Acanthus senni, et al: this week’s fave

Acanthus sennii

Here’s the Acanthus sennii that Loree picked up for me at the HPSO spring sale. She could not resist getting one for herself too, and writes about it here. I was amazed by how carefully she studied her plant to observe its behavior throughout the day.

blooming Acanthus sennii

I have very little to add, except that mine did bloom. The bright orangey-red of the petals came as a surprise, and the flower form is different from other Acanthus.

Acanthus spinosa

The tall spires of Acanthus spinosa are more representative. They are also longer lasting, drying in place as a dramatic focal point with the large spiky leaves turning autumnal colors by early September.

Acanthus mollis leaves

The smoother leaves of Acanthus mollis are huge. Here in the woodland it is too shaded for them to produce flowers.

Acanthus mollis flower

But where there is more sun, they produce flower spikes that are more subdued than those of spinosa, whose leaves in the foreground are hiding the smooth mollis foliage.

Acanthus syriacus

Planted in mid-March, Acanthus syriacus has yet to reveal its true nature, but the leaves are spiny and the flowering stalk reaches only about a foot. It was not very attractive, so I cut it off as soon as it was finished blooming. So I have several, but with 30 species in the family I have a long ways to go before I could claim to have a “collection” of Acanthus.

Acanthus sennii

Which brings us back to Acanthus sennii, which has put on quite a bit of new growth since it finished blooming. I had tried this once before without success. Moral of story: buy from a good grower…or maybe, just keep trying until you luck out matching plant to place. Here’s a link to Loree’s most recent favorite.

6 thoughts on “Acanthus senni, et al: this week’s fave

  1. That’s a lethal looking plant – almost prehistoric! Quite an achievement that it flowered for you! Red is such a nice break from the usual purple, methinks.

  2. Of course ever since you casually mentioned yours had bloomed I’ve been out there everyday checking over my plant for any sign of a flower. Nada.

    I didn’t realize you’ve grown this (or tried to) before. If memory serves this one came from Secret Garden Growers, not only a lovely selection of plants but a nice owner too! Then again most plant people are pretty good eggs.

    Thanks for sharing your acanthus “collection” (sorry but I think it qualifies).

  3. Peter~I have my fingers crossed that this one will be well and prosper.

    Anna K~Red and purple are two of my favorite colors, alone or in tandem, so I can’t go wrong here.

    Loree~Between the two of us, we gave a pretty good accounting of Acanthus. Just for fun, I’ll be looking for others to add to the “collection”.

  4. Between you and Loree I’ve really grown infatuated with this whole genus. I hope you keep adding to your collection (you need some Hollard’s Gold?).

  5. Heather~I have plenty of the spinosa and mollis to share. Jury is still out on what the others will do. I’m not familiar with Hollard’s Gold, but I am pretty much willing to try anything.

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