Acanthus mollis

Departments - Green Guide

Large flower spikes coupled with sizeable foliage create a dramatic package for summer.

August 1, 2017

A. mollis (bear’s breeches) forms a 2-foot by 3-foot clump of deeply-cut leaves, with a 3- or 4-foot spike of hooded mauve-pink or white flowers rising above the glossy-green foliage. This perennial makes a statement with its size, form and colors.

Acanthus leaves were the source of the Corinthian leaf motif developed and used as a decoration in ancient Greek and Roman art and architecture. It is believed that the leaves of A. mollis or A. spinosis were the model for the sculptured leaves that adorn the capitals of the Corinthian columns that became popular in the 4th century B.C., according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Why grow Acanthus mollis?

  • Big, bold and beautiful
  • Opportunity to charge a premium price
  • Makes a beautiful cut flower
  • Deer and rabbits don’t typically bother it

Sources: Missouri Botanical Garden, Plants Delight Nursery, Heritage Perennials