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Acanthus mollis (bears Breeches)

daveshockleydaveshockley Waynesboro, Virginia USAPosts: 30
My wife purchased one of these today at the nursery, and was told it was the last one they had as they were scarce this year.  Has anyone had any experience with this plant?  I am just starting to research them.  Thanks
Dave Shockley
Waynesboro, Virginia USA
[email protected]

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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Hi Dave - lots of people here grow them, although I haven't had them for many years.
    Great plants to have in the garden as they tolerate most conditions. Good for insects too. Do you get quite a wide range of temps and weather conditions where you are?
    They should be very useful - really hardy and will grow in sun or a bit of shade.

    What is the little bird in your avatar if you don't mind me asking? Many of here are very keen on bird life too  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • daveshockleydaveshockley Waynesboro, Virginia USAPosts: 30
    Fairfield the temperatures have a wide range.  This summer the temp can reach into the mid 90's and down to -10 in the winter.  Do you have any idea of The type of soil they like?

    The bird on my finger in the avatar is a Pine Warbler.

    This one is a Blue Warbler I think.


    I love birds also.

    Thanks
    Dave Shockley
    Waynesboro, Virginia USA
    [email protected]

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 35,520
    Moist and free draining suits them well, but I think they can cope with drier condtions once established.
    Beautiful little birds Dave  :)
    We have a lot of different warblers here in the UK too, but not quite so colourful I think - most of ours are grey and green shades. I hillwalk regularly and I'm lucky to see lots of wildlife when I'm out, from buzzards and meadow pipits to ptarmigan, grouse and snow buntings. Great when you get a good pic  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Mary370Mary370 Limerick, Ireland Posts: 1,948
    I have one for the last 4/5 years, I love it.  It didn't flower the first 2 years but last year it had multiple tall white flower stalks, lots showing this year too.  I've read that it can be invasive, but I have not found it to be.....I never feed it or water it, I have stripped all but 2 or 3 leaves after it was eaten by something and it regrew, it survived the beast from the east and is practically evergreen.  All in all a great trouble-free plant.
    Pic from last year................



  • daveshockleydaveshockley Waynesboro, Virginia USAPosts: 30
    Thank you Mary.  Now we are rethinking where we are going to put it.
    Dave Shockley
    Waynesboro, Virginia USA
    [email protected]

  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 27,272
    I've given up growing them. I did find them invasive, especially if you moved them. Every single bit of root left behind made a new plant. The birds were very keen on the ripening seed pods and they appeared everywhere.
    Devon.
  • Be afraid, very afraid, of planting this thug in your garden. I love them in flower, they are spectacular but as above, every little piece will produce a new plant and the roots go down to Australia, it will also seed itself all over the garden and it is impossible to get rid of. I grew one in a pot for a few years but it never flowered and eventually died.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 27,272
    I dug one up from a client's garden meaning to dump it. I lay , upside down, with virtually no soil on it ,all winter by "the dump" and in spring it threw up shoots from the underneath and the roots started at the top and worked their way back down into the ground.
    Impressive in a way, but no thanks.
    Devon.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 17,044
    I’ve grown them from seed,  this is their third year, which I was expecting them to flower, but they haven’t yet.  Plenty of green, maybe the ground is too rich.  We had them at a previous house and the took over the bed,  you need to catch the seeds before they fall. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • HortusHortus Posts: 36

    I have 2 of these in my garden and yes they can grow quite large but the are dramatic and centre stage.

    They both lasted the very cold winter we had as well as this very hot summer. I have had them in the ground for a few years now and each year they get better and better.

    I do not cut the stems down until spring as the insects over winter in them but during the summer the bees love it. I have never fed them just watered and I have poor sandy soil so if they can cope with that....

    All winter the garden was bare but the spikes stood proud on their own when everything else had died back 

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