Acanthus mollis 'Spattered' (Variegated Bear's Breeches) - A large coarse leafed rhizomatous semi-evergreen perennial to 3-4 feet tall and 3 feet wide, with large dark green deeply lobed leaves edged with a light yellow variegation. Vertical flower spikes, appearing in spring through early summer, are 4-6 feet tall, with flattened hooded white to light pink flowers subtended by spiny green and purple bracts.
Plant in full coastal sun to light shade (seems best with full morning sun) and water regularly to occasionally - will go summer dormant without irrigation and if treated this way can be considered "drought tolerant". Foliage is knocked back by a frost, but it is root hardy to about 5 degrees F. Trim off the spiny remains of the flower stalk after flowering. This plant expands its presence in the garden by rhizomes that can be dug up, but it is best contained by root barriers to lessen the spread it is considered invasive by some gardeners but doesn't seem to be out of control in our mediterranean climate. Control snails and slugs that disfigure the bold foliage.
Bear's Breeches is native to Portugal in southern Europe east around the Mediterranean Sea to Croatia and across to North Africa. The name for the genus is derived from the Greek word 'įkantha' which means "thorn" or "spike" and the specific epithet is Latin for "soft" or "smooth", in reference to the texture of the leaves. Other common names include Bearsfoot, Grecian Plant, Wild Rhubarb and in Australia it is called Oyster Plant, which likely refers to the white, flattened flowers. The striking leaves are considered to have been inspiration for decorations of Greco-Roman architecture.
This variegated plant was discovered in our seedling blocks of Acanthus mollis in 1999 by our outside salesman John Koegler.
Information about Acanthus mollis 'Spattered' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.