perennial

Bear's Breeches

Acanthus mollis

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Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis) at Calloway's Nursery

Acanthus mollis in bloom

Acanthus mollis in bloom

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis) at Calloway's Nursery

Acanthus mollis

Acanthus mollis

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  3 feet

Flower Height:  5 feet

Spread:  4 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  7

Description:

Large, deep green jagged leaves have great texture and interest; beautiful spikes of pink/white flowers tower over the foliage; long leaves are deeply cut; a vigorous grower with a stunning presentation

Ornamental Features

Bear's Breeches features showy spikes of shell pink hooded flowers with white overtones rising above the foliage in late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive large deeply cut lobed leaves remain dark green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Bear's Breeches is an open herbaceous evergreen perennial with a rigidly upright and towering form. Its wonderfully bold, coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced garden composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Bear's Breeches is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Bear's Breeches will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 5 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 4 feet. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division.

Bear's Breeches is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features

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