Bears Breech

Acanthus mollis by Ron KindigAcanthus mollis by Ron KindigAcanthus mollisCommonly known as bear’s breech, this is in the acanthus family (Acanthaceae). It is native to the Mediterranean region and can be seen in bed ‘A’ in the Preview Garden. This perennial grows to 4 – 5 feet tall with blooms. It has white to purple flowers on long spikes from late spring or summer and large leaves to 2 feet long. which are dark green, shiny and deeply lobed. It is used as a shade plant or in a dry summer spot, for a border, accent, formal garden and cut flowers. It needs well drained soil and moderate periodic water during the heat will keep the leaves green. Otherwise the plant will lose its leaves. It can be planted in full sun or shade. Prune off the spent flower spikes. It is susceptible to snails and slugs. Bears’ breech should be divided in the winter. Its roots can become invasive but can be controlled with a border. It seeds profusely and the leaves have inspired the decorations from Greek Corinthian columns from 500 B.C. through modern architecture.

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