Monday, June 4, 2012


 While walking in the Perannual Allie at Duke Gardens last week this plant caught my attention.  It is beautiful and when I find a place in my garden I hope to add it to my collection

For a bold statement in the garden, nothing makes one better than bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis)! A Mediterranean native that is found mostly in Portugal, northwest Africa, and Croatia, the plant is known to be one of the earliest cultivated garden plants.

This stunning landscape specimen produces leaves up to 3 feet long, and flower spikes that can reach 8 feet! The deeply lobed leaves are

 dark green and shiny, and tipped with soft spines. The plant itself grows in a large clump, reaching about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide before the flower spikes appear. The tubular flowers bloom in early summer and look similar to foxglove; they are creamy or white, with purple or pink edges, and bloom from the bottom of the stalk upward, providing a long display of color.

Easy to grow, Acanthus mollis loves the sun, dry air, and average to rich soil. Once established, the clumps can survive for several decades. Drought and partial shade to do not faze this sturdy garden inhabitant, but it will not tolerate overly or constantly wet soil.

The plant has some susceptibility to powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spot. Bear’s Breeches will grow from fresh seed or 2-3 inch root cuttings, but a word of warning: it can and will expand to fill the space around it, so be vigilant with this striking beauty.

No comments: