Acanthus or Bear's Breeches
Are grown for their tall imposing spikes of showy flowers making this an ideal perennial for the back of the border. Foliage is semi evergreen and is large, glossy and deeply lobed bright green. There are not many types commercially grown and they all have whitish flowers from purplish bracts. Be careful as each bract where the flower forms is guarded by quite nasty, hidden, sharp thorns. They are very architectural specimens with the flower spikes rising and developing as they grow taller and taller. The flowers are a good source of food for friendly insects and last right through from mid summer until they are frosted back in winter.
Where To Site Your Acanthus
The thorns are not a problem as you would usually plant this perennial biggy at the back of an herbaceous border to give some height and structure. They get to around 120 cm tall and some folks use the flowers in an arrangement. They are very popular and we sell out early every season.
How To Grow Acanthus
They like average garden soil in sun or shade and have deep roots from where they repopulate themselves every year.
If you want to gain another plant simply dig up a chunk of root in winter and replant it elsewhere.
Protect crowns in with a big handful of compost for the first winter after planting, then thereafter they will sort themselves with that big old root.