Forum home Plants

Bears Breeches - Acanthus Mollis

I planted a newly purchased B.B. early in the Spring - which has grown considerably but has not flowered this year.  It is positioned in a large flower bed next to a Michaelmas Daisy which as dwarfed everything around it now - with very tall flowering stems - so the B.B. is hidden below the flowering stems of the M.D. which I know will die down once the flowers are over.  The thing I want to know is - will the Bears Breeches eventually grow as tall as the M.D. is now i.e. 4 - 5 foot or will the leaves stay at the height that they are now which is about 18 inches and will the flowers shoot up next year?


  • LynLyn Posts: 21,996
    I sowed seeds, the plants grew nicely, that was about 3 years ago, still no flowers. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • RubytooRubytoo Posts: 1,323
    I had a clump in shady dry soil, quite poor so it did not reach its full potential, once they settle down they flower well. But be warned, once you have it if you decide to get rid it is a bit difficult. Not impossible, but every bit of root left will shoot.
    It is a nice plant, but I was worried it would get too big for our little back garden, out of proportion.  If you have plenty of space that is okay.
    I found our leaves were 40cm height (16 inches). The flower spikes about 90cm (36 inches=3 feet tall).

    Be aware that there are some other similar (leaf form) cultivars, Acanthus mollis latifolius which is similar but shorter that the original.  Though sorry I do not know anything about them. I only found out when looking up mine though I think mine was the normal one.
  • Mary370Mary370 Posts: 2,003
    My BB didn't flower for the first 2 years I had it.  It's leaves are approx. 18 - 24 inches high, they are quite large, spread is about 4 foot.  If it was me I would remove the MD from around it as I would consider it to be a specimen plant due it's spectacular shaped leaves, and it is a spectacular plant when in flower. The flowers last for months.  It has not caused any problem re spreading, in my garden.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,162
    If thye're grown in rich soil they won't flower but will just grow big fat healthy leaves forever more.   The best oens I've seen here and in Belgium produce flower spikes several feet high but are growing in the poorest of soils next to walls, gate posts and do on, not garden borders.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Thank you all for your helpful comments, experiences and tips - I am now giving the plant some more thought - it has certainly grown (bulked out) since planted in early Spring, and we do have it alongside a wall in rich heavy soil so as Obelixx mentioned it may just continue to grow fat 'n' healthy and not produce flowers at all.  However I live in hope.  In the meantime I may remove one clump of M.D. next to it - we do have two other huge M.D. displays along that border - I feel that 3 is too many although the bees do find them interesting and I am not sure what is attracted to Bears Breeches yet.
  • GrannybeeGrannybee Posts: 312
    Agree with Obelixx - ours was in the garden when we moved in 20 years ago. The flower spikes always reach about 2 metres +.It is in poor soil, squashed in between a hawthorn tree & a mahonia. It's never fed, the frost makes the leaves die down & I cut off the flower heads. My daughter sprayed them silver one Christmas!
  • It's on my "attention" list - for the coming week or so - the plant is less than a year old - I didn't expect it to flower this year - so we shall monitor it's progress next year once I have given it a bit more space to flourish. Thanks again.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,162
    Treat it mean.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 577
    FYI I have one, it flowered first year, but not this year. It's in full sun and looks very healthy
Sign In or Register to comment.