Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’
is THE classic giant size blue hosta. It was originally
described as a cross between 'Fortunei'
but, According to
The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), it is "...most likely a cross of
It was first introduced
for sale in Germany by
in 1905 and
The American Hosta Society registered the cultivar
on his behalf in 1987 and again in 2002.
'Elegans' forms a giant size (28 inches high
by 61 inches wide) mound of heavily
corrugated, slightly wavy foliage with a deeply lobed base and a
distinct tip. It produces funnel shaped, near white flowers in
dense clusters from mid-June into July.
The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "When
Georg Arends introduced his
Funkia fortunei var. robusta, I'm sure that he did not realize the impact that
this hybrid would eventually have. In essence, H. sieboldiana 'Elegans' introduced thick substance and blue-green foliage
color to the hosta world. Almost any hosta with these
characteristics hearkens back to H. sieboldiana 'Elegans'.
H. 'Elegans' also has the distinction of
being a cultivar, but not a clone. This is rare among hosta
cultivars. The reason for this is its sluggish growth rate,
making propagation by division a slow task...nurserymen eager to
increase their stocks...germinated copious numbers of seeds.
Thus, the plants sold as H. sieboldiana 'Elegans' today
are far removed from the original 'Elegans' and are not
identical to each other."
This cultivar has been awarded
the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in the
Field Guide to Hostas by Mark Zilis (2014), "...remains the standard to which all other large,
blue-green hostas are compared...Over the last 30
years, slight differences between 'Elegans'
seedlings resulted in several new introductions with
heavily corrugated, blue-green foliage. 'Gray
Cole' and 'Ryan's
Big One' probably come closest to the original 'Elegans',
but they are significantly different from other 'Elegans'-types
such as 'Blue
Mammoth' and 'Big
The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by
Grenfell (2009) states: "Over the years this name has been applied to a
variety of H. sieboldiana selections and it is
likely that none of the plants in
tissue culture under this name is the correct plant, which may now
only be found in older collections and is likely to
be superior in leaf color and shape...Flowers are
bunched at the top of the scape, which rises only
just above the foliage mound."
At a recent winter Hosta Scientific
Meeting near Chicago, the
Hosta Registrar mentioned that of the
300 or so new cultivars registered the previous year, over half
of them had H. 'Elegans' in their background.
As you can see by the list below, there are a lot of big
blue-green hostas out there from which to choose. (Some might
say waaaay too many!)
Hosta Journal, Vol. 37 No. 2 - 2006, contained an
article in which several
hostaphiles were asked to give a brief list of
favorite hosta flowers. This plant was included
in that list.
'Elegans' may have
been sold at one time under the name Mackwoods No.
stated "...The name
fortunei 'Robusta' was used by
Georg Arends in 1905 for the plant that eventually became
H. sieboldiana 'Elegans'..."