Hosta ‘Empress Wu’
I have wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ for many years and I was very glad I found them at a couple of local sources. I was at a garden center in a nearby town and theirs were $22.00 for a 1 gallon pot. I could afford it at the time, but I decided $20.00 would be better spent on more than one plant. My sister came down from the city to go plant shopping, since there are four greenhouses in town, so we went. Luckily I found a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ for half the price so I also bought my Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’. Sure, they were in smaller pots, but they will grow.
The reason I wanted a Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is because I like HUGE plants. Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ is reportedly now the worlds biggest Hosta. It is a seedling of the giant Hosta ‘Big John’ introduced by Brian and Virginia Skaggs in 2008.
I don’t know the details, but A patent was issued for H. ‘Empress Wu’ to Proven Winners or Walters Gardens in 2010 (PP20774). It is a part of the SHADOWLAND® Collection which is a registered trademark of Walters Gardens.
Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ was named for the only female emperor of China. It can grow 4-5 feet tall x 6-8’ wide, although it can take around 5 years to get that size. The leaves can grow around 1 1/2 feet wide!
Family: Asparagaceae (formerly in Liliaceae)
Origin: Seedling of Hosta ‘Big John’
Zones: USDA Zones 3a-8b (-40 to 15° F)
Size: 4-5’ tall x 6-8’ wide
Spacing: 5-6’ feet apart
Flowers: Pale lavender flowers in July-August on 4’ + stems
Leaves: Dark green leaves up to 1 1/2’ across
Light: Light to full shade
Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained soil
Water: Average water needs once established
Propagation: Division every 3-5 years.
Uses: Attracts hummingbirds, shade garden, containers, etc.
Tolerates: Dry shade and high humidity
Resistant: Slugs and snails
I planted my Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ in the corner by the side porch on the north side of the house. All my other Hosta are in another place, but I have had my eye on this spot for an ‘Empress Wu’ for a long time. The problem was, I had been planting my larger Colocasia esculenta in this area. In the spring of 2017, I found a Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ I put next to the porch. Then, after that, I found the Hosta ‘Empress Wu’. So, since the Hosta was still smaller, I put it behind the Colocasia in the corner. I realize that in time, things will definitely need to change. The Colocasia gigantea ‘Thailand Giant’ will continue to be larger, hopefully, as the size of the bulb or tuber) grows. At least I hope. With that in mind, I will have to move the Colocasia over this spring.
I found this great article on a website called Fraternal Order of the Seedy Fellows that was written by Rob Mortko. The article, “HOT HOSTAS: Hosta ‘Empress Wu’, The New Benchmark in Big“, was published in the Hosta Journal. To bad, but this website hasn’t been updated for a while. It says 2009. It highlights several AMAZING Hosta hybridizers.
Hopefully, this Hosta will survive the winter and return in the spring. Then I can add more photos. It will be very interesting to record this Hosta’s growth rate.
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on the “Like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 Click here for my page about the Hosta genus, growing information and sources. The links below are specifically for this cultivar. There are several good sources of Hosta somewhere toward the bottom on the right side of the page.