In this Gardener's HQ guide, we'll explore cultivating Acanthus plants in your garden, indoor spaces, and other settings.
The common name for the Hardy perennial Acanthus is Bear's breeches.
It typically flowers from late spring and throughout the summer.
Bear's breeches and related plants may be either deciduous or evergreen. Acanthus are large plants of between 30 and 120 cm (1 to 4 feet) and are often used as border plants.
Acanthus have spiky leaves and purple flowers.
Acanthus mollis by Endless Autumn.
Acanthus spinosus photograph by Leonora Enking.
Acanthus hungaricus (Long-leaved Bear's Breach) photograph by Patrick Standish
It is best to plant Acanthus mollis and other members of the genus at a depth of 1/2 cm (1/4 inch), with a planned spacing of about 90 to 120 cm (3 to 4 feet) apart
This should be done after the last frost of spring or in the autumn.
Acanthus plants enjoy light and can be grown in full sunlight or in partly shady conditions.
The soil should be deep and well drained, ideally at a pH between 6 and 7. Acanthus plants are unlikely to survive in wet areas.
If growing the plant indoors, then it should be sown in late winter to early spring in peat pots. They require 20 to 25 days for germination at a temperature of 10 to 15 degrees Celsius (50 to 59°F).
Transfer outside in the early spring.
Acanthus is a very easy plant to care for, it requires watering until flowering begins, but only when conditions become too dry. DO not overwater as plants do not like wet soils.
The Acanthus genus consists of about 30 species, although the exact number can vary based on different taxonomical classifications.
Yes, Acanthus species are highly regarded in horticulture. Their decorative, deeply cut leaves and tall, flower spikes make them excellent choices for garden or landscape design.
Two of the most popular species grown by gardeners are Acanthus mollis (Bear's Breeches) and Acanthus spinosus (Spiny Bear's Breeches).
Members of the Acanthus genus are not typically known for fragrance. Their appeal lies in their unique foliage and striking flower spikes.
Acanthus plants thrive best in partial shade with well-drained soil. However, they can tolerate a wide range of conditions and are quite adaptable.
While Acanthus is not typically classified as invasive in the USA, it can spread quickly in suitable conditions. However, it's best to check with local guidelines as this can vary by region.
To remove Acanthus from your garden, dig up the plant ensuring to remove all root fragments. It's important to note that any remaining root pieces can potentially sprout new plants.
The Acanthus genus consists of perennial plants known for their architectural foliage and ornamental flowers. Native to the Mediterranean region, they can thrive in various climates. Acanthus plants prefer well-drained soil and partial shade but can tolerate full sun. They require regular watering and benefit from organic mulch. These plants are appreciated for their attractive, deeply lobed leaves and tall flower spikes. Acanthus is commonly used in landscaping and gardens for its dramatic, sculptural appearance.