The Oak Leaf Acanthus, otherwise known as the Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ or Bear’s Breech ‘Morning’s Candle’, Bear’s Breeches ‘Morning’s Candle’, Brank Ursine ‘Morning’s Candle’, Common Bear’s Breech ‘Morning’s Candle’, Soft-Leaved Bear’s Breech ‘Morning’s Candle’, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.
Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.
Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Oak Leaf Acanthus Care Guide. So let’s dive in.
The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Oak Leaf Acanthus are the following:
- Water: The Oak Leaf Acanthus wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
- Light: Keep your Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ in an environment where it can receive partial shade to filtered sun on a daily basis.
- Soil: Make sure to keep the Oak Leaf Acanthus in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, chalk, and loam.
And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Oak Leaf Acanthus will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.
Scientific / Botanical Aspects
In botanical terms, the Oak Leaf Acanthus belongs to the Acanthaceae family, the genus Acanthus and the species Mollis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ (a-KANTH-us MAW-liss).
As with other Acanthus’s, the Oak Leaf Acanthus is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year.
The Oak Leaf Acanthus is a plant native to the Europe and Africa.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Oak Leaf Acanthus is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.
With this in mind, the Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 7 – 11 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a and the ideal climate zone is between 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.
Growth and Size
In terms of size and growth, the Oak Leaf Acanthus is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.
But what exactly does this mean for your Oak Leaf Acanthus? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…
The Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ can grow up to 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) and 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm) in 2′ – 3′ (60cm – 90cm).
These dimensions make the Oak Leaf Acanthus a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.
Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful spreading shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.
This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 30″ (75cm) free so the Oak Leaf Acanthus can spread to its best extent.
In terms of watering, the Oak Leaf Acanthus is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.
This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.
Specifically, most experts agree that the Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water.
As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Oak Leaf Acanthus in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive.
When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times.
However, in our experience, the best solution to knowing the right amount of water for your Oak Leaf Acanthus is with the ‘thumb’ technique. Basically, you insert your finger into the soil, and based if you feel the soil moist or dry, you determine if it needs any water, which is the most appropriate way to go about watering your leafy friend.
As mentioned earlier, the Oak Leaf Acanthus prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, chalk, and loam.
This is why most experts agree that the Oak Leaf Acanthus requires soil with clay, loam (silt), sand, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.
In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.
Light and Exposure
In terms of light & exposure, the Oak Leaf Acanthus requires partial shade to filtered sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions.
Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.
Specifically, we recommend that you place your Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).
Being a herbaceous plant, the Oak Leaf Acanthus will die back to the ground every year.
But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the summer (mid, late).
You can expect your Oak Leaf Acanthus to flower around the summer months from July to September (summer).
In particular, this perennial is well known for its flowers for cutting and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.
The Oak Leaf Acanthus produces some beautiful white, or purple/lavender, pink and white flowers around this time of year.
The leaves from the Oak Leaf Acanthus have a beautiful green color during most of the year.
In particular, they have a simple arrangement in its leaves.
You can expect the leaves from your Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ to be around (> 6 inches) in size.
Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance
The Oak Leaf Acanthus is well known for being able to attract butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.
Additionally, it has a special tolerance for drought conditions, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ will be fine.
Now, let’s talk garden and how your Oak Leaf Acanthus will look best in it.
Most Acanthus Mollis ‘Oak Leaf’ owners agree that this perennial will look great in most cottage and tropical gardens of all types.
Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in mediterranean garden styles.
In particular, the Oak Leaf Acanthus’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, others use it for landscaping in a specimen, mass planting, cutting garden, border, dry shade, firescaping/fire wise, or a woodland garden.
Oak Leaf Acanthus’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Heuchera, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.
Others consider that a nice Polemonium will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!
Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Oak Leaf Acanthus, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.