Spiny Bear's Breeches
Acanthus spinosus 'Spinosissimus'
Spiny Bear's Breeches
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Plant Height: 3 feet
Flower Height: 4 feet
Spread: 3 feet
Hardiness Zone: 4
Other Names: Oyster Plant, Spinosissimus Group
Large, spiny leaves are glossy green; beautiful spikes of violet flowers subtended by spiny purple bracts; interesting form; remains attractive throughout the season
Spiny Bear's Breeches features showy spikes of violet hooded flowers with purple bracts rising above the foliage in late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive large spiny lobed leaves remain forest green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Spiny Bear's Breeches is an open herbaceous evergreen perennial with a rigidly upright and towering form. Its relatively coarse texture can be used to stand it apart from other garden plants with finer foliage.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;
Spiny Bear's Breeches is recommended for the following landscape applications;
Planting & Growing
Spiny Bear's Breeches will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 4 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 3 feet. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.
This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Spiny Bear's Breeches is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.