Advanced Search Filters

Plant Type
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
Sunset Zone
Function
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Water Requirement

ACANTHUS spinosus

Image of Acanthus spinosus

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Acanthaceae

Botanical Name

ACANTHUS spinosus

Plant Common Name

Armed Bear's Breeches, Spiny Bear's Breeches

General Description

Spiny acanthus is a clump-forming, evergreen to semi-evergreen perennial native to southern Europe. It is a bold, old-fashioned perennial that offers tall spikes of interesting flowers of maroon and ivory as well as interesting rosettes of deeply lobed, coarsely edged, dark green leaves that look good through the season.

From late spring to midsummer it becomes topped with spikes of bicolored white and maroon-purple flowers subtended by dark green bracts. The flowers are very attractive to bees. Its deeply cut, dark green leaves have spiny margins and add architectural lines and interest to garden designs. One notable cultivar is 'Lady Moore', which has creamy white and green variegated foliage in spring, which turns green later in the season.

Grow this stately plant in full to partial sun and average to fertile soil with good drainage. Its clumps tend to spread and can be divided in fall or spring. This old-fashioned garden favorite is ideal for historic gardens and sunny beds. Both the foliage and flowers offer striking interest, and its tall flower stems can be cut for floral arrangements.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 5

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    5 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 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

    36"-48" / 91.4cm - 121.9cm

  • Width

    24"-36" / 61.0cm - 91.4cm

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer, Summer

  • Native To

    Southern Europe

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Purple, Burgundy

  • Flower Color Modifier

    Bicolor

  • Fruit Color

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • 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

    Bold

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Dried Flower / Everlasting, Cutflower, Feature Plant, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    Yes

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes