Acanthus ilicifolius, or Holly-leaved Acanthus, is a perennial plant native to India and Polynesia. This plant can reach a large size, typically growing up to 5-10 ft tall. It has a semi-woody and sprawling structure, with thin stems coated in a glossy green hue speckled with white. The leaves are oval-shaped with a pair of spines at each angle.
Holly-leaved Acanthus prefers full sun to semi-shade and can be grown either in a bog or aquatic environment. It requires plenty of moisture as well as regular watering to stay healthy and vibrant. This plant also tolerates flooding and salty conditions near the seaside very well. Therefore, it can be a great addition to any garden in the USDA hardiness zone of 8-11.
The Holly-leaved Acanthus is adorned with clusters of beautiful blue, lavender and purple flowers. It is also an ethnomedical plant, hence its use in traditional medicine. Its stems are thorny or spiny and may require careful handling when handling.
When growing Holly-leaved Acanthus in a pot, it is essential to keep the soil moist and use quality organic potting soil. A location with some protection from the elements is preferred in colder regions as well as a winter mulching of thick straw to prevent frost damage. Additionally, it is important to keep an eye out for any pests and diseases that may occur and act appropriately to keep the plant healthy.