Hosta 'Tardiflora'
formerly H. tardiflora

The plant label above is incorrectly written as if this hosta were still considered a species and not a cultivar, which is its current status. The hosta in the lower image is labeled a little better...but not quite. The "T" should be capitalized.

The plant is a non-registered seedling of H. longipes lancea from Japan. It was long considered a species, H. tardiflora, but it was changed to cultivar status in The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid (1991). Today, it is correctly known as H. 'Tardiflora'.

This hosta has thick, slug resistant green foliage on a medium size (12 inches high by 36 inches wide) plant. The leaves are slightly wavy, smooth and very shiny beneath. Its lavender flowers appear from late September into October and may not have time to mature to set seed before frost in many northern gardens.

This plant has been the mother plant of many sports and seedlings. The famous blue-green H." Tardiana" Group which was developed by English hybridizer Eric Smith is a cross between H. 'Tardiflora' × H. 'Elegans'.

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "Autumn flowers make H. 'Tardiflora' a very valuable hosta...Excellent for warmer climates as it has a long life cycle."

An article about Fall Bloomers by Herb Benedict and Jim Wilkins in The Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) states that, "Here are some of the fall blooming plants we grow...(listed in the order of bloom times in Michigan).

1) H. kikutii A medium size plant densely flowering with white blooms. The flowers are equally arranged around the central axis of the raceme so that the bloom scapes resembles a bottle brush or pony tail...We are growing two named varieties, 'Hirao-59' and 'Finlandia'.
2) H. 'Fall Bouquet' Small, green plant, leaves slightly undulated, lavender scape and blooms, floriferous.
3) H. longipes Small green plant, densely flowering with a tall stiff bloom scape. The flowers are lavender and the leaves are green.
4) H. gracillima Funnel-shaped, light lavender flowers. A miniature green plant, with shiny surface.
5) H. 'Iwa Soules' Iwa means rock, and this plant was imported by Marjorie Soules, from Japan . It is a small green plant with lavender flowers.
6) H. tortifrons In the same section (Picnolepis) as H. longipes and H. rupifraga . Distinctive small plant, with twisted green leaves and lavender flowers.
7) H. 'Fused Veins' Small, green leaves often with ¼ inch margin which is a lighter green. The lance shaped leaves are undulated and the veins come together regularly. The flowers are mauve and the scape is sometimes branched.
8) H. rupifraga Small, medium green, with thick, leathery, ovate leaves. Densely flowering with purple flowers. 'Urajiro', 'Grand Slam', 'Maruba Iwa'
9) H. tardiflora   This small hosta is the last to bloom for us. Its leaves are shiny, dark green and lance shaped. The flowers are light lavender and borne in abundance on 12 inch scapes.

The article  includes their observations about using fall blooming hostas in hybridizing programs:

1) H. tardiflora  × self Tends to flower 2 weeks earlier. 90% of the progeny have the flowers secund (flowers all on one side of the bloom stalk) and in 10% they are evenly arranged around the central axis of the raceme (nonsecund).
2) H. rupifraga × H. tardiflora Beautiful very tough plant with a taller bloom stalk. Blooms 2 weeks earlier.
3) H. 'Maruba Iwa' × H. tardiflora Taller bloom stalk. Blooms 2 weeks earlier. 30% of progeny have nonsecunded flowers.
4) H. gracillima × H. tardiflora Very nice small plant, with leaves intermediate between the two. Beautiful flowers.
5) H. rupifraga × H. kikutii   The best of this cross is called 'Roys Pink'. It is a perfect intermediate. The leaf is long, heart shaped and very thick. The flowers are pony tail in type, a light pinkish color and spent flowers drop off cleanly.

Nomenclature changes recommended in the 1991 book The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid and accepted by The American Hosta Society would update names as follows: H. tortifrons is now H. 'Tortifrons' and H. tardiflora is H. 'Tardiflora'.

In an article about hybridizing by Tony Avent in The Hosta Journal (1996 Vol. 27 No. 1),  Tony gives the following comments on cultivars he has introduced: "H. 'Andy Taylor' - outstanding dark green matte finish hosta with wonderful pure white flowers...An 'August Moon' x H. 'Tardiflora' cross...will never knock your socks off, but truly wonderful!"

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."

H. 'Tardiflora' may have been sold in the past as Mackwoods No. 17.



In 1991, the then most comprehensive book about hostas, The Genus Hosta by W. George Schmid, was published. It was the first intensively researched book about the entire genus which, until that time, suffered from a lot of misinformation and name confusion. As the result of his research, Schmid determined that several of the plants previously treated as separate, naturally occurring, species were, in fact, cultivated varieties, i.e. cultivars, created by nurseries and hybridizers or of unidentified origin .

This hosta is one which was historically considered a natural species but was changed to a cultivar by Schmid.

For more on this process.. .

Species switched to cultivar status in 1991 include:
bullet H. '
 
Crispula '
 
bullet H. '
 
Decorata '
 
bullet H. '
 
Fortunei '
 
bullet H. '
 
Helonioides '
 
bullet H. '
 
Lancifolia '
 
bullet H. '
 
Opipara '
 
bullet H. '
 
Tardiflora '
 
bullet H. '
 
Tokudama '
 
bullet H. '
 
Undulata '
 

 
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