Acanthus mollis

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Common Names: Bear's breech

 

Family: Acanthaceae

Origin: Mediterranean

Type: Herbaceous Perennial

Size: 3 to 4 ft. high and wide; flower spikes to 6 ft. 

Flowers: White to purple flowers on long spikes, late spring or summer; unusually large leaves to 2 ft. long, dark green, shiny, deeply lobed. 

Uses: Shade plant or dry sunny spot; color accent, formal garden, cut flowers, near oaks. Fire resistive. 

Wildlife: Bee pollinated. Deer resistant. Rabbit resistant.

Soil: Tolerates variety, but must be well-drained.

Water: Medium; periodic water during heat will keep leaves green, otherwise plant will lose leaves. 

Sun: Full sun to some shade. 

Pruning: Prune off spent flower spikes. Divide in winter. 

Pests & Diseases: Snails and Slugs; powdery mildew.

Notes: Roots can become invasive. Seeds profusely. The flowers and leaves have inspired the decorations from Greek Corinthian columns (500 BC) through modern architecture. Hardy to 0° F.