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A picture of a Bears Breeches

Bears Breeches

Acanthus syriacus

Also known as

Syrian Acanthus

KotzitzSoori001 by Zachi Evenor (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Frost Hardy


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size








2 years to reach maturity


  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Bears Breeches Overview

Acanthus syriacus resides in the Acanthaceae family. It's a perennial species with a prolific growth habit. Foliage is green and divided into lobed and pointed leaves, topped with striking spires of elegant cream-yellow flowers with purple-red modified leaves known as bract surrounding them. Also known as bear's breeches, this plant is a great addition to any temperate garden. Great for adding an eye-catching structural element to a partially shaded border, it also makes a good ground cover species in a Mediterranean or cottage garden setting. This striking ornamental plant has traditional medicinal applications, historically it was used for burns and dislocated joints. This plant is great for bringing flair, grace and bees into your garden!

Common problems with Bears Breeches

Pests include snails. Diseases include powdery mildew, fungal and bacterial leaf spot.

How to harvest Bears Breeches

To harvest flowers, cut the flower at the height of bloom and hang upside down in a cool, dark place to dry. If dried correctly they will hold their colour well and will last about a year before browning. Harvest seeds in late winter.

How to propagate Bears Breeches


Take root cuttings in late autumn or early winter and keep moist.


Sow seeds in spring. Germinates in 3 - 4 weeks.


Usually propagated from tubers and tends to form large, localized clumps which can survive for several decades. Divide clumps in autumn or spring.

Special features of Bears Breeches

Drought resistant

It is tolerant of drought once established.

Attracts useful insects

Attracts useful pollinating insects such as bees and bumble bees.

Attracts bees

Popular with pollinating insects such as bees, these are large enough to push into the structural flowers.

Attractive flowers

Attractive showy blooms.

Other uses of Bears Breeches

This low maintenance flower is often grown for cut flowers and for providing structure to beds and borders. Once established it is drought resistant and suits Mediterranean and gravel gardens


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