After reading all the hype about it, I decided I needed to add "Empress Wu" to my garden. By now I should be wary (see my post regarding "Jurassic Park" http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/868583/), but I'm an eternal optimist, so I tried a couple online nurseries I usually buy from, but no luck. Everyone else seems to have had the same idea, and they were sold out.
That made me even MORE determined to have the Empress, so I Googled her and found a seller who still had stock. A little pricey, but I've paid more, and I could have her THIS SPRING, so I ordered two. After a 2-3 week wait, yesterday my "Empress Wu" arrived. Instead of two plants, the seller sent four 1" plugs with the Empress growing from them. As you can see, they are TINY. Let's hope she's a rapid grower!
I planted a teeny-tiny EW in 2008. This is the first year I can say that it might have that giant potential - FINALLY! I finally have many crowns and the leaves are HUGE. It's planted next to a huge pine tree. Yesterday I noticed that something has munched off the tops off some of the leaves in the center. It must have been a deer because nothing else could just reach up that and just eat out of the center. I have never had deer so close to the house - but this deer must have been in the shelter of the pine tree (it's one of those kinds of pines with the droopy branches that makes it possible to be under it and be sheltered - I have my potting bench under there)...I think he/she just popped his/her head out and had a bit of snack. I hope it doesn't happen again... Sorry for wandering a bit with the story. Anyway, the moral is - it will get big - but it takes a few years. I will try to post a before and after picture this weekend.
Bellie: Here is a picture of the "crunch and munch" damage to my Wu. Unfortunately we do have squirrels (and they drive me insane)...
Leewood: This picture is from this year. I will post its first year photo (the only one I could find) next. I was wrong about the year that I got it. That picture is from early June 2007... I was taking pictures of the hostas that I didn't know the names of - so it's not a great picture of "the Wu" (as my DH calls her)... but you can see how she has grown.
Just wondering, beaux, whether that tree with the droopy branches is a spruce and not a pine. The reason that I'm asking is that the branches in your picture resemble the three spruces under which I planted a hosta/shade garden. I have found (too late) that these spruce trees have very fine shallow roots that are competing with my hostas. I planted my 'Great Expectations' in 2007 and it is nowhere the size of your variegated hosta in your picture # 2 - it has only 2 eyes after approximately 3 years. Your hosta seems to have grown much better than mine. If I'm correct and your tree is the same spruce as mine, what are you doing to combat the competition from the tree roots? Also, Leawood's ' Empress Wu' would probably grow much faster without root competition. I hope you see all its glory, Lea.
Hi Irawon: I call those trees "pines" - but they are really fir trees. There are huge and have been there for a very long time (probably > 50 years). Because we were worried about root competition, we built the beds around them up and with a ton of mushroom soil mixed in. It's not hard to dig, so I don't think the roots are very shallow (like around my maples) - and I have other hostas and other plants in the general vacinity that have grown like gang busters. I think EW is just slow to take off, but once it does, you can be sure it will be an impressive size. I can't wait until next year!
Well, my four "Wu" plugs spent the winter in pots, submerged in an annual bed. When they emerged this spring, they had several leaves. I decided it was time to plant them in the 'Giants' garden, so today I sunk three of the four in the bed. The fourth was so small, I decided to leave it in the pot to grow a little.
Here's how they look today. I'll update when (and if) they live up to their PR.
Leawood -- I was at my local landscape place last August for their 'end of season' sale... I was shocked to see Empress WU, so i snagged the last one. It had 2 eyes, and it was buy one get one... so i got it for $5.50 ... smokin' deal.
I think mine has some frost burn -- but the leaves are big. I'll try to get an image soon.
If any of you are in Southwestern Michigan, Nelson's Herb Gardens in Edwardsburg, Mi have the Princess Wu, 2 and 3 year old plants about $20.00-25.00. Really nice size, I'm getting mine this week.
We tried to grown hostas under Blue Spruce, too much competition from the trees, moved them in the past two weeks , to a shade garden by the house. they are growing like crazy. My DH has a hosta thing, so far 54 and counting...