Acanthus 'Summer Beauty'
Sunset zones 4-24.
USDA zones: 5-9.
Heat zones: 9-5.
Height: 30 inches (75 cm).
Width: 4 — 6 feet (1.2 — 2 m).
Midsummer to late summer.
Purple calyces on six-foot tall spikes surround white flowers.
Deep green, shiny foliage with deeper lobes than the species, A. mollis.
Full sun or partial shade.
Humus rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Side dress with compost or manure. Fertilize monthly spring through early summer with a complete organic fertilizer.
Divide in spring or fall.
Root cuttings late fall or early winter.
Rainy Side Notes
Chet Tompkins, from Oregon, imported Acanthus 'Summer Beauty' from a garden in China; this hybrid is most likely a cross between A. mollis and A. spinosus. Although we don't have to worry about it here in our PNW climate, this hybrid holds up well in hot summer climates.
When I peer into the individual flowers, it appears as if a little frog-like creature is hiding under a hood (calyx) and holding up a white hanky. The purple calyx really sets off the white flowers and the 6 feet tall flower spike makes quite a statement in the garden. This is a big and bold plant. If you have a dainty little garden full of petunias and baby's breath, this plant may not be for you! In my garden, it is planted next to a very large gunnera, and this summer beauty holds its own against the large coarse leaves of the gunnera.
Does anyone grow a garden of just petunias and baby's breath?
Photographed in author's garden.