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New in Deb's Garden: Acanthus 'Whitewater'


I prefer to buy my plants from local nurseries. I have had the experience of paying too much on line for a plant that arrived on death's door or else pitifully small for the price. But once again I had fallen victim to a glossy catalogue photo of a plant I had never seen before. So as I opened the box containing my newly arrived Acanthus 'Whitewater', I was anxious that my worse fears would be confirmed.

I had only partially opened the container when a large leaf unfurled out of its wrappings, like a young animal's enthusiastic attempt to escape its cage. I exclaimed at the plant's beauty as I released it from a covering of styrofoam packing.Here is what my new Acanthus 'Whitewater' looked like immediately after arrival.

Acanthus 'Whitewater' is a perennial with striking deep green leaves with creamy variegation. That is enough to make me love it, but it also will produce spikes of pink and cream flowers in early to midsummer. This plant needs some space, growing 3 feet tall and wide.A closer look at Acanthus 'Whitewater'

An easy care, vigorous plant, it will grow in USDA hardiness zones 7 - 10. It likes shade to part shade and prefers moist but well-drained loamy soil. However, it will grow in poorer soil and is also tolerant of heat and humidity. I just planted mine in a shadier part of my new pollinator garden, and I am eager to see how it does. 3' x 3' sounds big to me, but I know happy plants in my climate often exceed expectations. So I placed it in a corner where it can get much larger without bothering other plants or looking out of place. 

Time will tell, but after a week in the ground, Acanthus 'Whitewater' looks very happy. 

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Reader Comments (18)

It looks good! I bought a small plant labeled as Acanthus 'Whitewater' at my local garden center almost 18 months ago. Mine showed no sign of any variegation at the time of purchase but I liked the shape of the leaves and, with no prior experience with the plant, I assumed the variegation would show as it matured. I'm still waiting to see if this year's foliage lives up to the label - mine dies back during our long dry period, generally emerging with new foliage in spring.

March 17, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

I can't wait to see it in bloom! I'm sure it will be a lovely addition to your gardens! xo

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

ere did you order it from, if you don't mind my asking? I love variegated plants! Thanks for your lovely blog, I enjoy it very much!

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

What a beautiful plant, I'm sure it will be very happy in your garden.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Some folks are strangely snobby about variegated plants, I have always been fond of them. In Aberdeen, we had the more common form of Acanthus. I do like the look of your Acanthus 'Whitewater' and look forward to seeing it in bloom.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

Your Acanthus is beautiful ! I was not aware they bloomed...how wonderful. Surely would be nice to know where to find one.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

It is a gorgeous looking plant. I, also will be looking forward to see it in bloom and eventually to see it in its full glory.

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMeta

Do you have already have have other acanthus in your garden?

March 18, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Glad you had a good experience this time around with ordering from a catalogue. I use to have the concerns you experienced but I've ordered from sponsors of the Garden Blogger Fling and have been very pleased with all the live plants and bulbs I've received. I'm looking forward to seeing how this one flowers for you.

March 19, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKarin/Southern Meadows

Hi everyone, thanks for stopping by and commenting about my acanthus 'Whitewater.' For those who wanted to know, I ordered it from Wayside Gardens. Dave, this is my first acanthus. I am looking forward to seeing how it grows! Best wishes to you all! Deb

March 19, 2019 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Oh!!! I know I would love that!!!

March 20, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Love variegated leaves, and how nice to see that plant was happy to come to you! It knows a good home when it sees it.

March 22, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Wow! Those leaves are amazing!

March 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I've seen this one in magazines. Absolutely gorgeous!! I wish it was hardy to my zone! Looks like you got a nice, healthy plant.

March 23, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIndie

Deb -- I also shun online purchases after a very disappointing purchase out of Minnesota or thereabouts. What was I thinking? Buying plants acclimatized to the north and me living in Florida? I'm also not crazy about those bagged bulbs/plants you see in garden centers of big box stores. They often have plants not known to grow in this area.

April 2, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Jones

I'm sorry to post this question here, but I could not find a better method to contact you, and I did not know if it was a good idea to comment on a years old post about your corpse flower (wasn't sure if you would see my comment). First of all, thank you for your very detailed info on the corpse flower! I have one, and have lost a few in the past due to misinformation (leaving them in their pots and bringing them indoors for the winter- I'm in Massachusetts zone 6b). Anyways, let me get to my question already! What tomato fertilizer do you use on yours? Also, how big are they now??

April 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

It is risky buying mail order plants. I have had real disappointments and some pleasant surprises. But it is the easiest way to buy unusual plants I think.Your plant looks stunning Deb.

April 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Beautiful! I, too, look forward to seeing it in bloom. I have experienced both the anxiety and the disappointment with mail-order plants; but finding a mail order nursery that delivers big, healthy plants like this one is a treasure.

April 9, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJean

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