Hosta 'Empress Wu'
aka SHADOWLANDS® 'Empress Wu'

This seedling of a self-pollinated H. 'Big John' which was formerly known as H. 'Xanadu Empress Wu', was registered by Virginia and Brian Skaggs of Indiana in 2008. It was also granted a U.S. patent in 2010.

This is a fast growing, giant size plant that grows up to 50 inches high and a spread of 108 inches or more. The dark green leaves are broadly ovate, moderately flat and slightly shiny on top. From late June into July, very pale lavender flowers with faint striping bloom on scapes up to 4 feet tall. It sets viable seeds.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "...wins the championship for largest leaves of any hosta...many leaves over 30 inches long...This cultivar should also be considered when breeding for large-leaved hostas."

From the Field Guide to Hostas by Mark Zilis (2014), "Perhaps crossing 'Empress Wu' with 'Elatior' or 'Sum and Substance' will someday yield the first 30" (76.2 cm) long hosta leaf!"

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "Site in light to moderate shade in light woodland or at the back of a larger border. Allow plenty of space for eventual increase...Puckered, folded leaves. One of the largest hostas."

This plant is part of the SHADOWLAND group of hostas from Walters Gardens, Inc.

An article about H. 'Empress Wu' by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (2011 Vol. 42 No. 1) quotes Brian Skaggs:  "It is one of the first up...and one of the first to flower. Go figure! What is really nice is that 'Empress Wu' holds her flowers right at or just above the loftiest leaves. (One H. 'Elatior' in the world is enough!). For the hybridizer, she keeps pumping flower scapes over a long period. How sweet!...Also, the dogs very much enjoy the cool soil in her high shade on a warm summer day."

Rob Mortko in The Hosta Journal (2008 Vol. 39 No.3) says that, "This seedling was named 'Xanadu Empress Wu', now shortened to 'Empress Wu'. In case you're wondering, 'Empress Wu' was named in honor of arguably the most powerful and influential woman in world history. She was the only female emperor ever in China, reigning for half a century during the Tang the 7th century A.D...In many ways, 'Empress Wu' looks just like 'Big John' -- only on steroids. In addition to size, however, it also has some other interesting differences. H. 'Empress Wu' continuously sends up scapes for nearly two months, with an overall bloom time approaching three months. Blooming typically starts in late May, almost a month before 'Big John'. "

United States Patent: PP20774  (2010)

Abstract: Hosta plant named ‘Empress Wu’ is a new cultivar with very large green leaves, gigantic plant stature in the landscape, light lavender flowers and large matching bracts producing a water lily effect, suitable as a potted plant, for the garden, and for cut flower arrangements.

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