Acanthus mollis
Free Gift

"Soft-leaved Bear's Breech"


Good for cutting

Packed in peat-free compost

Hardy throughout the UK

Product video available


Fancy a glossy, exotic-looking perennial—but which is actually extremely hardy? Then look no further than Acanthus mollis, popularly known as the soft-leaved Bear's Breech. Enormous, deeply lobed leaves that can grow up to 100cm long, form impressive clumps. From these emerge tall flower spikes in late summer. These spikes are covered in white flowers, each with a hood-like purple bract, which creates a stunning two-tone effect. Acanthus mollis is a vigorous perennial with a striking architectural presence. And if this isn’t enough, the flower spikes can be cut for use in fresh indoor arrangements, or dried for an even longer vase display.

Although it will tolerate full sun, Acanthus mollis prefers dappled shade. Ideally, grow it in large groups under trees, but make sure it has plenty of room to spread. It can only be pollinated by bees, so is makes an excellent addition to a wildlife garden.

Acanthus mollis is deciduous, so simply remove the faded leaves (and flower spikes if not already deadheaded) at the end of the year. Wait just a few months before the plant re-emerges in the spring to give another annual display.

It has various common names, ranging from (soft-leaved) Bear's Breech to brank ursine. Synonyms for Acanthus mollis are Acanthus spinosisimus and Acanthus lusitanicus.


White, purple + green


100-150 cm / 40-60"

Planting season:


Flowering time:


Botanical name:

Acanthus mollis
syn. Acanthus spinosisimus
syn. Acanthus lusitanicus

Light requirements:

Partial shade / full sun

Soil moisture:






  • Plant out your Acanthus plants in spring or autumn, in full sun or part shade
  • Grow in borders, or containers, in partial shade
  • Space the plants about 60cm apart
  • Water-in after planting and keep hydrated while in growth; watering well during hot spells will help plant resist diseases such as powdery mildew
  • Feed plants with a general fertiliser in early spring
  • Remove the flowerheads as soon as they have faded, if you do not want seedlings growing in the vicinity
  • To rejuvenate and minimise congestion, lift and divide large Acanthus clumps in autumn or spring
  • Read more in our planting guide
  • Orders placed before 1 March 2023
    You can expect your order in March 2023
  • Orders placed 1 March - 15 April 2023
    You can expect your order in April 2023
  • Orders placed 16 April - 15 May 2023
    You can expect your order within 10 business days

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