Acanthus mollis

bear's breeches

9cm pot
pot size guide
£4.99 Buy
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  • Position: full sun or partial shade
  • Soil: deep, fertile, well-drained soil
  • Rate of growth: fast-growing
  • Flowering period: July to August
  • Hardiness: fully hardy

    Enormous, deeply lobed leaves, that can grow up to 1m long form impressive clumps, from which tall flowerspikes emerge in late summer. These are clothed in white flowers, each with a hood-like purple bract, creating a two-tone effect. This vigorous perennial has a striking architectural presence and the flowers can be used in both fresh and dried arrangements.

  • Garden care: To minimise the risk of powdery mildew taking hold ensure that the plant is watered well during hot, dry spells.To rejuvenate and minimise congestion, lift and divide large clumps in autumn or spring.

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4 Questions | 4 Answers
Displaying questions 1-4
  • Q:

    Hi- my acanthus had grown way too big for its space, covering a window and path, so I have had to remove it. However, it keeps re-sprouting - any tips on removal? Thank you.
    Asked on 6/4/2016 by NoviceGardener from Surrey

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor



      These plants tend to have a fairly large root system once they have settled in, so you need to make sure you have dug it all up to prevent it re-shooting. Otherwise you can use weedkiller on it - or just keep on pulling up the new shoots. In time this will eventually weaken the plant and it will gradually give up.

      Answered on 8/4/2016 by Helen from crocus
  • Q:

    any tips for getting rid of powdery mildew? I live in North Derbyshire we have had about 5 days of hot weather a fortnight ago and I kept it well watered but its still covered in mildew
    Asked on 30/5/2014 by EleBear from Chesterfield

    1 answer

    • Plant Doctor



      These plants are susceptible to this annoying (but generally relatively harmless) fungal disease. It is encouraged by the plant being dry at the roots with damp stagnant air around the top of the plant, so you should keep the plant well watered and try to improve air circulation around the top. Each year when the plant dies back, you should remove all the dead leaves to prevent the spores from over-wintering and mulch well in spring and autumn with well rotted farmyard manure to prevent the roots drying out. If you really want to blitz it, you can spray with a systemic fungicide at the first signs of attack. You can also use this spray prior to any signs of the disease, as a preventative measure.

      Answered on 2/6/2014 by helen from crocus
  • Q:

    Acanthus - 'Bears Breeches'

    I bought this plant from you last year and although it is still alive it doesn't grow very big and has never really formed any breeches. What am I doing wrong? Thank you
    Asked on 15/4/2010 by Lis Wallace

    1 answer

    • A:

      Hello There, I am not really sure why your Acanthus is not thriving, although it is worth keeping in mind that they die right back in autumn and wont really have started growing much (if at all) just yet this year. If you planted yours later in the year last year, then this would explain while there has been little growth, but if it was planted in the earlier part of the year then perhaps the plant was concentrating on putting on root growth rather than top growth. They like a spot in full sun or partial shade with deep, fertile, well-drained soil and given time they are quite boisterous, so I would try to improve the growing conditions if you can and hopefully you will see some action soon. I'm sorry not to be more help. Helen Plant Doctor

      Answered on 15/4/2010 by Crocus Helpdesk
  • Q:

    Why won't my Bear's breeches flower?

    It's in a half sunny/half shaded spot and it's leaves seem healthy enough - altough some of them have brown edges - and I've been feeding it. Yet it just won't flower. Any ideas. Thanks, Andree
    Asked on 22/6/2009 by Andree Frieze

    1 answer

    • A:

      Hello Andree, The most likely cause is either too much shade, or not enough of the right nutrients. To encourage flowering, you can feed it with a high potash fertiliser, which should give it a bit of a push. I hope this helps. Helen Plant Doctor

      Answered on 22/6/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Displaying questions 1-4

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