Looking for giant hostas empress wu

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by seagonus, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. seagonus

    seagonus Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello. I have several large hostas in a good spot and they are growing really well. After about 3 years the Sum and Substance and Sieboldiana are already about 6 feet wide and 3 feet tall when they are leafed out (I'll post pictures maybe today at some point). I also have two other large cultivars--T-Rex, and Titanic in around the same spot that are a year younger and have almost caught up in growth. I am trying to grow more of the big cultivars to a very large size. I am hoping to try breeding them at some point to produce something different--or who knows what. I'd like to have a bunch of really mature and healthy plants to work with first.

    At any rate, if anyone has an Empress Wu they are trying to get rid of or sell I'd love to have this variety as well and add it to my plot. I'd also be interested in any other varieties that are giant only. As I say I've got lot's of room and a good spot, maybe there is someone out there that bought an Empress Wu and has trouble growing it, or it has become too big in their landscape? I can drive out to Vancouver or wherever to dig it up.

    Let me know. . .
     
  2. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    'Empress Wu' is still fairly new, and I doubt you'd find anyone locally with a big enough one to contemplate division. Your best bet would be to try some of the local specialty nurseries, but I rather suspect you'll end up having to do mailorder for this variety.
     
  3. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    I am also looking for Empress Wu to add to my Hosta Garden
    and have not seen one in any nursery in Vancouver
    Anyone spotting some for sale would appreciate the news thanks
    Vic
     
  4. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    Right now Botanus (mail order) has them on clear-out....
     
  5. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Seems to be THE thing to buy this year
    Sorry All gone but thanks!
     
  6. seagonus

    seagonus Active Member 10 Years

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    I've had my Empress Wu for 2 years now and it is a slow grower--even in full sun. This hosta is also prone to burning more then others due (I think) to it's large leaves which are quite thin at the edges). There is a new sport of Empress Wu that is supposed to be faster growing and possibly bigger and more sun tolerant (on the hunt for it now and keeping it's name a secret lol).

    There is no doubt that Empress Wu will be the largest hosta in my garden because it has an incredible leaf and stem size. That being said, I have other hostas that are much larger but also older (believe it or not "Beckoning" is probably my largest with an almost 7 foot spread).

    As far as obtaining Empress Wu and other excellent hostas I use:
    http://www.hostachoicegardens.com/

    Glenn is excellent to deal with, and he ships excellent product at a very fair price.
     
  7. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Thank you so much will check that out. I have some with very large greyish leaf that are my favorite. Also love my new St Elmo's fire. So bright! I just made a new Hosta garden cutting away undergrowth of trees
    and taking all my Hostas out of their pots. Will try to post some pics ..I guess nothing to excite some of the specialists here/
     
  8. seagonus

    seagonus Active Member 10 Years

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    Yes, do check out the link. However, it was an awful winter back east and they lost a lot of hosta stocks everywhere. . .and I know they are terribly backlogged on orders this year. That being said, I am sure you will be happy with the service you get from Glenn at hostachoicegardens.

    I like to grow the giant varieties, and while I have been looking for new and exotic giant cultivars online, there are lots of great giant-variety plants you can get at local nurseries. I have a hosta sieboldiana that is massive and blue and gorgeous, and probably my favorite. I also have a Sum Substance that is huge. The problem I find with local nurseries is that often their hostas are mislabeled. It is precisely this reason that I sought out online buying--more variety and less chance of getting something mislabeled when you order from a specialty store that takes the hobby seriously.

    Also. . .one other suggestion. It has been said many times that hostas are shade loving plants, but the truth is that most of them like a good deal (even a LOT) of SUN, and in fact, they grow much, much better in sunlight. Hostas will grow in shade, and many plants won't, and i think it was because of this reason that they got the "shade-loving" rap. I have my seiboldiana planted where it get's about 8 hours of sun a day (even afternoon sun) and I am certain that this is the main reason it has grown so large. The Beckoning is planted in full sun and it is not even a giant variety--and yet it grown to a massive size. They do end up scorching in August usually, but by then most of the garden is starting to look worn anyway.

    The advantage of being on the west coast is that our sunshine is not scorching in spring, and we get a TON of rain year round for the roots to grow and soak up. These two factors enable hostas to grow unusually large here. When April, May and June are rainy my hostas look absolutely awesome. I have seen tons of neglected hostas in neighbors yards that were MASSIVE and gorgeous simply because of our climate. You must be careful though. Young hostas will burn in full sun even on the west coast, so I usually shade them with a beach umbrella for part of June/July/August for the first 3 years. Once they are huge they can eat sunshine all day with adequate water. Don't worry if the young plants scorch under their umbrellas in July or August--they will come back FAR stronger and bigger the next year. ALL my sun planted hostas are 4-5 times larger then equivalent varieties planted in shade. If you want giants, give them sun and water and a few shots of granular 18-18-18 in spring when the shoots are about 6 inches tall.
     
  9. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Hello. Thank you very much for your detailed infos. Are you in Vancouver also? I thought so many times walking through Stanley park and along many private gardens where Hostas do very well in sunshine. We lived in South Africa where actually I had ignored Hostas. And often am thinking here man "what sunshine"?
    Would love to see some photos of your Hostas as explained.
    I have semi shade morning sun and late afternoon sun going east to west. But you are tempting me to put some in full sun (still have a few in pots) Thank you bye4now Vic
     

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  10. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    I just shot some with my phone to situate the Hostas
     

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  11. seagonus

    seagonus Active Member 10 Years

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    Nice hosta pics thanks! I snapped this one the other day. Here is my 6 year old beside Sieboldiana. The plant itself is over 3 feet tall I am sure. Probably closer to 4 feet as my daughter is definitely taller then 3 feet (lol). Empress Wu is supposed to grow larger, and so far looks like it will (the leaf and stem size are just so huge on Epress Wu). I really wish I would have planted some of my giants in even better spots (as I have deeper soil and greater sun exposure in the vegetable garden). It looks like future giant hostas will invade my vegetable garden (lol).
     

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  12. vicarious1

    vicarious1 Active Member 10 Years

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    Amazing so huge. I just got one cut like that. I am not good with recalling names. I think I put mine in the wrong spot (if it get that big). But I guess the 1st year it will not get that big. And I don't think moving it again three weeks after planting is a good thing to do. What do you think. I will research and then move them next year according "future" sizes and and yes as per my posts I run a 1200sq veggie garden that can NOT host Hostas. I am always after very large pots "affordable" pots on sale. As they Hostas do well in them here is one very large in a pot for the third year. I use the same in another pot to hide a complete water bucket near my fosset. But I would love to put some within our south facing rock garden where I am planning a small additional pond.
     

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    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2014
  13. seagonus

    seagonus Active Member 10 Years

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    Empress Wu update. I guess it is about 7 years old now. I still feel like it is not at its maximum size as it got a lot bigger these last two years. I think it will continue to grow. I started this one from a single division. It is about 8-9 feet across from leaf tip to leaf tip. Titanic (visible at the top) is still bigger, and is my favorite giant for it's texture ans unruly shape. My super large Seiboldiana died a few years back when I threw an inch of soil over it's exposed roots--same with my Sum and Substance. I may post more pics as I fully expect some of these hostas to get smaller as I have planted shade trees in the area which will keep them shaded in summer (so I won't have to resort to umbrellas as much--which look ugly and which I am tired of setting up each year).

    Also, a plug for the giants Parhelion and especially Allegeon Emperor (sp?) which are very fast growers and have lovely leaf attributes. Maybe I will post pictures if anyone is interested. My Allegeon Emperor is the fastest grower I have seen yet (even faster than Parhelion) and I did not plant it in full sun even! Upright shape similar to Seiboldiana with leaves that I find even more interesting.

    Unfortunately, I was not able to get much out of hosta T-rex or my very expensive American Yeti. Both incredibly slow growing and seem to be subject to environmental stresses. Hosta Big Daddy, which had been wonderful and huge for so many years is starting to wane--wonder if it froze partially during the really bad winter we had (?)

    Just an edit for size info. My wife in the pic is 5'6". Standing next to these things really gives you a better idea of their size. I might get the ladder out at some point and try to get some pictures from above.
     

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    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  14. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    Wow that’s magnificent

    It took me long time to realize what an ideal plant hostas are for us in Vancouver BC

    Clearly I am a hosta fan too on the coast nr Vanc — I’ve seen empress Wu at the nurseries - but I had to step away - because several others of diff name at home yet to be planted

    I like the combo of a bright green hosta with a so-called Hardy fuchsia called Santa Claus (my Santa fuschia demised in the Coast winter nr ocean vancouver )

    I also like to grow the hostas in the soil and then in the summer nestle in a pot of something fancy decorative (lilies for example) in to the mass of leaves for a focal accent

    My current fav hostas are
    1. Midwest Magic
    2. Guacamole

    I’m in a bright green phase - and wow do these look great and no ratty looking leaves and no water and no food ... just as is/ where is .. I’m very pleased.
     

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