Mediterranean or coastal garden is complete without Acanthus plants. Favoured by the Greeks for their beautiful
leaves and unusual flowers, they are still popular today, and for good reason. Being very hardy, they can be grown right across the UK in most gardens. They are great coastal plants, tolerating high winds, salt spray and hot summers.
Autumn is a
good time to sow Acanthus seeds if you have a greenhouse or windowsill to get
them started. Acanthus seeds are unusual as they dry out quickly after ripening in late summer and are difficult to
store for more than 6-12 months. We keep
ours in a sealed container in a fridge and donít keep them for more than
one season, preferring to sow them fresh off the plants in the autumn.
seeds germinate well in the lower temperatures of autumn and grow fast once
germinated, which only takes 2-3 weeks. Spring is also a good time if seeds are still plump and not dried out. As seen below, we sowed the first batch of
seeds in a pot and the plants are growing so well they are crowding each other
plants need no special treatment other than giving them some protection until
the weather warms up in spring when they can be re-potted or planted out after
hardening off. Flowering may start next
summer, but more likely the summer after.
Update 3 weeks later on the seedlings just emerging above. See below for a lovely healthy seedling in the process of being re-potted. These seedlings are growing beautifully in an unheated greenhouse, with no problems from any pests or diseases. I love the way the light reflects on the shiny leaves. Reminds me of Chatham Island Forget-Me-Nots, one of New Zealand's most lovely mega-herbs - more to come on this next year! Autumn really is a great time to sow and grow Acanthus plants in Cornwall.
Acanthus seedling 3 weeks later in the process of being re-potted
See more on sowing and growing Acanthus.
These now available to buy as plants in 8cm pots.