A dramatic foliage plant, Bear's Breeches is impressive in flower, too. Deeply cut, thistle-like leaves form a sculptural mound in full sun or partial shade. Both the bold, vertical spikes of white flowers, which are hooded by spiny, reddish purple bracts, and their seedpods are valuable for cutting.
This genus of about 30 species of perennials and small shrubs dates back to the ancient Greeks, who used the handsome, lobed leaves as the pattern for the Corinthian order on columns. Plants form imposing, generally evergreen mounds that produce grand spikes of hooded blooms in early to midsummer. Grow in full sun or partial shade (required in the South) and moist but well-drained soil.
For more information on growing Acanthus, click Growing Guide.
HOW PLANTS ARE SHIPPED
The size of the plants we ship has been selected to reduce the shock of transplanting. For some, this means a large, bareroot crown. Others cannot travel bareroot or transplant best if grown in containers. We ship these perennials and annuals in 1 pint pots, except as noted. We must point out that many perennials will not bloom the first year after planting, but will the following year, amply rewarding your patience. We ship bulbs as dormant, bare bulbs, sometimes with some wood shavings or moss. Shrubs, Roses, vines, and other woody plants may be shipped bareroot or in pots. The size of the pot is noted in the quick facts for each item.
WHEN WE SHIP
We ship our bulbs and plants at the right time for planting in your area, except as noted, with orders dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis by climate zone. Estimated dates for shipping are indicated in the Shipping Details box for each item. Please refer to the Shipping Details box to determine the earliest shipping time. Unless you specify otherwise, fertilizers, tools, and other non-plant items are shipped with your plants or bulbs. Please supply a street address for delivery. Kindly contact us with two weeks notice, if you'll be away at expected time of delivery.
We guarantee to ship plants that are in prime condition for growing. If your order is damaged or fails to meet your expectations, we will cheerfully replace or refund it. Please contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-503-9624 or email us at [email protected]. Please include your order number or customer number when contacting us.
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Utopia Farm from southwest Ohio
I have had Bears Breeches in my side garden for years. I love it for the connection to art history (look up Acanthus). It's a surprising plant; the leaves are spiny but actually soft and the flower stalks look soft but are actually thorny. Be mindful where you plant this - it will spread and spread and spread. It really wants to be in a large slightly wild area where it can take over.
In the North and on the West Coast, grow in full sun or partial shade and average garden soil. In the South, plant in partial shade and soil that is moist in summer but well drained in winter. Slugs and snails may chew holes in leaves; set out shallow bowls of beer to keep the population in check, put down diatomaceous earth (available at many garden centers) as a barrier, or (in the South) mulch with Zoysia lawn clippings. The foliage is evergreen but may emerge the worse for wear and tear from severe winters. At the limits of cold hardiness (Zone 6 [-10°]), mulch heavily in fall.