Hosta 'Great Expectations'

This classic hosta was introduced by John Bond of Savill Gardens in England and was registered by Paul Aden of New York on his behalf in 1988. It is a giant size (29 inches high by 58 inches wide) hosta which is a sport of H. sieboldiana 'Elegans'.

The bright yellow center of the blue-green leaves tends to turn white as the summer progresses (albescence). It is a slow growing plant with thick substance and near white, bell-shaped flowers on 33 inch scapes from late June into July followed by viable seeds.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), "...its stature in the world of hostas has only increased. A mature specimen has a significant impact on any garden in which it grows. Its only negative is a slow growth rate."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states in its Hosta Hybrids for Connoisseurs chapter: "In many regions growers find it lacks vigor; indeed, it can dwindle rather than increase in size. Only the arresting tonal variegation of the leaves keeps this hosta in favor."

It has been reported that this cultivar may be more difficult to grow in hotter parts of the country i.e. the South. Growers in that region have found that a mature clump may begin to decline for no apparent reason. However, it is not susceptible to a problem called spring desiccation burn which afflicts similar types of hostas.

This cultivar has appeared several times in the Popularity Poll by members of The American Hosta Society.


Large, blue-green hostas with a gold/yellow marginal variegation such as H. 'Frances Williams', a medial (center) variegation like H. 'Brother Stefan' or yellow/gold leaf H. seiboldiana related cultivars such as H. 'Golden Sunburst' can make very attractive statements in the garden. Unfortunately, some of this type of hosta suffer from a physiological disorder called "spring desiccation burn".

For some reason, these plants often sustain discoloration and damage to the gold/yellow variegated margin or center of the leaf. Although this does not kill the plant, it does make it unattractive looking later in the season.

We have accumulated sample lists of similar size and color cultivars noted as being Resistant or Susceptible to spring desiccation burn.


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