Acanthus mollis 'Rue Ledan'
Rue Ledan White-flowered Bear's Breech
Item #: 4732
Zones: 6a to 8a
Height: 20" tall
Origin: Northern Africa, Southwest Europe
Thanks to Herman van Beusekom of the Netherlands for sharing this great bear's breech which he named Acanthus 'Rue Ledan'. This is one of the few Acanthus mollis selections that has grown well in our hot, humid summers. The cutleaf, shiny, dark green foliage composes a large specimen clump to 3' in width. In June, the tropical-looking deer-resistant clump is topped with 3' tall spikes of pure white flowers (compared with the normal purple hood over each flower).
Acanthus require little in the way of maintenance. Remove spent flower stalks when they are no longer attractive, cutting them to the ground. Remove unattractive foliage as necessary. The foliage is attractive most of the year especially if there is adequate moisture in summer. It is very drought tolerant but will deal with drought in summer by going dormant, returning in fall as soil moisture increases. So, irrigation in summer time dry spells will keep it in growth. Some species will continue to grow into late fall or winter if the weather remains mild, eventually being cut back by cold. The plants are not harmed by this enforced rest. They will return in spring unfazed.
It is best to choose a permanent location when planting. They tolerate transplanting but every piece of root left behind will grow a new plant. Indeed root-cuttings are a standard means of propagating. Once planted, it can be left alone to get better with each passing year.
Part day sun to very bright shade is best for Acanthus 'Rue Ledan', Acanthus mollis, Acanthus spinossus, and similar species with lush soft leaves. Though drought tolerant, they will remain attractive all summer if not drought stressed, so avoid excessively dry sites, and irrigate if possible during dry spells. Remember that shade gardens are often dry due to the trees that provide the shade if the trees are ones that are very competitive in their water use.
The floral display of bear's breech is very dramatic. Flower spikes can be 5 to 6' tall depending on the particular variety and are strongly vertical and persist for a couple of months. The effect is much like strictly upright spikes of the common foxglove, Digitalis purpurea. Bear's breech would be worth growing even without its floral display because its handsome foliage is big, bold, and lush, and a glossy mid-green, and is an attractive addition to a garden.
Leaf Color: Green
Bloom Time: Spring
Container Role: Thrillers
Other: Cut Flower Plants , Deer Resistant Plants , Drought Tolerant Plants , Dry Shade Plants , Pollinator Plants , Plants Named After Animals , Rabbit Resistant Plants , RHS Award of Merit Winners , Tropical Looking Plants