Acanthus Species, Bear's Breeches, Oyster Plant

Acanthus mollis

Family: Acanthaceae (ah-kanth-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Acanthus (a-KANTH-us) (Info)
Species: mollis (MAW-liss) (Info)
Synonym:Acanthus latifolius
Synonym:Acanthus lusitanicus
Synonym:Acanthus mollis subsp. platyphyllus
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Gaylesville, Alabama

Hazel Green, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Glendale, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Ashdown, Arkansas

Sherwood, Arkansas

Burbank, California


Clovis, California

Crescent City, California

Davis, California

Grass Valley, California

Hayward, California

Los Angeles, California

Madera, California

Manhattan Beach, California

Merced, California

North Auburn, California

Oak View, California

Roseville, California

San Diego, California

San Francisco, California(2 reports)

San Luis Obispo, California

Santa Monica, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Visalia, California

Denver, Colorado

Yulee, Florida

Alto, Georgia

Atlanta, Georgia

Boise, Idaho(2 reports)

Greenup, Illinois

Bloomington, Indiana

Lawrence, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Lafayette, Louisiana

Merryville, Louisiana

Zachary, Louisiana

East Longmeadow, Massachusetts

Hastings, Michigan

Florence, Mississippi

Pass Christian, Mississippi

Pontotoc, Mississippi

Starkville, Mississippi

Wyckoff, New Jersey

Ithaca, New York

Durham, North Carolina

Carroll, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Ashland, Oregon

Coos Bay, Oregon

Junction City, Oregon

Portland, Oregon(7 reports)

Roseburg, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Malvern, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Ladys Island, South Carolina

Summerville, South Carolina

Toone, Tennessee

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Bastrop, Texas

Brenham, Texas

Collinsville, Texas

Conroe, Texas

Corsicana, Texas

Dallas, Texas(2 reports)

Fort Worth, Texas

Hereford, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Lufkin, Texas

Mc Kinney, Texas(2 reports)

Odessa, Texas

Princeton, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Charlottesville, Virginia

Herndon, Virginia

Leesburg, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Freeland, Washington

Kalama, Washington

Poulsbo, Washington

Renton, Washington

Seattle, Washington(4 reports)

Stanwood, Washington

Bruceton Mills, West Virginia

Twin Lakes, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 31, 2021, maryann5675 from Charlottesville, VA wrote:

We planted 3 varieties under some white pines about 10 or more years ago. 2 varieties died out and one remained, slowly growing and spreading. Then we needed to take out the white pines, before all of them fell down, and the acanthus began its takeover.

At first I tried to limit the plant to a small area, taking out just a few of them, but those ropey rubbery long roots go everywhere, and plants began popping up yards away from the Mother Plant. As others have noted, RoundUp, even the poison ivy strength, is futile. I am continuing to pull up the roots, but any small piece left behind becomes a new plant. Last weekend I cut the sprouting leaves and sprayed the cuts with Poison Ivy Round Up in the hopes that will work.

My husband likes the plant, so I ... read more


On Apr 12, 2018, pixilated from Hazel Green, AL (Zone 7a) wrote:

I have seen several comments/questions here that were never answered.

1. HOW TO KILL IT. If the growing plants go dormant were you live then the best time to use an herbicide (RU) on them would be in the late summer or early fall. The plants are actively pulling down and getting ready for sleep... the roundup will be pulled down to the tubers then. You may need a second application in spring. Don't forget to use a fixative to make the herbicide stick to the leaves! A little bit of dish soap: 1 tbs to a gallon of your mixture. BTW, this works for Violets too.

2. WHEN TO PLANT. I gathered my root cutting in July and planted it as soon as I got to our new home. (CA to AL) It was HOT then but I just kept them mulched and moist. They are a very successful... read more


On Jul 3, 2017, Eunsan from Vancouver ,
Canada wrote:

I have grown acanthus mollis for several years during which time original plants have enlarged and now enjoy a 2 - 3' footprint.

There have been well deserved complaints about this plant going everywhere. My observations indicate that as long as the flowers are dead-headed before they throw (yes throw) seeds they will stay where they are supposed to. If you fail to do so, and the next year see new unwanted plants, they are easily removed by digging them out completely, noting the comments about root cuttings. In friable soil even 2 year old volunteers are easily removed.

I have had no need to remove a mature plant, but appreciate the comments about root "cuttings" from this deeply rooted plant.

Not for everyone, but removal of near mature see... read more


On Apr 14, 2015, RSSM from Durham, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Yet another highly invasive Asiatic plant that does not belong in your garden. We inherited a front bed filled with acanthus and hellebore. We were able to dig out the Lenten Roses to transplant and give away and then proceed to TRY to dig out the acanthus roots. The plant does not respond to RoundUp and requires multiple digging to get the roots. Even then, volunteers pop up. I can't stress this enough -- use native plants, not Asiatic exotics, whenever you can. The wildlife will be grateful, and so will you. Put this plant in a pot if you must have it.


On Nov 5, 2013, worth1 from Bastrop, TX wrote:

I bought two of these plants in 2006.
They are growing in red clay loam soil that is full of cobbles in my shady wooded front yard.
One was divided and put next to the other.
Now all three are doing great, they bloom in the spring die back in late summer and come back up for the fall and winter.
So far they are not invasive but with a new underground irrigation system they may start to spread.
I could think of worse things to have in a yard.
I have nothing but horse herb for ground cover anyway.
Great for winter greenery here in central Texas.


On Sep 6, 2012, greshamdadjohn from Gresham, OR wrote:

Grows rapidly after temps get above freezing, but is seriously disfigured by snails and slugs despite heavy treatment with slug&snail bait. It also seeds itself to a limited extent.


On Aug 30, 2012, victoriajane from Comox and Victoria,
Canada wrote:

I have a two year old BB in a mainly sunny spot, (think a Zone 7 area) it is now too big for its spot and has produced two attractive babies which I have dug up (I hope) and I am planning to move the big one to the back of my garden where it will be shadier but where the deer can get it...does anyone know if deer eat Bear's Breeches?


On Apr 29, 2012, sandraky from Louisville, KY wrote:

Love this plant,maybe because I completely misunderstood its culture when I planted it in part, now deep shade and not the best drainage( I call that area the moss garden). It has neither spread nor made babies, but it has bloomed and the satin shiny leaves look amazing against mossy velvet. It is now losing ground to a blue wave hydrangea and needs to be moved...will it tolerate this at maturity?


On Mar 30, 2012, gipsi from Hamilton,
New Zealand wrote:

Woody weedkiller has knocked it about quite nicely. Am going to give it another dose, undiluted into some holes drilled with the cordless drill. That will teach it :)


On Mar 20, 2012, chuck7701 from McKinney, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Bought this years ago when it was in bloom and planted it at the time in a lot of hot summer sun. Now grows in a more shady location with morning sun. Does well, love the dark green almost year round foliage interest.

Usually freezes the leaves and stalks in a hard freeze, but new shoots emerge quickly after. I have not had the invasive problem many write about, but that may be due to the usual die back in winter. This year it did not freeze back and is quite large. The plant has never bloomed for me in over five years, I suspect mostly due to winter freezes. Have dug it and moved it maybe twice during that time.


On Aug 10, 2011, denvergreen from Denver, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I've always loved this plant since the time I saw it growing in my sister's yard in southern California. Beautiful and unique! I'm surprised to see it listed as a zone 7-9 perennial as I've had it in my zone 5b garden for three or four years in Denver, Colorado. I do have it in a fairly protected area. One of the nice things about cold winter climates is that plants have a harder time which might be why it has not been invasive for me.


On Jun 5, 2011, dustycotton from Visalia, CA wrote:

Absolutely loathe this plant! Moved into our house about 4 years ago with this plant already well established and we just can't get rid of it! I am ready to take a bulldozer to the entire flowerbed in the front and just toss the soil. It has moved under our side fence and started growing in the backyard too.


On Apr 30, 2011, punkinkat from Roseburg, OR wrote:

I have 4 of these wonderful plants in my garden in Roseburg, OR. A friend gave me a start and did warn me about its invasive tendencies. 2 plants are in 1/2 barrel planters flanking our garden gate. They receive a.m. sun only and are doing very well. Both bloomed second year from planting a very small root. My big one is 4 years old, planted in straight up clay with no amendments, gets watered 1-2 times in the summer and receives sun until about 2 p.m. Blooms profusely and is a show stopper sitting just above our fish pond and water fall. Has now begun to spread and I will be sharing it with a friend who needs a stabilizing plant for her dry hillside. My 4th one does so-so as it is also in straight clay, but receives constant water from a shallow spring, which it doesn't like in t... read more


On Apr 28, 2011, margiebee from Hastings,
New Zealand wrote:

Moving to a lifestyle farm in rural NZ, we discovered this apparently charming plant, acanthus mollis, growing in the front garden. Beautiful leaves and later, lovely spikes of purple and white flowers. What I didn't know is that this plant takes over in the garden - it takes no prisoners. It spreads like wildfire. I noted the comment, already posted, that RoundUp doesn't touch it. That is my experience.
All my gardening friends and gurus locally tell me to get it out of the property - FAST! I agree - I think this will be a case of digging it out, bit by bit, until it is gone. Unless anyone has any other suggestions for me to try? Please?
Acanthus looks great at the top of Corinthian columns. But that is where it belongs, in my view.


On Aug 3, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC (Zone 8a) wrote:

Acanthus dies completely back each winter here in central SC. It looks okay during spring and autumn, but wilts and goes away again when intense summer heat arrives. Because it doesn't thrive here, I wouldn't recommend this plant for those who live in the southeast. I've found it to be a source of endless frustration.


On Aug 3, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC wrote:

Acanthus dies completely back each winter here in central SC. It looks okay during spring and autumn, but wilts and goes away again when intense summer heat arrives. Because it doesn't thrive here, I wouldn't recommend this plant for those who live in the southeast. I've found it to be a source of endless frustration.


On Aug 3, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC wrote:

Acanthus dies completely back each winter here in central SC. It looks okay during spring and autumn, but wilts and goes away again when intense summer heat arrives. Because it doesn't thrive here, I wouldn't recommend this plant for those who live in the southeast. I've found it to be a source of endless frustration.


On Aug 3, 2010, donnacreation from Sumter, SC wrote:

Acanthus dies completely back each winter here in central SC. It looks okay during spring and autumn, but wilts and goes away again when intense summer heat arrives. Because it doesn't thrive here, I wouldn't recommend this plant for those who live in the southeast. I've found it to be a source of endless frustration.


On Jun 29, 2010, lkcjaj from pittsburgh,
United States wrote:

This plant is alive and well in my zone 5 garden. I love it.


On Jun 17, 2010, myriban from Northeast region, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant is not only growing but THRIVING in a couple different types of light in a backyard garden in NJ zone 6b. I just saw it on a House & Garden tour and while they won't all bloom at the same time (due to the differences in sun exposure) - they are doing very well there. Fertilizer? The owner uses a 10-10-10 in the spring around her whole garden and throws epsom salts around as well to make up for lack of trace elements, particularly magnesium. I'm going to try it.


On Jun 8, 2010, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

Mine is planted inground, in a mostly shaded, average moist location. It goes dormant in the summer. Has not grown out of bounds.


On May 11, 2010, kelcasey from Coronado, CA wrote:

Well, so far, so good. I planted a 4" pot and it's totally taken off. And in some pretty bad soil. It does seem to like a lot of water, but I think this is due to the rather rocky soil. It's beginning to bloom already.

I have a couple of questions-- do hummingbirds like it?

Also, when talking about "invasive"-- could someone describe that? I wouldn't mind if it just grew into the rest of the area where I'm not having great success (it's sitting near a new fence, and the neighbors have a Ficus tree we're always battling with). Thanks!


On Mar 29, 2010, Toots136 from Glendale, AZ wrote:

I had to laugh at some of the negative comments made about this plant altho' it is true that once you have it, it is forever with you. I absolutely LOVE it! I planted a small root behind a row of roses some years ago and by the end of the season, my neighbors gave me more compliments and question on it than the roses.
As far as propagating it, all I do is dig around the base of the plant, (any time during the growing season), cut off a piece of root and plant it. I now have a garden pretty much based on ths plant.
I recently moved and since my old place is still vacant, I've been over there 4 or 5 times for more roots and, like other members have said, they are still there and sprouting.

If you've got it, love it, because it loves you and will continue to sh... read more


On Feb 6, 2010, Musty123 from Stratford,
New Zealand wrote:

I'm in New Zealand and this plant,all tho invasive,grows exceptionally well,and is beautiful for foliage and flower.I love it,and I'm hoping that it grows everywhere for me,as I only have a reasonably small plant,at this stage.


On Aug 26, 2009, gardeningrookie from Victoria,
Canada wrote:

Hi, I need help!!! I fell in love with Bear's Breech when my father was put into care. It grew outside his cottage and was stunning, I had never seen anything quite like it. Four years ago I bought a gallon plant and was so excited expecting to see something that even partially resembled the plant from my dads care home. Well here I sit four years later and all it produces is 2 or 3 (if Im lucky) small little flimsy branches about 6 inches long with a small leaf at the end..... I have it planted in sun/shade and I don't know what Im doing wrong. I went on a garden tour this past April and one of the gardens I saw had a stunning bear's breech that the home owner told me was only two years old, I could not believe it, it almost seems like the plant I bought or thought I bought wasn't the... read more


On Feb 6, 2009, Seandor from Springfield, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

I don't know how I feel 'cause so far I haven't been able to get one! I was sent some seeds, but no luck in germinating them.


On Nov 17, 2008, catchawave from Victoria,
Canada wrote:

As my first time on this site, I wanted to thank readers for their information on Acanthus mollis. I planted it this summer in a partially shady area under pine trees and it is doing very well with beautiful flowers. We are Zone 8 in Victoria, Canada and I hope to enjoy the plant for many years.


On Jun 10, 2008, robcorreia from San Diego, CA (Zone 10b) wrote:

This is a stunning plant when in bloom. The blooms last forever! Leaves are showy and glossy. Very easy to care for, actually as long as you water they pretty much take care of themselves!


On May 18, 2008, shirleyd from Starkville, MS wrote:

I have had an Acanthus Mollis growing in my garden in Starkville, Mississippi for 10 years. For the first time it is putting up a bloom stalk. Also, beneath the 3 foot long leaves I have discovered some small plants. Is this the time to move them or should I wait until Fall or Winter?



On Apr 27, 2008, WombatFamily from Brenham, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I love it. Glossy dark green all winter here in zone 8b, needs water to establish and then it's pretty okay. I like stuff that "takes over", though -- I'm all about the green, "going wild" kind of garden.


On Apr 14, 2008, carrolljean from Carroll, OH wrote:

I have grown this plant in central Ohio for about 8 years. It's difficult to start, but if you give it 2 to 3 years to establish it is a great plant. It does not flower every year but when it does it is different from any plant in my garden.
I have taken starts in early spring and had some success, you really have to patient.


On Mar 6, 2008, RedneckGrower wrote:

Invasive: YES. But, I love the large foliage, and it can be a great addition to a lush, tropical-esque or woodland garden. To avoid its invasive tendency, I plant it only in large pots/containers. I have one in a mixed border in a 15 gal nursery container which I have sunk into the soil. This has kept it in check very well.

As for potential invasives (many prime garden candidates CAN be), know your plants, know your climate and soil, and adjust accordingly. I even know of a modest stand of "Tree of Heaven" that is beautiful and very well contained. This stand is NOT aggressively managed, and containment is entirely the result of natural barriers to its spread; only the occassional seedling to pull up. I wish Bermuda Grass were this easy to control! And by the way, even runni... read more


On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

I don't know where the 'bear's breeches' name came from...but the plant is great to have in the garden! Every time you think you've seen everything, some variety of plant comes along and broadens your horizons...that's what this plant can do! Amazing toughness yet regal bearing (is that the bear part?). The architecture of this plant is inspiring and the plant is so tolerant and can be a splendid focal part of the garden.


On Jul 8, 2007, anne1 from Malvern, PA wrote:

I have three in my garden here in zone 6b. They came up late this year probably because spring was a long time coming. This is their third year and no flowers yet. They are planted in a partially shaded area but still tend to look wilty in hot weather. I just bought 3 more today ("horrors" you say) and will plant them where there is more shade. This is probably an ideal plant for an East Coast gardener who wants a tropical look. Certainly not invasive; at least, not yet. You may hear back from me in a couple years.


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

Seattle, WA
zone 8
Seattle, WA
zone 8
The acanthus mollis I have has 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.
For those who want to grow it but fear the ... read more


On Nov 1, 2006, AlexK from La Mirada, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is one of the nuisance plants (along with 'Tree of Heaven,' the most misnamed tree EVER) that came with the house. It's not as invasive as the Ailanthus (which is just slightly behind kudzu) but it's extremely difficult to get rid of. I may have to resort to the dirt-sifting tactic, which will be a pain with my clay soil. Still, needs must, and it will be well worth it to be rid of this pest.


On Aug 12, 2006, claypa from West Pottsgrove, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant's foliage is depicted on U.S. paper currency.


On Jan 28, 2006, Archerhope from Radford, VA wrote:

I have been lusting after Acanthus mollis in catalogs for years now and finally purchased some (from eBay no less). I am looking forward to trying them in my zone 6 garden even though everything I'm seeing says zone 7. I get the impression it's not as invasive in colder climates. I'll report back on my experience if it survives.
Does anyone happen to know if they can survive under the dreaded black walnut tree and the toxic juglone it produces? Thanks!


On Jul 20, 2005, jcangemi from Atascadero, CA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Extremely invasive unless you have lots of room to let it go. I was given one little piece w/root intact by a 'friend'?? We still laugh about it everytime I mention the 'plant from ???'. You get the picture. It took me 2 years to get rid of it, as the slightest sliver of a stalk re-rooted and it was near my pool and wanted to dive in. We couldn't walk around the pool deck in it's heyday. I keep forgetting to put this in the 'My Biggest Garden Mistakes' thread. It might be beautiful in some settings, but in my yard in full sun, 100+ summer temps, it was not welcome.


On Apr 22, 2005, careyjane from Rabat,
Morocco wrote:

I can't imagine ever wanting to get rid of this plant! It is just beautiful in shady corners of the garden, even when not in flower.

I was interested to hear that Imelling has had success under pine trees. I was just looking for something to plant on a bank under some pines at an orphanage in Ain Leuh (the Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco).


On Apr 21, 2005, lmelling from Ithaca, NY (Zone 5b) wrote:

I was given a couple of starts of Acanthus by a friend several years ago. I have them planted in light shade in my shade garden under a pine tree where they get mostly light morning sun. The plants continue to come up - so far even after the harshest winters here, probably because of the snow cover - but they grow very slowly for me. I can't wait until they get large enough to flower.

The flowers can be dried and make interesting focal or secondary flowers in dried arrangements. To dry, cut the flower at the height of bloom and hang upside down in a cool, dark place to dry. If dryed at a slight angle, you can get some interesting shapes. Make sure to be careful when working with the dried flowers as they do have thorns, but the flowers are wonderful and if dried correc... read more


On Apr 20, 2005, City_Sylvia from Dallas, TX wrote:

I had been eyeing this plant for years in the catalogs, finally order three 4" starter plants from Spring Hill about two or three years ago. I received them in the heat of this Texas summer and two didnt make it. I have been pampering this one ever since From what some of you are saying 'thank God' the other two didnt make it. Look at where I have it ... I dont have room for it!. I have a place I can move it to but the soil is not that good. I dont want to do anything until I see it flower first.


On Feb 9, 2005, Becky6317 from Odessa, TX (Zone 7b) wrote:

I was very surprised to find this plant does beautifully in west Texas. Our summers are hot (95 - 105 degrees), not much rainfall, and our humidity stays 35 - 40%. 60% on a great day. She gets quite a bit of total shade, about 4 hours of direct sunlight and 5 hours of dappled sunlight a day. The blooms were wonderful, adding some well needed architecture to my garden. And the bonus was 7 baby breeches to share.


On Sep 4, 2004, jorjie from Odessa, TX wrote:

I guess it is too dry in West Texas. I bought a packet of 5 seeds. Three of them germinated. Two of these died almost immediately. I planted the last one in part shade. It lived but looked awful. I finally dug it up and put it in a pot. It is doing pretty well.


On Sep 3, 2004, pokerboy from Canberra,
Australia (Zone 8b) wrote:

This plant can also be known as oyster plant. It may become very large and invasive once it grows old. They take about 1 or 2 years to establish. Their leaves provide interest in a sunny or shaded garden. This is one of my favorite plants. pokerboy.


On Aug 12, 2004, greenmansf from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This is an amazing plant that has survived since prehistoric times. This is the leaf that adorns columns in antiquity, and is the most common plant motif in decoritive arts. I have been painting this gorgeous plant for years and years. I do understand it is hard to eradicate, but the sheer longevity is something to marvel at. The lush green leaves, the strong flower, it is hard NOT to be impressed by this plant that has seen the entire history of our species!


On Aug 5, 2004, gvfontenay from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This a terribly invasive plant which I don't find particularly attractive. It's one of those plants I "love to hate" and all too common in the SF Bay Area. That is my prejudice, of course. I think it should be sold with sheet metal to slip down into the soil around the plant to prevent invasion. Atleast nurseries should sell it with a note warning how invasive and hard it is to get rid of. I have seen many neighbors try to get rid of it only to see it pop its shiny leaves back up a little while later.


On Jul 4, 2004, saya from Heerlen,
Netherlands (Zone 8b) wrote:

It's history fascinates me and it goes always with me when I see Acanthus growing.
Acanthus is lead from 'Akantha' the Greek word for thorn. It is also the name of a nimph, loved by Apollo, he transformed her later in a Acanthus flower. 'Mollis' means 'soft'.

It is used as a medicinal herb in earlier days. If you visit the medicinal herb gardens from old monasteries here in Europe you'll always find Acanthus still growing.
Very well known is the representation of the Acanthus leaves on the capitals of the Corinthian pillars. A beautifull example is still seen at the Monument of Lysicratis in Athens. Acanthus also became a symbol for immortality. For that reason it was often used in funereal art (gravestones etc.) During Middle Ages the Acanthus motive became a... read more


On Jan 11, 2004, bbettina wrote:

With several large Acanthus mollis plants in our garden in the San Francisco Bay Area I have to come to loath this plant. Its spreading uncontrolably leaving everything that tries to grow nearby weak and barely viable.
Hard to eradicate is rather an understatement. I have dig up one of the areas several times removing roots and tubers - this just seems to give the plant a growth boost. I am afraid I have to go with the method palmbob described and remove all the soil.


On Jul 26, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

To get rid of this plant, you have to dig up the entire area it's growing in, down about 1-1.5 feet, and either just toss out the soil, or carefully sift through it removing all the tubers and plant bits. Miss just one and it'll be back soon. Round up is a waste of time. I personally opt for tossing the soil, and starting anew.

Additionally flowers stalks are nasty once they are done blooming (lots of itty bitty spines and sharp things that get in one's skin). And seeds go everywhere. Still, it can be a nice looking plant if maintained well.


On Jul 26, 2003, SC from San Luis Obispo, CA wrote:

This plant is definitely hard to eradicate. While it is a hardy green plant with a nice flower stalk that some people like, my husband hates it.


On Jul 9, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

I have two plants in the ground in partial shade; the leaves look like the sun is burning them up, but it gets very little sun. I have a lot of lime in the soil so I do not know if that is hurting them. I live in zone 8 and our summers are killers. One plant hardly has any leaves at all, as soon as the leaves turn burnt brown they fall off. The other is faring a little bit better but it is doing the same only slower.


On Sep 20, 2002, welshherblady from Isle of Anglesey,North Wales,
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

An architectural beauty! If you have the space in your garden this is the one plant to choose. Takes about two years to establish itself but then goes from strength to strength. Grows to over six feet tall.

Prefers growing in part shade with some mulching. Propagation is easy by division of the plants in the winter time when it has died back.


On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Easily grown in average, medium wet, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except poorly-drained ones. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as St. Louis. Not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where a winter mulch is advisable. Easily grown from seed or may be propagated by root cuttings best taken in early spring. Can spread invasively by creeping rootstocks, particularly in loose soils. Can be slow to establish in the garden, but somewhat difficult to eradicate once established since small sections of root left behind can sprout new plants


On Jun 1, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

In some gardens this is a weed. Jody's comment about it being hard to eradicate is right on... not only is it nearly impossible to get rid of, but any cuttings that happen to hit the soil will root in that spot, doubling your weed problems.

In Southern California flower stalks commonly grow up to 6-8' tall. And they are very prickly (use gloves to prune off).


On May 24, 2001, jody from MD &, VA (Zone 7b) wrote:

It is not uncommon for the leaves to die back in summer and sprout again before winter. Once established it can be hard to eradicate.


On Mar 10, 2001, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bear's breech is a large, ornamental perennial with individual leaf blades almost 1 foot long and as wide. The glossy green leaves appear to come directly out of the ground. Flower stalks have purple and white flowers and stiff bracts along the top 3 ft or so. They can make dramatic and long-lasting cut or dried flowers.

Grow in average, well-drained soil.