High Desert Plant Finder & Guide
Whitewater Acanthus foliage
(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)
Plant Height: 3 feet
Flower Height: 5 feet
Spread: 4 feet
Hardiness Zone: 6
Other Names: Bear's Breeches
Large, jagged leaves splashed with spectacular white mottling fade to cream with age; beautiful spikes of pink/white flowers tower over the foliage; longer leaves are more deeply cut than the species; a vigorous grower
Whitewater Acanthus features showy spikes of pink hooded flowers with white overtones rising above the foliage in late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its attractive large deeply cut lobed leaves remain green in color with showy white variegation throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.
Whitewater Acanthus is an open herbaceous evergreen perennial with a rigidly upright and towering form. Its wonderfully bold, coarse texture can be very effective in a balanced garden composition.
This is a relatively low maintenance plant, and should be cut back in late fall in preparation for winter. It has no significant negative characteristics.
Whitewater Acanthus is recommended for the following landscape applications;
- Mass Planting
- Rock/Alpine Gardens
- General Garden Use
- Container Planting
Planting & Growing
Whitewater Acanthus will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity extending to 5 feet tall with the flowers, with a spread of 4 feet. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.
This plant performs well in both full sun and full shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in both summer and winter to conserve soil moisture and protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.
Whitewater Acanthus is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden. Be aware that in our climate, this plant may be too tender to survive the winter if left outdoors in a container. Contact our store for more information on how to protect it over the winter months.
Please note: Our Plant Guide is all about plants that will work in the high desert. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a current list of plants in stock on hand at each location or at our farm. We purposely do not sell or ship plants via the internet. Plant questions and availability are best determined in-store.