Thursday, January 27, 2011

Acanthus - Bear's Breeches

Acanthus hungaricus in full bloom

Next in the Kate Greenway "Language of Flowers," listing is: Acanthus.  Ancanthus suggests "the fine arts. Artifice."

The common name for Acanthus is Bear's Breeches.  I use this plant quite often in perennial garden borders.  I love the connection to the fine arts too! Acanthus has beautiful color, erect, tall structure for back of the border composition and balance.

If you want to grow Acanthus, plant in the autumn or after the last frost of spring.  I know, I know, with all the snow here on the east coast, you think that will never come, but it will soon enough.
Bear's Breeches does best in full sunlight as well as part shade.
Don't plant Acanthus too deep. Crown is not to be below ground.
I love pairing Bear's Breeches with yellow plants including Lady's Mantle, another perennial, and marigolds, an annual for us in zone 7.

(Photo is from The Copper Leaf)

According to Garden Guides: Acanthus plants are striking in the garden with their tall stalks, dark green spiky leaves and beautiful purple and white flowers. They make a wonderful back border or walkway plant. You may know the Acanthus as Bear's breeches, which is their common name. They are easy to grow in gardening zones 6 to 10 and they will spread by themselves. These beautiful flowers will go dormant in the heat of the summer and come back in the fall, so you should plan for this and plant a summer flower to take it's place.

Read more: How to Grow Acanthus | Garden Guides

For more information on planting and tending a perennial garden, you must read and refer to Tracy DiSabato Aust: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden.  I have attended her garden lectures and often refer to her books. Tracy is a rock star of garden design. And the real deal.

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