Acanthus – Bears Breech Spinosa

Scientific name: Acanthus Spinosus

Height: 1-4′

Width: 2-3′

Spacing: 24-36″

Hardiness: zone 5 to 9

Water: Average (drought tolerant)

Soil: Loamy, chalky, sandy – well draining

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Exposure: Full to part sun, best in part sun to hide away from the hot summer heat

Bloom Time: Summer (Early, Mid, and Late)

Attracts: Butterflies

Uses: Beds or borders

Styles: Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Gard

Acanthus is a deer resistant, butterfly attracting summer long bloomer that produces an array of whites, pinks, burgundy’s, and purples. It is best in part sun and more successful when it is shielded from the harsh summer heat. They are known for their pokey leaves, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it is a weed. Once summer arrives, the stunning snapdragon-shaped flowers will surprise you.

Having a strong root system, make sure you choose its spot wisely or else it may be difficult to remove, which may cause damage to the roots and stunting or killing the plant. Think of an area where you would like to deter deers as the plant is also an evergreen (depending on your area), which means it will keep its leaves during the cold weather. If you MUST remove the plant, make sure to completely remove ALL roots or else those roots will create new plants and spread.

A downside to Acanthus is that they can be aggressive when it comes to spreading. They create underground runners that will produce new plants, so keep this in mind when you are planting near other plants.

They are fairly drought tolerant (after they have been established and survive at least one winter) so they are a plus for another looking for a low maintenance plant, and can be spared with other part to full sun plants that too requires low water and can handle days of being forgotten (but not completely neglected). A few flowering species you can pair it with are:

  • Balloon Flower
  • Spurge (or Euphorbia
  • Coral Bells
  • Lady’s Mantle
  • and more….

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