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Acanthus mollis

(Bear's Breeches)

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Hardiness Zones:

Quick Overview:

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-10 where it is easily grown in average, fertile, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants tolerate a wide range of soils except poorly-drained ones. Plants may not flower well in too much shade. Late spring frosts can impair or eliminate flowering for the year. Remove flowering stalks after bloom. In cold winter areas, plant foliage should be left in place over winter but removed in early spring as new foliage appears. Plants can spread aggressively by creeping rootstocks, particularly in loose soils. Unwanted spread can be addressed by root barriers. Plants generally spread less in the northern parts of their growing range.


Acanthus mollis, commonly known as bear’s breeches, is a clump-forming perennial that is grown as much for its attractive foliage as for its architecturally bold flower spikes. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Creamy white (sometimes pink) snapdragon-like flowers, each hooded and subtended by spiny reddish-purple bracts, bloom in late spring to midsummer in vertical rows on substantial flower spikes that rise well above the foliage mound to 3-5’ tall. Deeply lobed, soft-spiny, glossy, dark green leaves (to 2’ long) form a mound of basal foliage. Foliage is mostly evergreen in warm winter climates, but plants lose their leaves when winter temperatures dip below 20 degrees F.

Additional Information

Common Name Bear's Breeches
Botanical Name Acanthus mollis
Container/Amount 1 gallon
Plant Category Perennial
Evergreen or Deciduous Evergreen
Hardiness Zone 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a
Height 3 to 5'
Width 2 to 3'
Growth Rate Average
Light Requirements Sun, Part-sun, Part-shade
Soil Condition Well-drained
Water Needs Average
Blooming Period May-July
Flower Color white
Fragrance No
Foliage Color green
Berry Color No
Deer Resistant Yes

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