How To Grow Acanthus

On this page you will find everything that you need to know to grow Acanthus successfully, how they came to the United Kingdom and found their way into our gardens and  watch videos from other Acanthus growers. You also can share your pictures on our Pinterest Board that we exclusively set up for our gardening friends.

Acanthus mollis
Acanthus mollis
Acantus hungaricus
Acanthus hungaricus
Acanthus spinosus
Acanthus spinosus


Acanthaceae - also commonly known as Bear's breeches - are a genus of about 30 species of perennials from dry and rocky sites, mostly in the Mediterranean area.

They are vigorous architectural plants, with striking foliage and flowers. The dark green, oblong-lance-shaped to broadly ovate, usually basal leaves can grow up to 90cm long and are variously lobed and toothed, sometimes spiny.


The tubular, 2-lipped flowers are generally 3,5 - 5cm long. They usually have spiny bracts and sepals in combinations of white, green, yellow, pink or purple.


They are borne, sometimes in ranks of 4, in erect, terminal racemes and can become up to 1,2m tall.


Grow Acanthus in a spacious border. They are also good for cutting or drying. In frost-prone areas, grow Acanthus montanus in a cool or temperate greenhouse or conservatory.

Acanthus spinosus

Acanthus plants are fully hardy to frost tender. Acanthus montanus will withstand short periods at 0 degrees Celsius.


Acanthus Mollis and Acanthus spinosus were brought to the United Kingdom by the Romans, who cooked the roots in water to cure burns, sprains and baldness. They also used the plants ornamentally to line paths.


Acanthus were grown in monastery gardens and after the Roman retreat it was listed in De Naturis Rerum (anno 1190) by Alexander Neckham, who was Abbot of Cirencester and foster brother of Richard the Lionheart.



Later, Acanthus was lost to cultivation, but reintroduced in 1548 (Acanthus mollis) and 1629 (Acanthus spinosus). These two species have produced natural hybrids.

Corinthia Columns

The leaves of Acanthus mollis were used by the Greeks to garland the capitals of Corinthian columns and became a common decorative motif in furniture, jewellery and classical architecture.

Virgil described Helen of Troy as wearing a dress embroidered with Acanthus leaves.

Good Garden Companions for Acanthus

Try growing plants together that let Acanthus stay in the limelight as Companion Plants. We have selected 2 go-together-plants below

Crocosmia Mix
Crocosmia Mix
Phlomis russeliana
Phlmomis russeliana

Acanthus mollis Sarah Raven
Acanthus mollis Sarah Raven
Acanthus mollis Sarah Raven

All Details about Acanthus mollis 'Rue Ledan' you can find HERE

If you want to purchase this Acanthus have a look here

Other Acanthus Growers say this:

Show me your pictures and videos of Acanthus and pin with me on my Pinterest Board *** Flowers Group Board ***

Ready made Border Blending Purples

Bruіѕеd tones are реrfесt fоr сrеаtіng a brooding atmosphere. Here, architectural clumps оf rісh рurрlе and рurрlе-blоtсhеd green foliage аrе соntrаѕtеd bу dramatic ѕріrеѕ оf асаnthuѕ as well аѕ vіbrаnt ѕрrауѕ оf violet and рurрlе flоwеrѕ borne by lаvеndеr, geranium аnd aster in ѕuссеѕѕіоn from May untіl October. 

This dеѕіgn wіll fit іntо a border 5m lоng by 2m wіdе. 


Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an

more of these Bear's Breeches

Ein Beitrag geteilt von Miles Sprietsma (@milessprietsma) am



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