Acanthus syriacus (syn. dioscoridis var. perringii)

Bear's breeches


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An intricate departure from the coarser Acanthus commonly found in gardens, this far more diminutive with low, finely cut, thistle-like foliage less than a foot tall and short 16" flower spikes with pink flowers backed by gray-green calyces. Like all Acanthus, this will spread by suckering rhizomes. Unlike all Acanthus, this is frustratingly slow (from a nurseryman's standpoint) and very easily managed if indeed you feel compelled to manage this slow and desirable expansion.

Ours has been in the ground for several years and last year we finally were able to divide off a few pieces to pot up. Full sun and good drainage. Hardy here but perhaps mulch in cold zone 7. Might be ok with the same in zone 6 but we have no experience. Thanks to Panayoti Kelaidis for correctly identifying the species.


Plant Type

  • Perennial / Bulb

Mature Size


Hardiness Zones

  • Zone 7a (0 °F)
  • Zone 7b (5 °F)
  • Zone 8a (10 °F)
  • Zone 8b (15 °F)
  • Zone 9a (20 °F)
  • Zone 9b (25 °F)

Sun Exposure

  • Full Sun

Water Needs

  • Moderate

Bloom Time