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acanthus advice needed

(9 Posts)
VermicularCanister Sun 02-Apr-17 10:21:27

Can anyone advise on acanthus? I have a spot to fill in front of a south-facing house wall, sheltered by the eaves so quite dry and hot, with chalky and stony soil.

I have read that acanthus can cope with dry conditions, but I am not so clear about its liking for heat and sun. Seemingly it will flower better in the sun, but possibly the leaves will scorch. It often seems to be recommended for planting in shade too. Would this spot in front of a sun-baked wall be too much for it?

If it is possible, then would acanthus spinosus fare better than mollis?

If acanthus is a non-starter, then alternative recommendations would also be welcome.

shovetheholly Sun 02-Apr-17 17:33:09

I have seen this growing in Crete! I think it will be fine in UK sun grin. They have adaptations to drag water out of very dry environments including a tap root that is positively ginormous once established, which can be hard to remove (so make sure you are certain about having it!).

However I think Spinosa is a bit more spectacular than mollis when it flowers??

sunnyhills Sun 02-Apr-17 18:23:14

I'm also sure that it will cope .I have an acathus mollis at the edge of a sunny bed ( heavy clay ) where I've not yet added much to improve the soil .It has an apple tree on one side and a privet hedge behind .

The biggest problem I have is that leaves are obviously very tasty to someone and are very holey .But it grows fine .

Liara Sun 02-Apr-17 20:36:38

I'm in the med region, and acanthus grows like a weed here, but does go dormant in the summer (completely disappears).

VermicularCanister Sun 02-Apr-17 20:58:36

Thank you all! It makes sense that it should be fine in full sun, as it was brought from the Mediterranean by the Romans. It was the Crocus website that made me doubt this as it says it's best in dappled shade, and I think I also read that powdery mildew could be a problem if it was too hot.

I think I will give it a go with A. spinosus, as it seems to flower more freely than A. mollis and I think I also read somewhere that it's less persistent if I should change my mind later.

Enb76 Mon 03-Apr-17 11:52:23

Acanthus is an evil plant. If it likes you, you will never, never get rid of it regardless of it being Spinosa or Mollis. I've been digging Spinosa out for the past 3 years and I'm still not on top of it. It shrugs off weedkiller with an insouciant grin and if you leave even a teensy bit in the ground it will pop up quite happily as a mahoosive plant as soon as your back is turned and will have crept into next-doors garden for good measure. I would never recommend it.

P1nkP0ppy Mon 03-Apr-17 11:58:57

It's a flipping thug of a plant, it'll grow just about anywhere including full shade.
I too have been trying to get rid of it for several years without success hmm, I even crushed the leaves and sprayed it with Roundup to no avail 😡😳
I would consider silver-leaved plants, Cistus, bulbs like nerines etc before resorting to Acanthus!

sunnyhills Mon 03-Apr-17 14:33:52

I have to say pinkpoppy and enb speak the truth .

VermicularCanister Mon 03-Apr-17 22:57:25

Lawks. Evil, you say? Three years of digging? I have been dithering over it for a few days, but I think you have persuaded me not to plant one this year. I have only just cleared and enlarged some borders and am starting with some new planting, so I don't want to make a long-lasting mistake. There's always next year, if it still seems like a good plan once the garden has taken shape a bit more.

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