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ACANTHUS montanus

Image of Acanthus montanus

Grandiflora

Family

Acanthaceae

Botanical Name

ACANTHUS montanus

Plant Common Name

Mountain Thistle

General Description

This shrubby, spreading, semi-evergreen to evergreen perennial bears spiny, leathery leaves that are sharply divided and have attractive silver markings. For most, this native of West Africa is less of an ornamental and more of a weed. Mountain thistle is adapted to the forest understory and grassy fields, so it grows well in sunny and shaded locations.

Tall, upright spikes of pinkish tubular flowers appear from summer to fall. These are highly attractive to bees. Spent flower spikes should be removed to keep the foliage looking attractive and tidy.

Adaptable to full sun and partial shade, mountain thistle grows best to fertile to average soil with good drainage. The plants tend to spread and can be divided in fall or spring. Established specimens will withstand periods of drought. It is a pretty plant for mixed borders and even grows well in container compositions.

Acanthus montanus is considered a noxious weed in certain parts of the world, such as Australia.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 7

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    7 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Perennial

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    4'-6' / 1.2m - 1.8m (6)

  • Width

    18"-26" / 45.7cm - 66.0cm (24)

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer, Early Fall

  • Native To

    Western Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Summer) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Fall) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Winter) Modifier

    Variegated

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Cutflower, Mixed Border, Rock Garden / Wall

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes