Bear's breeches Acanthus 'Summer Beauty'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
bear's breech 'Summer Beauty'


Acanthus 'Summer Beauty' is characterized by its lush, dark green leaves that are deeply lobed, creating a bold textural statement with a slightly glossy appearance. The foliage forms an attractive mound, which serves as a backdrop for the plant's striking flower spikes. These spikes display an eye-catching array of hooded, white flowers that are elegantly arranged in rows and accented with a hint of purple at the bracts, giving the blooms a distinctive two-tone effect. The flowers rise above the foliage on stiff, upright stems, adding vertical interest to the garden. Overall, the 'Summer Beauty' exudes a tropical look, though it is quite hardy, and brings an architectural quality to the landscape with its robust foliage and striking floral display.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      Bear's Breeches, Grecian Pattern Plant, Oyster Plant

    • Common names

      Acanthus 'Summer Beauty'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      Acanthus 'Summer Beauty', commonly known as Bear's Breeches, is not widely known to be toxic to humans. However, handling the plant can sometimes cause skin irritation due to its spiny leaves. Ingestion is not typically associated with serious poisoning, yet consuming parts of the plant could potentially cause mild stomach upset. As with any non-food plant, it is advisable to avoid ingesting parts of it.

    • To pets

      Bear's Breeches is not regarded as highly toxic to pets, but its spiny foliage can cause physical irritation if chewed or swallowed. Ingesting parts of the plant might lead to gastrointestinal discomfort such as vomiting or diarrhea in pets. While it does not contain highly toxic compounds, it is still best to prevent pets from ingesting this plant.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      4 feet (1.2 meters)

    • Spread

      3 feet (0.9 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Drought Tolerance: Once established, it can survive periods of limited water availability.
    • Attracts Wildlife: Provides nectar for bees and other pollinators.
    • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal care once established, making it suitable for gardeners of all skill levels.
    • Architectural Foliage: Offers bold and dramatic foliage that adds texture and visual interest to the garden.
    • Long Blooming Period: Produces flowers from early to midsummer, providing a long season of visual appeal.
    • Heat Resistance: Well-suited for hot climates and retains its beauty even in high temperatures.
    • Soil Adaptability: Able to grow in a wide range of soil types, though it prefers well-drained soil.
    • Pest Resistance: Generally resistant to pests, reducing the need for chemical treatments.
    • Erosion Control: Its root system can help stabilize soil and prevent erosion.
    • Large Size: Capable of making a statement in the garden due to its large size and robust presence.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    This plant is not used for medical purposes.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Acanthus 'Summer Beauty' can be used as a natural dye, providing a range of colors depending on the mordant used in the dyeing process.
    • The large leaves of the Acanthus plant can be used in artistic compositions and natural crafts, such as printing patterns on fabrics or paper.
    • This plant's spiky flower bracts are sometimes used to add an exotic look to floral arrangements and dry bouquets.
    • Acanthus leaves have historically been used as architectural motifs, and can inspire designs in modern home decor or furniture.
    • As a motif in art, the leaf pattern of the Acanthus is useful in creating reliefs, carvings, and sculptures.
    • In garden design, Acanthus 'Summer Beauty' is used to create a background for smaller plants or as part of a 'living wall' to provide privacy.
    • Its tall and imposing structure can be utilized in theatre and film sets as a prop to mimic Mediterranean flora or to add depth to a scene.
    • The foliage of Acanthus can be replicated in metal or woodwork, serving as a decorative element in gates, fences, and other landscape features.
    • During educational nature activities, the plant's distinct leaf shape makes it an excellent example for botanical studies and drawing lessons.
    • Hobbyists may use the dried seeds of Acanthus to create unique jewelry pieces or as part of a mosaic artwork.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The Bear's Breeches is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The Bear's Breeches is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Artistry and Creativity: Acanthus plants are frequently found in classical architecture and artwork, symbolizing an appreciation for beauty and creative design.
    • Endurance and Longevity: The Acanthus plant is known to be resilient and can live through harsh conditions, reflecting the qualities of durability and the ability to endure life's challenges.
    • Healing: Historically, Acanthus leaves were used for their medicinal properties, representing healing and restoration.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every 2-3 years
Spring to Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    Bear's Breeches, commonly known as Acanthus 'Summer Beauty', should be watered deeply once a week during the active growing season, ensuring that the water penetrates the soil to reach the root zone. During periods of high heat and dryness, increase watering to twice per week. Each watering session should provide the plant with about 1 to 1.5 gallons of water, depending on the size of the plant and the moisture level of the soil. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. In winter, reduce watering to every few weeks since the plant requires less moisture during dormancy.

  • sunLight

    Bear's Breeches prefers a location with full sun to partial shade. The ideal spot for the plant is where it receives morning sunlight and some afternoon shade, especially in hotter climates. Ensure that the plant gets at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for optimal growth. In regions with intense sun, dappled shade during the peak afternoon hours helps prevent leaf scorch.

  • thermometerTemperature

    Bear's Breeches thrives in temperatures ranging from about 50 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This plant can withstand brief periods as low as 10 degrees Fahrenheit but it's best to avoid prolonged exposure to temperatures below freezing. The ideal growing conditions for Acanthus 'Summer Beauty' are within the temperature range of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, where the plant can grow robustly.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning Bear's Breeches involves removing spent flower stalks after blooming to maintain a tidy appearance and promote plant health. Cut back the foliage to the ground in late fall or early winter after the leaves have died back. Pruning may also be necessary during the growing season to remove any damaged or diseased leaves. The best time for major pruning is late winter before new growth begins.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    Bear's Breeches prefers well-draining soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. A good mix would be equal parts of garden soil, peat moss, and perlite to ensure proper drainage and aeration.

  • plantRepotting

    Bear's Breeches does not need frequent repotting and can be done every 2-3 years or when it outgrows its current pot.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    Bear's Breeches tolerates a wide range of humidity levels but prefers moderate humidity, without the need for any special humidity adjustments.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright indirect light, well-draining soil, and adequate pot size.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in partial shade, enrich soil with compost, water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Acanthus 'Summer Beauty', commonly known as the Bear's Breeches, starts its life cycle as a seed, germinating in warm, moist soil in spring. Upon sprouting, the seedling grows into a rosette of deep green, glossy leaves, which are large and deeply lobed. As the plant matures, it develops a robust root system including a thick taproot, which allows it to survive periods of drought. By summer, tall flower spikes shoot up, displaying white and purple hooded flowers, which are attractive to bees and other pollinators. After pollination, the flowers produce small, brown seeds, which are dispersed by wind or gravity. In autumn, the plant's foliage often dies back, but the roots remain alive through winter, enabling the plant to regrow in the following spring, continuing its perennial lifecycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating Acanthus 'Summer Beauty', also known as the Bear's Breeches, is by division of its rhizomes. This is best done in the early spring before new growth starts or in the fall after the plant has flowered and is going dormant. To divide, carefully dig up the plant and use a sharp knife or spade to cut through the rhizomes, ensuring each section has at least one bud or eye. Replant the divisions immediately, maintaining the same soil level as before, and water thoroughly. The transplanted divisions should be spaced about 18 to 24 inches (approximately 45 to 60 centimeters) apart to allow for ample growth. This method of propagation allows the plant to establish quickly and continue thriving with minimal disruption.