. The plant spreads by rhizomes and is best grown in an area with root barriers to prevent unwanted spread.

Bear's Breeches prefers fertile well-drained soils but is tolerant of most soil types except wet ones. It will grow in full sun to partial shade and will do better with some shade in hot climates to prevent leaf scorch. It may go dormant in summer if not irrigated.

Use this plant in the back of the border, in a container or an area surrounded by pavement. Root barriers such as those used for bamboo can be used also. Be sure to plant it where you want it as it is difficult to get rid of once established.

 

Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#thorny#HS302
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#thorny#HS302
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Acanthus
    Species:
    mollis
    Family:
    Acanthaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Europe, Africa
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Description:
    Green oval capsules
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Spike
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Good Dried
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    2-inch tubular flowers are surrounded by green or purplish spiny bracts and occur on a 1-2 foot spike. The flower is 2-lipped with the upper being purple and forming a hood over the lower 3-lobed lip which is white with purple or rose-colored veins. Blooms May to July.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Pinnatifid
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves form a mounded basal cluster of deeply lobed and cut, shiny dark green leaves. They are up to 16 inches long and 10 inches wide on a long stem.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Patio
    Pool/Hardscape
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cutting Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Bees