Hosta ‘El Niño’

This is a medium size (20 inches high by 30 inches wide), blue-green, Tardiana-type hosta with a cream margin and lavender flowers. It is an introduction from a Dutch nursery and registered by Piet Warmerdam of the Netherlands in 2003 as a hybrid of H. 'Halcyon'. 'El Nino' was granted a U.S. patent in 2004.

This cultivar has smooth textured foliage with thick substance. It bears lavender flowers from late July into mid-August but is sterile and does not set seeds.

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "Good in containers or at the edge of light woodland. Ideal where pure white variegation is required...The attractive variegated margin widens considerably over the years."

An article about the Halcyon Group by Peter Cross in The HostaJournal (2004 Vol. 35 No.2) says, "H. 'El Niňo' was officially registered and a seedling of 'Halcyon'. However, its uncanny similarity to 'Halcyon' in habit and leaf shape strongly suggests that it is in fact a sport of 'Halcyon' ...Whether a seedling or a sport, 'El Niňo' is a beautiful hosta..."

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2010 Vol. 41 No. 1) states that, "Curiously, the patent for 'El Nino' states it is a "hybrid of 'Halcyon' × a selection of H. 'Tardiflora'...Hosta authorities agree that most likely 'El Nino'is not a seedling of 'Halcyon', but a sport of 'Halcyon' found in a tissue-cultured batch in the Netherlands."

Similar cultivars include H. 'Aristocrat', H. 'First Frost' and H. 'Great Escape'.

United States Patent: PP14632  (2004)

Abstract: A distinct cultivar of Hosta plant named ‘El Nino’, characterized by its relatively compact plant habit; bluish green and white variegated leaves; freely flowering habit; and violet blue-colored flowers that are positioned above the foliage on erect scapes.


El Niño is an irregularly occurring weather event that originates in the equatorial regions of the Pacific Ocean. It affects the global climate and disrupts normal weather patterns, which can lead to intense storms in some places and droughts in others. El Niño is also a Spanish term referring to the Christ child.

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