Hosta 'Empress Wu'


Family: Liliaceae (lil-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Hosta (HOSS-tuh) (Info)
Cultivar: Empress Wu
Additional cultivar information:(PP20774)
Hybridized by Skaggs
Registered or introduced: 2008
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Plant Size (check one):

Giant (leaf >144 square inches; plant >28 tall)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade

Partial to Full Shade

Full Shade

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Growing Habit:


Growth Rate:


Leaf Shape:

Broadly Ovate

Leaf Appearance:


Degree to which the appearance is present:


Leaf Texture (top):

Slightly Shiny

Leaf Texture (bottom):

Glaucous Bloom

Leaf Substance:

1 (Thick)

Leaf Color:

Dark Green

Color of Leaf Margin:

No margin

Number of Vein Pairs:

16 to 18

Appearance of Margin:

Flat/Nearly Flat

Margin Width:

No margin

Bloom Time:


Flower Shape:


Flower Fragrance:

No fragrance

Does it set seed?:

Yes; seed is viable

Bloom Color:

Pale Lavender

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Marietta, Georgia

Barrington, Illinois

Peoria, Illinois

Quincy, Illinois

Roscoe, Illinois

Bloomfield, Iowa

Ijamsville, Maryland

Middleton, Massachusetts

Sandwich, Massachusetts

East Tawas, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan(2 reports)

Holland, Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Plainwell, Michigan

Redford, Michigan

Royal Oak, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Vale, North Carolina

North Ridgeville, Ohio

Williamsburg, Ohio

Plano, Texas

Sandy, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Vienna, Virginia

Ellsworth, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 19, 2019, goedric from Newaygo, MI wrote:

So far (3 years) very very unimpressed. I purchased a dozen from multiple sources and have planted them in multiple locations... they are still tiny. Leaves are weak and the plant falls over. I have some next to Sum and Substance as well as Blue Angel (as well as several other varieties) and this is the only hosta that is under-performing. I left 3 in gallon pots through the winter along with other varieties... the winter was bad (zone 5 but temps were more like zone 4). Of the 20 hostas I left i pots... 3 died... all 3 were Empress Wu (Proven Winners, Shadowland Empress Wu to be specific). None of the Empress Wu in pots made it through the winter. I am about ready to yank all these embarrassing hostas... 1 more year... hoping they are doing something underground


On Oct 27, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

One of the largest of all hostas, this gets truly massive with maturity. That can take five years or more.


On Aug 1, 2016, Roziz from Ottawa,
Canada wrote:

My Empress Wu started with a stub, planted in the shade of a rose bush; now it is four feet high and wide, has grown out of the shade and takes full sun for a third of the day with no burning. It has smaller hostas thriving underneath its shade casting 'branches'. Very architectural and works in a difficult spot - an odd mix of shade and full sun.


On Jun 22, 2014, donobcd from North Ridgeville, OH wrote:

bought mine from paradise gardens 3 yrs ago and has doubled in size every yr ... nice size now , but next yr should be something


On Jul 6, 2012, Prunerman from Middleton, MA wrote:

In Sept, 2010 I split a mail ordered Empress Wu into two plants and planted them in a shady area alongside my driveway. They have maintained steady but slow growth to date.


On Feb 29, 2012, marywalters from Holland, MI wrote:

There is a handy saying that truly applies to Hostas - especially large one like Empress Wu - Sleep, Creep, Leap - 1st year they put on roots, 2nd year they are a bit bigger. By the 3rd year, they start to strut their stuff! Empress Wu is well worth the wait.

The first time I saw Empress Wu in a landscape (Skaggs), it was a hot day and a medium size dog had found just the right cool spot beneath a towering 4 foot Wu leaf. I knew I just had to have this plant.

To give your large leaf Hosta an extra boost, prepare your planting area creating a hill of composted manure.

This will help two fold. First, it gives a little extra height to begin with, and second, the plant will love you for the extra nutrition.


On Aug 11, 2011, dahlia10 from Ottawa,
Canada wrote:

I'm impressed with the Empress! I bougth this little 2 leaves plant this spring.Now it has 12 big leaves and has almost the same size as my 2 year Sum and Substance!
I watered it every day for the first 2 months and mulched it.So far so good! Nice healthy plant with no slug dammage.


On Jul 4, 2011, mkcarter66 from Redford, MI wrote:

2nd year with this hosta and it is doubled in size. Doing great in full shade.


On Jun 4, 2011, Joe904 from Kalamazoo, MI wrote:

I purchased two Empress Wu at an end of season sale last year in 1 gal containers. They came up and have been growing quickly this year - each has 8-10 large leaves and the plants are now about 24" high and 30-36" across. They are planted in full shade in my woodland garden. So far I am extremely happy with their performance.


On Oct 8, 2010, lillian215 from Quincy, IL wrote:

My Empress Wu was planted two years ago and is still very small with only 2 leaves, but it seemed to "bolt" in the center this year with a couple new leaves and then stopped and was so weak it fell over. It never did bloom. My soil is the best and all my other hostas were on "steriods" this year. Does anyone know what is wrong?


On Jul 13, 2010, mothermole from Deer Park, IL (Zone 5b) wrote:

I have had this plant since the introduction in 2008. My experience differs from what is listed here at Daves. My plant is very, VERY slow growing. I thought that by this year (2010) it would pick up speed in growing but it hasn't even doubled in width and nothing in height. I am hoping that next year will be the year for some major growth!