DWARF BEAR’S BREECHES
If you have a tough place to fill in the garden, but always feared Acanthus as thugs. Then you’ll be pleased to discover this compact, pretty, polite and smaller statured Bear’s Breeches – Acanthus caroli-alexandri.
(Scroll down to “Growing” section for plant details, how / where to grow)
Polite, pretty but tough as nails
Acanthus caroli-alexandri has finely cut, black-green foliage, making a small neat rosette.
In late spring, the pagoda-style tower of white and purple hooded flowers make a stately spire from this textural, rosette.
But is not invasive and aggressive like it’s larger thuggish cousins, though it is just as tough and equally able to deal with the toughest garden conditions.
So find the garden’s worst spot and decorate with Acanthus caroli-alexandri
Dry shade, deep shade, windy sites, rocky, infertile or sandy soils, seaside, where the roots of trees are making life difficult – these are the places where Acanthus caroli-alexandri will give it a try. Give it some help to establish, and then it is a fierce survivor.
It makes a neat front edge, or can be multiple planted to form an evergreen groundcover in difficult places under trees and shrubs.
Growing: Acanthus caroli-alexandri
DWARF BEAR’S BREECHES
– Height with flowers: Spires of white and purple flowers stacked up 45cm approx. tall, straight, strong stems. Blooms in summer.
– Width: Forms a clump of decorative serrated, glossy dark green foliage to a diameter of 30-45cm approx.
– Position: Sun or Shade, but particularly good in dry shade or deep shade. Once established Acanthus caroli-alexandri is a tough survivor.
– Growth: Evergreen perennial clump, grown for decorative leaves and stately flowers spires..
Tough as nails
– Soil: Deals with a range of soil types from arid, sandy, rocky and gravel soils to garden loam. But the position should be well drained.
– Water-wise: Acanthus caroli-alexandri is an extremely water-wise plant once established. It can tolerate heat, dry, and withstand periods of drought well, especially in shaded positions. Noted as one of the toughest of dry shade tolerant plants.
– Frost: Very frost hardy, so able to cope with frosts down to approx -15C.
– Care: The ultimate low-maintenance plant. Cutting off the spent flower spires is the only possible exercise.
– Beneficial for wildlife: Bees, Butterflies, nectar seeking birds love dining from the spires of hooded flowers.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Both deer and rabbits prefer other plants, to the tough and slightly spiny foliage of Acanthus caroli-alexandri. Largely immune to any pests or diseases because of it’s glossy, hard foliage.
– Origin: Native to the Balkans in Southeast Europe, where the climate can be extreme, and conditions hot, dry, frosty and freezing over the seasons. So this accounts for the natural in built hardiness of Acanthus caroli-alexandri.
– Fragrant: None.