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Acanthus hungaricus

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Kemper Code:  A960

Common Name: bear's breeches
Zone: 5 to 10
Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Acanthaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Balkans, Romania, Greece
Height: 3 to 4 feet
Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Bloom Time: June - July   Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Rose-purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low

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Plant Culture and Characteristics

Sources for this plant

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  Uses:       Wildlife:   Flowers:   Leaves:   Fruit:
Hedge Suitable as annual Attracts birds Has showy flowers Leaves colorful Has showy fruit
Shade tree Culinary herb Attracts Has fragrant flowers Leaves fragrant Fruit edible
Street tree Vegetable   hummingbirds Flowers not showy Good fall color   Other:
Flowering tree Water garden plant Attracts Good cut flower Evergreen Winter interest
Gr. cover (<1') Will naturalize   butterflies Good dried flower     Thorns or spines

General Culture:

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Tolerates wide range of soils except poorly-drained ones. Appreciates some afternoon shade in hot summer climates such as St. Louis. Not reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where a winter mulch is advisable. Easily grown from seed or may be propagated by root cuttings best taken in early spring. Can spread aggressively by creeping rootstocks, particularly in loose soils. Can be slow to establish in the garden, but somewhat difficult to eradicate once established since small sections of root left behind can sprout new plants.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

An erect, clump-forming perennial which features pale pink to white flowers enclosed in spiny, reddish-purple bracts and arranged in vertical rows on substantial flower spikes rising well above the foliage to 3-4' tall. Blooms in late spring to early summer. Deeply lobed glossy green leaves (2-3' long) form an ornamental mound which usually remains attractive throughout the growing season. As the species name suggests, this plant is native to the Balkans. Synonymous with and sometime sold as Acanthus balcanicus.

Problems: Click for detailed list of pests and problems.

No serious insect or disease problems. Snails and slugs are occasional visitors that can do substantial damage if left unchecked.



Missouri Botanical Garden, 2001-2011

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