If you have a large
size, bluish green, mound
forming hosta, odds are that it has the species, H. 'Sieboldiana', somewhere in its
background. Perhaps the classic
of this type is H. 'Elegans'
which has been around for around a century.
The average size mound of this species
will be about 24 inches high and over 60 inches wide at
maturity. It will have near white flowers with a pale lavender
mid-tepal stripe from late June into mid-July. The leaves are
broadly ovate, with thick substance and are heavily corrugated.
It emerges blue-green in the spring due to a waxy cover on
the leaf. However, the wax may melt away as the summer progresses
resulting in a green colored leaf by fall.
The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009) there is some confusion about the actual
characteristics of this species. The true species forms that he
has observed do not always match those of
The true species types have less corrugation in the leaves, are
not as blue and form clusters of flowers that are less dense
than those of 'Elegans'.
The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009), states that "The true H. 'Sieboldiana' is
uncommon in hosta collections and nurseries. Most plants with
this label are actually green-leaved seedlings of H. 'Elegans' and are not the true species...I
attempted to find H. 'Sieboldiana' in the wild or
wild-collected specimens. No collector I encountered had ever
seen it...Even veteran plant-hunters, who had found hundreds of
other unusual hostas in the wild, had never seen it."
W. George Schmid, author of
The Genus Hosta (1991),
wrote an article for
The Hosta Journal (online version) in which
he proposed that the plant that has been called a species, H. 'Sieboldiana', should probably be more correctly called
a cultivar, H. 'Sieboldiana'. He made this statement under
the premise that no "wild" population of the species is known.
the January 19, 2013 Hosta Scientific Meeting in Lisle,
Mark Zilis said that
Japanese plant collectors believe that
they have found plants of the species, H. 'Sieboldiana',
in a remote part of one of the Japanese islands. He said that
the discovery is yet to be scientifically confirmed but he hoped
that a more definitive declaration would be coming in a year or
The species is named for famed
Philip von Siebold.
"H. 'Cucullata'= H. 'Sieboldiana'" - Also, this may have been sold
as Mackwoods No. 1 at one time.
So, it sounds as if, when someone
talks about a "Sieboldiana" type hosta, they are really
H. 'Elegans' and its
seedlings and sports.
An article by W. George Schmid in
Hosta Journal (1985 Vol. 16) states that, "The other
German hosta of great interest is H. 'Semperaurea'...it is the most
magnificent golden-leaved hosta I have seen...said to have come from
the 1930's, and, therefore, there would have existed a golden-margined form of
H. 'Sieboldiana' -- which we now call H. 'Frances Williams' -- in Japan
during that time.
Heinz Klose obtained a number of
H. x tardiana plants after
Smith left Hadspen House nursery. He is also actively selecting and propagating
H. 'Semperaurea' seedlings...Named by him are several hybrid
seedlings: H. 'Goldpfeil' ('Gold Arrow'), H. 'Weisse Glocke' ('White Bell'), and
H. 'Zitronenfalter' ('Lemon Butterfly')...special cultivars with
lines are: H. 'Blauglut' ('Blue Glow') and H. 'Blaue Wolke' ('Blue Cloud') which
reminds one of H. 'Blue Heaven'...with his H. x tardiana...has named one H. 'Irische
See' ('Irish Sea')...H. 'Nordatlantic' ('North Atlantic')..."
Note: 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. x
tardiana is now Tardiana Group.
An article about H. 'Dorothy Benedict' by
Herb Benedict in
Hosta Journal (1991 Vol. 22 No. 1) states that, "During
1990, the six best, 7 year old seedlings were named and three were registered.
|#1. 'Gil Jones'
||- A large upright
with blue-green leaves and a wide cream edge.
|#2. 'Jim Wilkins'
||- A low spreading reverse with a cream
center and with a blue-green border on its leaves.
|#3 'Hideko Gowen'
||- A tall, upright reverse with a maple
leaf cream center, a wide green edge and a thick cupped round leaf.
|#4 'Tom Boy'
||- A small, slow-growing miniature
H. 'Sieboldiana' with a chartreuse edged, cupped, round green leaf.
||- A low, spreading, very gold leaf with a
green edge, and a very puckered, round leaf.
|#6 'Bashful Polly'
||- A wavy edged, splashed leaf.
Another 'Dorothy Benedict' seedling, grown and registered by
Jim Wilkins, is 'Herb Benedict', a splashed, round leaf with blue overtones
and winner of the Savory Shield Award in Jackson (MI), 1988, for the best
new seedling growing in a
Convention of The
American Hosta Society tour garden."
In an article by Robert Olson, past President of The American Hosta Society
Hosta Journal (1992 Vol. 23 No. 2) quoted
response to a list of older hostas presented to him:
Warren I. Pollock in
Hosta Journal (1997 Vol. 28 No. 1) states that, "There
already is a blue hosta with the leaf curling character of 'Stetson'. It is a
H. 'Sieboldiana' (not H. 'Elegans'
) with pollen parent
unknown. The leaf blades are canoe shaped, even more curled on the sides than
'Stetson'. Its very fitting name is 'Blue Canoe'...an exciting new introduction
of Gwen Black who gardens in...England."
An article by Warren I. Pollock in
Hosta Journal (2001 Vol. 32 No. 2) states that, "H.
'Prince of Wales' is a brand-new cultivar, a large blue-leaved
seedling...It should be available in Britain in 2002."
Bill Meyer in
Hosta Journal (2003 Vol. 34 No. 1) states that, "H. 'Sieboldiana'...is
virtually the opposite of
H. sieboldii, they both add large leaves,
rounded leaf shapes, rugosity and heavy substance. They are also the origin of
the wax that makes green hostas appear blue and of
lutescent yellow coloring
(all other species produce
viridescent yellow seedlings). Like
they yield large quantities of seed...Slow growth and poor division formation
are at the top of the list of negative traits. In addition, they flower early,
at a time when few other species bloom, often adapt poorly to hotter climates,
go dormant in the summer and lack new leaf production during the second half of
the season. Some would consider them overused."
Warren I. Pollock in
Hosta Journal (2009 Vol. 40 No. 1) quoted
Chamberlain on his introduction, H. 'Academy Brobdingnagian Viridity', "...it's
the largest green hosta from my original cross of (H. 'Sieboldiana' ×
H. montana )
and (H. montana ×
H. 'Sieboldiana'). I've registered only three out of more than
1,000 seedlings I grew to 8-year maturity: H. 'David F. Mahoney' registered in
2002, 'Academy Blue Titan' in 1999 and now 'Academy Brobdingnagian Viridity'...is
a silly way of saying "Big Green"...Brobdingnagian is from Jonathon
Swift's Gulliver's Travels."
An article by W. George Schmid in
Hosta Journal (2009 Vol. 40 No. 3) states that, "Over
the last 40 years I have learned that any plant with
H. 'Sieboldiana' or 'Tokudama'
in its background cannot stand drought."
A Photo Essay article by Steve Chamberlain in
Hosta Journal (2010 Vol. 41 No. 1) makes comments about
H. 'Jack of Diamonds', "Robert Savory registered this
H. 'Sieboldiana' hybrid in
1985. Although smaller in both leaf size and ultimate clump size than 'Frances
Williams', it shows all the desirable qualities of this famous cultivar."