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Acanthus mollis

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© RHS 2002

Characteristics

Plant type

Herbaceous Perennial

Habit

Columnar/Upright

Resilience

Hardiness

H7 (very hardy)

Colour

Flower

Purple and White in Summer

Foliage

Dark Green in Spring and Summer

Fruit

Green in Autumn

Size

Ultimate height

1-1.5 metres

Ultimate spread

1-1.5 metres

Time to ultimate height

2-5 years


Preferred common name

bear's breech

Family

Acanthaceae


Acanthus are robust herbaceous perennials with handsome, lobed foliage and tall, erect racemes of two-lipped flowers with colourful bracts

A. mollis is a vigorous plant with large, glossy dark green leaves, pinnately lobed and, in late summer, tall racemes of white flowers with dusky purple bracts

Other common names

  • bear's breeches
  • brank ursine
  • common bear's breech
  • soft-leaved bear's breech

Synonym(s)

  • Acanthus lusitanicus hort.
  • Acanthus spinosisimus Host

How to grow

Sunlight

  • Full sun
  • Part shade

Aspect

  • South-facing, North-facing, East-facing or West-facing
  • Exposed or Sheltered

Cultivation

The ideal soil is a deep, fertile, well-drained loam but it will grow in most soils and has good drought tolerance.

Soil

  • Well-drained
  • Acid, Alkaline or Neutral
  • Loam, Chalk or Sand

Propagation

Propagate by division or by root cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types

Drought Resistant, Architectural, Cottage/Informal Garden, Flower borders and beds, Mediterranean Climate Plants, Cut Flowers or Low Maintenance


How to care

Pruning

Cut down old flower stems

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Powdery mildews may be a problem