Variegated Bear’s Breeches or just plain old Acanthus with dramatically white-splashed leaves. There is great contrast between the white and the dark green sections of the leaves/stems. In summer this spreading perennial produces a 3′ spike with pure white flower bracts enclosing the pink flowers. Its a big ol party chalice of goodness. Not the hardiest Acanthus (yeah- that might be good). Plant in a protected location with RICH, well drained soil- add compost and all organic fertilizer. Completely deciduous in winter here. Each leaf extends to 2′ long with intricate indentation- aside from the variegation. To 3′ across eventually. Excellent plant for containers. Protect containers from temps below 15ºF (move to an unheated garage, porch). Emerges in mid-spring. Mulch the crown in autumn for the first few seasons.
Outrageous Bear’s Breeches for hot and sunny aspects. Forms large rosettes of spiked intricate leaves that almost lay flat on the ground. In summer, enormous chalice-like soft purple blooms rise to 2′ tall. Each flower opens to reveal yellow petals. A beautiful combination. Full sun and rich, well drained soil with light summer water. Give this plant room and air circulation. It does not like to be crowded. Fully cold hardy and completely winter deciduous. Established plants can get by on less water. Moderate deer resistance. To 2′ wide in several seasons. Spectacular cut flower.
Bear’s Breeches is a standard perennial in our region for dry shady environs. And though the bold foliage is amazing we’ve been drawn to this form which turns it up a notch. Nearly 3′ long bold leaves are imbued with gold changing to acid green as the season continues. In early summer the fantastic white/mauve/grey chalice-like flower spikes rise to 4′ tall. Forms imposing clumps quickly in rich to average, well drained soil with light, consistent summer water. Takes dry conditions well and will actually resort to summer dormancy in extreme conditions. Evergreen to about 20ºF. Low deer resistance. Shines in the deepest shade. A very permanent plant that will live for decades.