Bear's Breeches

Acanthus hungaricus

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acanthus (a-KANTH-us) (Info)
Species: hungaricus (hun-GAR-ee-kus) (Info)
Synonym:Acanthus balcanicus
Synonym:Acanthus longifolius



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink


Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer




Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Wilmington, Delaware

Boise, Idaho

Chicago, Illinois

Greenup, Illinois

Jeffersonville, Indiana

Bridgewater, Massachusetts

Dracut, Massachusetts

Lexington, Massachusetts

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Ithaca, New York

Schenectady, New York

Emerald Isle, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Dayton, Ohio

Austin, Texas

Desoto, Texas

Donna, Texas

Leesburg, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Puyallup, Washington

Seattle, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 20, 2012, Jetlagged40 from Raleigh, NC wrote:

Growing as a volunteer from my neighbor. Located under a high-pruned southern magnolia! Flanked by plum yews. Have two acanthus mollis also under the magnolia. I did plant those, but the hungaricus had the wisdom to locate itself perfectly in the layout!


On Jun 26, 2007, lazepherine from Seattle, WA wrote:

Seattle, WA
zone 8

The bear's breeches I have is acanthus mollis and it's done wonderfully well in a less than ideal spot for years now. It's planted in an alley bed which gets a couple hours of sun in the morning, and often gets really dry in the summer months. BUT- the acanthus blooms every year, and has doubled in size each year since I've planted it. This is a gorgeous architectural plant; if you'd like a little drama in a difficult spot in your garden it's a great candidate. Can't wait till fall so I can do some dividing.
I wonder if there are some varieties of acanthus that are less invasive, like the golden leaved type? It would be worth checking out for those who live in areas where this is a problem. Does anyone have info on this?


On Nov 12, 2005, MitchF from Lindsay, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Does great here with some shade!


On Jun 25, 2005, glenn7 from Dayton, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

In June '04, saw this plant in a test bed at Spring Hill Nursery, Tipp City, OH. Found it again in same spot on 6/24/05. Two Spring Hill staff didn't know what it was; a more knowledgeable staffer was to call me back. But found on Dave's Garden using PlantFiles advanced search. Very unusual looking plant. They really need to add mention of its spikes--hidden under the individual hooded flowers--to the Danger search category. Tried plucking a bloom to take back to the staff, and almost got speared. The foiliage is lush and shiny. Looks like a fancy thistle, so can see how it might become invasive. Gonna try to obtain one for my garden bed and see what happens.


On Nov 17, 2004, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Flowers are rosy-purple and can reach to 48". This plant grows in sunny to partly shady conditions. It is a very low-maintenance plant. Easily grown in average, medium wet, well-drained soil. Can be invasive in certain conditions.


On Nov 11, 2004, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have several small Bear's Breeches here in zone 5, that have been given to me over the past two years, and which florish under the protection of my white pines. Even a very young seedling that I thought had died last winter emerged this summer - late but strong and appears quite healthy. Mine have yet to flower, being quite small, but had no problem living over last winter when we had extended periods of -25 to -20 temperatures. The only mulch was from the needle drop from the white pines.

I have seen locally several nice clumps of these at neighbors - again living under the canopy of pines. A friend cuts her flowers for me to dry for arrangements. Although quite prickly - you have to handle them with care. They make unusual and lovely flowers in dried arrangements. ... read more


On Aug 4, 2003, Ladyfern from Jeffersonville, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

Slow-growing and stately. The flowers are very interesting. It's doing fine under the maple tree where most other perennials languish. Take root cuttings in late autumn or early winter to propagate.