Georgia Gardener Newsletter Cool Plant: May 17, 2007

Bear's Breeches (aka Grecian Pattern Plant)
Acanthus mollis

Species Native Range: Mediterranean area
Hardiness: USDA Zones 7-11
Mature Size: 3-5 feet tall and wide
Exposure: Light to partial shade
Soil: Rich soil that is moist but well-drained
Ease of Culture: Easy

This bold and upright perennial makes a great statement in the garden at the edge of a shady location. The leaves are quite large and can reach nearly 12 inches long. In spring, tall spikes with lipped, two-toned white and purple flowers appear. In warmer climates or mild winters, the plant may remain evergreen.

Bear's Breeches grows best in light to partial shade and isn't too picky about the soil as long as it doesn't stay too moist. BB can spread to form a colony but is easily controlled.

Use BB at the edge of a woodland or shade garden. It mixes well with Hydrangeas, Hostas, Ferns, Hellebores and other shade-tolerant plants. One combination of particular interest would be to combine the extremely large Sum n Substance Hosta with its large light green leaves with BB to create a lush tropical feel.


This plant is widely available from a variety of nurseries.

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