Hosta 'Sum and Substance'

Hosta 'Sum and Substance' is the all-time classic giant sized hosta. It forms a giant size (36 inches high) clump and is used as a specimen plant in the landscape. It was originated by Florence Shaw and registered by Paul Aden in 1980 but the parentage is not known.

The leaves are moderately corrugated, have deeply lobed margins, are cupped both up and down and have a long, distinct tip. It has thick substance which  makes it resistant to slug damage.  In late July and into August, it produces large pale lavender flowers on four foot tall scapes.

According to The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), this cultivar "...helped shape the interest in hostas as shade garden plants. It was introduced to the nursery trade in the early 1980s by Paul Aden and Klehm Nursery. Once specimens began maturing in gardens in the late 1980s, gardeners everywhere took notice...Van Wade planted 'Sum and Substance' in his new collection in 1986, and by 1993 it had reached a hosta world record of 48" high by 114" wide...hybrids almost always more closely resemble the other parent...The number of sports that have been generated out of 'Sum and Substance' has been staggering..."

This cultivar has appeared on several of the Popularity Polls by members of The American Hosta Society. It was the 2004 "Hosta of the Year" by the American Hosta Growers Association. This cultivar has been awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit in the UK.

  1. H. 'Abba Windows'
  2. H. 'American Idol'
  3. H. 'Bankrupt'
  4. H. 'Beauty Substance'
  5. H. 'Blizzard'
  6. H. 'Bottom Line'
  7. H. 'Buckeye'
  8. H. 'Corona'
  9. H. 'Crickett Bailedout'
  10. H. 'David Allen Haskell'
  11. H. 'Domaine De Courson'
  12. H. 'Eagle's Nest'
  13. H. 'Ferris Wheel'
  14. H. 'Final Summation'
  15. H. 'Fran Godfrey'
  16. H. 'Golden Piecrust'
  17. H. 'Golden Substance'
  18. H. 'Grand Total'
  19. H. 'Green Gables'
  20. H. 'Gunther's Prize'
  21. H. 'Honeysong Dream Edge'
  22. H. 'Irish Hills'
  23. H. 'Lady Isobel Barnett'
  24. H. 'Leather Sheen'
  25. H. 'Lodestar'
  26. H. 'Parhelion'
  1. H. 'Pomp and Circumstance'
  2. H. 'Prairie Sum Shine'
  3. H. 'Something Good'
  4. H. 'Sum and Subtle'
  5. H. 'Sum Cup-o-Joe'
  6. H. 'Sum It Up'
  7. H. 'Sum Like It Hot'
  8. H. 'Sum of All'
  9. H. 'Sum Piecrust'
  10. H. 'Sum Streaker'
  11. H. 'Sum Sunfish'
  12. H. 'Sum Total'
  13. H. 'Sum Treasure'
  14. H. 'Sum Upper Crust'
  15. H. 'Sum Whopper'
  16. H. 'Summa Cum Laude'
  17. H. 'Supersonic'
  18. H. 'Tiffney's Godzilla'
  19. H. 'Titanic'
  20. H. 'Totally Awe Sum'
  21. H. 'Variable Sum'
  22. H. 'Vim and Vigor'
  23. H. 'Warwick Ballerina'
  24. H. 'Watercolours'
  25. H. 'Winter Snow'
  26. H. 'Zebson'
  1. H. 'Abiqua Recluse'
  2. H. 'Academy Ametrine'
  3. H. 'Bubba'
  4. H. 'Courtesy'
  5. H. 'Dumplings with Sauce'
  6. H. 'Emma'
  7. H. 'Emmett Armitage'
  8. H. 'Euphoria'
  9. H. 'Fragrant Gold'
  10. H. 'Golden Decade'
  11. H. 'Golden Memories'
  12. H. 'Grand Canyon'
  13. H. 'Herman's Pride'
  14. H. 'Jaz'
  15. H. 'Jim Cooper'
  16. H. 'Joyce Trott'
  17. H. 'Kevin Kelley'
  18. H. 'Kitty Hawk'
  1. H. 'Leather Sheen'
  2. H. 'Little Black Scape'
  3. H. 'Little Razor'
  4. H. 'Lovely Loretta'
  5. H. 'M. Owen Papuga'
  6. H. 'Metallic Sheen'
  7. H. 'Moby Dick'
  8. H. 'Nancy Gill'
  9. H. 'New Wave'
  10. H. 'Old Coot'
  11. H. 'Ra'
  12. H. 'Raleigh Remembrance'
  13. H. 'Righteous Rays'
  14. H. 'Rosedale Big Bopper'
  15. H. 'Rosedale Genevieve'
  16. H. 'Small Sum'
  17. H. 'Sum More Magic'
  18. H. 'Tossed Salad'

This one of an increasing number of cultivars which has been found to be susceptible to Hosta Virus X. As research continues, a greater number of cultivars are being reported where at least one plant has been confirmed to have been infected. Of course, this does NOT mean that you should not grow this hosta. Only that you should learn more about this potential problem and be on the look out for it in your garden and at the plant nursery.

Picture taken in 2010 at
Wade and Gatton Nursery and Wade Botanical Gardens

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