I have always loved plants with dramatic, bold foliage, so it should come as no surprise that when I noticed this stunning beauty on my order forms, I jumped fast! I’ve been growing two other species, both A. mollis [which is borderline hardy in my Z5 garden] and A. spinosus which has become a perennial favourite. Acanthus ‘Whitewater’ is destined to cause a stir. Not to be confused with A. ‘Tasmanian Angel’ whose variegation is similar but not as dramatic!
With its striking, deeply lobed and cut foliage that is heavily splashed with white, this stunner will eventually form a sizable clump 1.5-2m in width and is topped with 1.5-2m tall flower spikes that glow an incandescent pink for most of its bloom period. It is tolerant of most soils, preferring a somewhat lean, gravelly soil with sharp drainage. While it prefers full sun, I have successfully cultivated its less dramatic cousins in a partly shaded garden setting. This will make a most dramatic container planting for me, as its Z7-10 hardiness leaves me no choice but to bring it in and protect it throughout our harsh Canadian winter. It represents my first ‘Zonal Denial’ selection for 2011! A word of caution: This is yet another plant that resents too much movement, and usually rewards you with a kazillion seedlings if even an iota of rhizome is left behind. Of course for some of us, this is music to our ears.
Full sun to part shade. Zone 7-10. Spread: 1.5-2m wide by approximately same height.
Coming to LittleTree Horticulture in 2011.