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Acanthus spinosus

(Bear's Breeches)

Rating: 🌻🌻🌻

Light: ☀️⛅

Deer resistant: yes 🦌

Moisture: well-drained soil

Size: 48” H x 36” W

Bloom: Hooded purple and white flower stalks in July

Hardiness zone: 5

Acanthus spinosus has mounding, deeply cut, glossy foliage with spiny leaves that deter browsing by pests. In July, tall spikes of very attractive purple and white hooded bicolor blossoms loom above the basal foliage. Plants may take a year or two to establish before producing blooms, especially if planted in part shade. Take care where you site this plant, as it sets down prodigious taproots that are difficult to completely remove. (New plantlets will continue to emerge for some time from any root remnants left behind.) The plant will also spread from creeping roots, although it has not proven terribly aggressive in our garden. In full sun, plants may open up in the middle late in the season if they get too dry. We have had no problem with winter survival of Acanthus in Central New York.