Hosta 'Dorset Blue'

This Tardiana-type (H. 'Tardiflora' × H. 'Elegans') blue-green hosta was registered by Paul Aden of New York on behalf of British hybridizer, Eric Smith in 1977. The small size (10 inches high by 24 inches wide) mound of slug resistant foliage has a very slow growth rate and very pale lavender flowers in August. This cultivar is part of the "Dorset Series" of hostas.

The Hosta Handbook by Mark Zilis (2000) says "Herb Benedict utilized it in developing such hostas as 'Blue Ice' and 'Blue Chip'."

The Hostapedia by Mark Zilis (2009) states that this cultivar "...ranks as one of the smallest of Eric Smith's Tardianas...has also proven to be an excellent breeding plant...Its only negative is an extremely slow growth rate, but that should not stop anyone from including it in their collection."

From the Field Guide to Hostas by Mark Zilis (2014), "...the best small, blue-leaved cultivar, despite being registered 36 years ago...remains a favorite of hybridizers."

The New Encyclopedia of Hostas by Diana Grenfell (2009) states: "Much used in breeding for small, blue-leaved hostas. The attractive silver overlay on the leaves makes this small member of the Tardiana Group a must-have for collectors of the bluest-leaved hostas."

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 the Tardiana Group.

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1985 Vol. 16) states that, "In a November 11, 1976 letter, Smith stated that 'Blue Lagoon' is his provisional name for the H. x tardiana numbered TF2x4. In 1977, however, the name 'Dorset Blue' was officially registered this hosta on behalf of Eric Smith by Paul Aden. .."

An article by Warren I. Pollock in The Hosta Journal (1993 Vol. 24 No. 1) states that H. ‘Dorset Blue’ (TF 2x4) is sometimes confused with ‘Blue Moon’ and vice versa. Many CCs (cognoscenti of connoisseurs) favor it over ‘Blue Moon’, saying it is Smith’s best small-mounded Tardiana…’Dorset Blue’ is reported to be faster growing, have somewhat larger leaves, have deeper blue coloring in some gardens and hold the blue for a longer time, such as well into August.”

The Hosta Journal (1993 Vol. 24 No. 2) contained an article by Dr Bob Olson regarding a visit he and others made to the garden of Dr Ralph (Herb) Benedict. "We spent the afternoon looking at the end result of his marvelous hybridization scheme. Dr. Benedict would recite the perfect logic by which such crosses were conceived and executed. Tardianas to the F-6 generation were created by crossing the most fertile of one hundred 'Dorset Blue's with their most fertile offspring. He ended up creating more new Tardianas than Eric Smith had done. (Smith was thwarted at the F-3 generation when he ran into relatively sterile plants.) The blues Dr. Benedict chose to name are all rather small and very blue indeed. In order of decreasing size: 'Blue Jay', 'Blue Ice', 'Blue Chip', and the smallest of the lot 'Blue Urchin'...Somehow in his crosses he came up with a pure Tardiana hybrid which is streaked and splashed - and give variegated seedlings (often fifty percent or more)...he produced a 'Dorothy Benedict'-like-Tardiana, 'Dorset Clown'. The possibilities of this plant ignited our imaginations: can you envision a whole series of variegated Tardiana offspring?"

An article  by C.H. Falstad about the stability of colors in hosta leaves in The Hosta Journal (2006 Vol. 37 No. 1) says, "Other plants tend not to sport often. Take for example 'Dorset Blue'...In the tens of thousands of plants propagated at Walters Gardens, I have seen only one sport in our stock."

A Photo Essay article by Steve Chamberlain in The Hostta Journal (2010 Vol. 41 No. 1) makes comments about H. 'Wolverine', "Jim Wilkins registered this sport of a 'Dorset Blue' seedling in 1995. In the spring, there is beautiful contrast between the blue center and the creamy white margin. As the wax washes off, the center becomes a solid green."


"I can't believe this one isn't on the list already. In fact, it's one I nearly passed over, assuming it was already listed. Not only do the small, cupped leaves have some of the best intense blue of any blue hostas I grow, but it keeps the blue longer than any other. The flower scapes only reach a maximum of eight inches for me, putting them in excellent proportion to the tidy, low-growing mound. This beauty can be obtained from nearly every hosta mail-order source, running between $15.00 to $20.00."

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