Also known as
Brank Ursine, Common Bear's Breech, Soft-Leaved Bear's Breech, Wilde Rabarber (Afr.), Artist's Acanthus, Oak-Leaf Bear's-Breeches, Sea-Dock
Acanthaceae - Acanthus mollis (2) by Hectonichus (CC BY-SA 3.0)
2 years to reach maturity
This plant has a mild fragrance
More images of Bear's Breeches
Bear's Breeches Overview
Acanthus mollis is known for its bold clumps of shiny green leaves, topped with striking spires of elegant flowers which are clasped by showy purple bracts. Also known as bear's breeches, this plant is a great addition to any temperate garden. Great for adding an eye-catching structural element to a partially shaded border, it also makes a good ground cover species in a Mediterranean or cottage garden setting. This striking ornamental plant has traditional medicinal applications, historically it was used for burns and dislocated joints. This plant is great for bringing flair, grace and bees into your garden!
Common problems with Bear's Breeches
Pests include snails. Diseases include powdery mildew, fungal and bacterial leaf spot.
How to harvest Bear's Breeches
To harvest flowers, cut the flower at the height of bloom and hang upside down in a cool, dark place to dry. If dried correctly they will hold their colour well and will last about a year before browning. Harvest seeds in late winter.
How to propagate Bear's Breeches
Sow seeds in spring. Germinates in 3 - 4 weeks.
Take root cuttings in late autumn or early winter and keep moist.
Usually propagated from tubers and tends to form large, localized clumps which can survive for several decades. Divide clumps in autumn or spring.
Special features of Bear's Breeches
Attractive showy purple and white blooms.
Popular with pollinating insects such as bees, these are large enough to push into the structural flowers.
Attracts useful insects
Attracts useful pollinating insects such as bees and bumble bees.
It is tolerant of drought once established.
Other uses of Bear's Breeches
This low maintenance flower is often grown for cut flowers and for providing structure to beds and borders. Once established it is drought resistant and suits Mediterranean and gravel gardens
Traditionally used in medicinal applications; historically it was used for burns and dislocated joints.