Hosta 'Blue Angel'

H. 'Blue Angel' is a giant size (36 inches high by 70 inches wide) plant which is usually included in any list of the top blue hosta cultivars. The blue-green foliage is slightly corrugated, broadly ovate-oblong shaped and has thick substance. It often fades to dark green by the end of the season. The near-white, funnel shape flowers bloom in dense clusters from late June into July followed by viable seeds.

It is another of the many hostas originated by Florence Shaw of Massachusetts and registered on her behalf by Paul Aden of New York (1986). 'Blue Angel' was registered as having originated from a cross of two unnamed seedlings. The species, H. sieboldiana, appears to be in its genetic background but the narrow, more pointed leaves also shows influence by H. montana.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), this cultivar "...has become the premier large blue-green hosta cultivar. It can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape, including as a ground cover, in small groups, or as a specimen plant. Though it is not a great breeding plant, it has been the source of many outstanding sports."

From the Field Guide to Hostas by Mark Zilis (2014), "...lack of pod formation limits its usefulness as a breeding plant...Its first sport, 'Green Angel', came out of tissue culture in the mid-1980s and was the first to demonstrate the possibility that blue-leaved hostas could sport green-leaved versions."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "Among the best large, blue-leaved hostas for gardens in warmer climates. Tolerates quite dry soil when fully established. If carefully sited, it almost attains the bluest category. A classic hosta."

This cultivar has appeared in several of the Popularity Polls by members of The American Hosta Society. It has also been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in the UK.

The Hosta Journal, (2006 Vol. 37 No. 2), contained an article in which several hostaphiles were asked to give a brief list of their favorite hosta flowers. This plant was included in that list.

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 2) states that, "H. 'Blue Angel' is one of the best large blue-leaved hostas. The leaves are more pointed and less seersuckered than those of H. sieboldiana 'Elegans' . I happen to think the leaves are a good blue color; there are other big hostas with bluer leaves...it is a faster grower than H. sieboldiana 'Elegans' ...an exciting new sport of 'Blue Angel' ...H. 'Guardian Angel' is a blue-leaved hosta with an attractive, wide center variegation....Not surprisingly, 'Green Angel' is the green sport."

Steve Chamberlain (well-known hybridizer of the Academy Series) in The Hosta Journal (2002 Vol. 33 No. 3) states that, "My six favorite blues are Hosta 'Deep Blue Sea', 'Abiqua Drinking Gourd', 'Camelot', 'Silvery Slugproof', 'Bill Dress's Blue', and 'Blue Angel', but most of them do not grow rapidly."

An article about favorite flowering hostas by W. George Schmid in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 2) says, "The best flowers are on H. plantaginea and its multi-petalous cousins, 'Venus' and 'Aphrodite'...H. capitata in bud is fine, but its offspring, 'Nakaimo' has flowers that begin with the shine of precious porcelain and stay closed in bud longer...H. kikutii forms all have fine and late flowers, but the best are on H. kikutii var. densa (H. densa). They are white and form a tight bunch at the top of the scape. H. laevigata has large, spidery flowers in abundance; its cousin H. yingeri has smaller ones with the same spidery character and dark color. These spidery flowers are carried all around the stem unlike other hosta flowers that, "lean to one side...Finally, mature clumps of 'Blue Angel' and 'Elegans' have a beautiful flower display when many flowers on different scapes open in unison..."

Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal  (2014 Vol. 45 No. 1) states that, "The AHS Cultivar Origination Commission…concluded that Kevin C. Vaughn and the late Florence Shaw should be credited for some of Aden’s registrations…Eight of Paul Aden ’s crème de la crème registrations are credited to Kevin Vaughn as originator and 16 to Florence Shaw…Among them are H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ (K. Vaughn – 1982), ‘So Sweet’ (K. Vaughn –1986), ‘Zounds’ (F. Shaw – 1978), ‘Love Pat’ (F. Shaw – 1978), ‘Sum and Substance’ (F. Shaw – 1980) and ‘Blue Angel’ (F. Shaw – 1986)."

       
In an article in The Hosta Journal (2003 Vol. 34 No. 3), hybridizer Randy Goodwin was asked to select his top five favorite blue and yellow hostas. He responded with the following:
Favorite Blue Hostas
H. 'Halcyon' - The benchmark for blues...Whenever I see a new blue hosta, I take a leaf and place it next to 'Halcyon' as my standard. H. 'Winfield Blue' another consistent blue.
H. 'War Party' - Holds its bloom well into late summer...resembles a plant from the Tardiana Group except it has a larger growth habit with a mature clump spreading over 4 feet.
H. 'Blue Angel' - Deservedly popular in Indianapolis gardens...The size and color make it a classic.
H. 'Blue Betty Lou' - Upright growth, leaves that are characteristic of H. sieboldiana and a powder blue bloom, has been a favorite since I first saw it.
H. 'Blue Blush' - Finding a smaller hosta with good blue color plus a decent growth rate is difficult. H. 'Blue Blush' fills this need.

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