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Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches

Acanthus mollis 'Oak Leaf'

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Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches (Acanthus mollis 'Oak Leaf') at Flagg's Garden Center

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Plant Height:  3 feet

Flower Height:  5 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade 

Hardiness Zone:  6b

Description:

Towering spikes of whitish-lilac flowers, over large, lustrous, oak-leaf shaped foliage, that is deep green and shiny; a bold, dramatic accent plant for the garden or border; tolerates a wide range of soils, but must be well drained

Ornamental Features

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches features showy spikes of lilac purple hooded flowers with white overtones rising above the foliage from early to mid summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive large glossy lobed leaves remain dark green in color throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Landscape Attributes

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches is an open herbaceous evergreen perennial with a rigidly upright and towering form. Its wonderfully bold, coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced garden composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. Gardeners should be aware of the following characteristic(s) that may warrant special consideration;

  • Spiny

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • Mass Planting
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 5 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 5 feet. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Oak Leaf Bear's Breeches is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Accent  Massing  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Texture  Plant Form 
Ornamental Features