Bear’s Breeches

Acanthus spinosus

Bear’s Breeches   - Acanthus spinosus

Common Name: Bear’s Breeches
Genus: Acanthus
Species: spinosus

The word Acanthus is derived from the ancient Greek for prickle; a reference to the spiny leaves.

Category: Perennials
Growth Rate: Fast growing
Features: Has interesting foliage, A good architectural plant, Long flowering period

Hardiness: HardyHeight: 1.50 m (150 cm)
Sun/Shade: Full sun or Partial shadeSpread: 2.00 m (200 cm)

Foliage Type: Semi EvergreenFlower Colour: Purple, White
Foliage Colour: GreenFlowering Period: May to August

Soil Type: Normal/Loam or Clay/Heavy
Soil Moisture: Dry, well drained or Moist, but well drained

The leaves of this statuesque, architectural perennial are deeply divided, spiny and large, growing up to 1 metre in length in early spring. White flowers are produced in late spring and early summer, rising above the foliage on tall, upright spikes. The flowers have a purple hood. Native of the Eastern Mediterranean region this Acanthus forms a clump. The seed heads are also of note, and left to develop, they self-set to increase stock. Performs best in deep fertile well-drained soil. It thrives best in dappled shade and although it will take full sun the leaves may scorch. Plant it as a specimen plant in a mixed border and give it plenty of room to spread itself out.

Garden care: To minimise the risk of powdery mildew taking hold ensure that the plant is watered well during hot dry spells. To rejuvenate and minimise congestion lift and divide large clumps in autumn or spring. Slugs and snails love this plant so pick them off regularly.


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