Statuesque and rewarding, Acanthus spinosus (Armed Bear's Breech) is an upright, clump-forming perennial boasting a profusion of strikingly elegant spikes of hooded, pure white flowers adorned with spiny, red-purple bracts. Blooming from early to late summer, they rise well above a superb foliage mound of large, shiny, deeply-cut, spine-tipped, dark green leaves, which usually remains attractive throughout the growing season. Bear's Breech is easy to grow, requires very little care, lasts well in bouquets and makes striking dried arrangements. A bold and architectural perennial that may be grown as a specimen and can be splendid in small groupings.
- Grows up to 3-4 ft. high (90-120 cm) and 2-3 ft. wide (60-90 cm). Plants can spread aggressively by creeping rootstocks.
- Performs best in full sun or part shade, in average, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Acanthus is at its best in part shade where summers are hot, but full sun is fine in cool summer areas. It will also survive in deep shade, but may flower little there. Bear's Breech is not fussy about soil conditions, as long as they are well-drained. Good drought tolerance once established.
- A pretty addition to beds and borders, cottage gardens or Mediterranean gardens.
- Virtually pest-free. Watch for powdery mildew.
- Remove flowering stalks after bloom. Propagate by division or by root cuttings.
- Plants may become difficult to eradicate once established since small sections of root left behind can sprout new plants.
- Native to the Mediterranean region.