Looking for an impressive and unusual specimen? This tribute to the only female emperor in Chinese history certainly fits the bill. One of the largest Hostas available, dark green 'Empress Wu' matures to a height of 4ft in about five years. Flower scapes with light lavender blooms stick their noses just above the foliage. PP 20,774
This genus of shade lovers has 70 species, all of them from China and Japan, and hybridizers have produced hundreds of exciting crosses. Hostas have many handsome leaf colorations and lavender or white Lily-like flowers on graceful stalks. Plants prefer a moist location, but we've had a mass planting thrive for more than 30 years under a row of Sugar Maples. (In the South and West, evenly moist soil is required.) Because Hostas are grown primarily for their foliage, the figure next to "ht" is the height of the leaves, not the flowers.