Aphrodite and August Lilies

“I’m very angry with you.  Your post was VERY misleading. ‘Aphrodite’ is NOT called August Lily … H. plantaginea, the original is the “August Lily”. I have both and are NOT the same at all.   H. plantaginea, a top hosta for hybridizing:
H. plantaginea, often known as “August lily.”, was brought from China to England in the 1790’s, and later to the U.S. Because of the excellent traits of H. plantaginea, including a large fragrant bloom, heat and humidity tolerance, beautiful form, “reflushing” of foliage, vigorous growth and leaf sheen, H. plantaginea has long been a popular plant in hybridizing. In addition, many nice “sports” come from H. plantaginea and its offspring.

H. ‘Aphrodite’H. plantaginea ‘Aphrodite’, often called just H. ‘Aphrodite’, is a spectacular double blooming, fragrant hosta which comes from H. plantaginea. It needs moist soil, warm days, cool nights and sun in order to bloom. It is a sport of plantaginea that occurred in nature. Get it right!

Angry in Appleton”


Thank you for your email regarding Aphrodite Hosta, a cultivar of August Lily.  I guess I’m a bit confused — I haven’t posted anything on Aphrodite Hostas or August Lilies.  Do you have my blog mixed up with a different website?

Either way, I have a feeling that you are misinterpreting the information included in your email and assuming that both of your plants should look the same.

Many of our grandparents grew up what has become known as the old fashioned “August lily”. The scientific name of the August Lily was Hosta plantaginea and was first imported to England from China in 1790, and to the United States afterwards.  The is a heat loving species (more so than other hostas).  The flowers are 6+ inches long and pure white, as compared to 1-2″ long and purple for most hostas and had flowers that opened later in the day.

However, as with all things in the plant world, the traditional August Lily has been bred and propagated into having multiple cultivars that are very similar to the original. Currently, there are 56 registered and 7 unregistered hosta cultivars with fragrant flowers. Of these, only 31 are available commercially, as the remainder turned out to be poor garden specimens.  They are as follows:

* – denotes Commercially Available Varieties or Good Garden Specimens

*Honeybells/Cumming 1950/(H. plantaginea x H. sieboldii)
*Sweet Susan/F. Williams 1958/(H. plantaginea x H. sieboldii)
*Royal Standard/Wayside 1965/(H. plantaginea hybrid)
Iron Gate Supreme/V. Sellers 1981/(H. plantaginea x H. ‘Tokudama
*Iron Gate Delight/V. Sellers 1981/(H. plantaginea x H. ‘Tokudama
*Iron Gate Glamour/V. Sellers 1981/(H. plantaginea x H. ‘Tokudama
*Fragrant Bouquet/ P. Aden 1982/ (H. ‘Fascination’ x H. ‘Summer Fragrance’)
Fragrant Candelabra /P. Aden 1982/ (H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ hybrid)
Fragrant Gold/P. Aden 1982/ (H. ‘Sum and Substance’ hybrid)
Fragrant Tot/P. Aden 1982/(H. ‘Amy Aden’ hybrid)
Garden Bouquet/V. Sellers 1983/ (H. ‘Iron Gate Bouquet’ mutation)
Iron Gate Bouquet/V. Sellers 1983 (H. plantaginea hybrid)
Shalimar/P. Aden 1983/ (H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ x H. ‘Fragrant Candelabra’)
Sweet Marjorie/H. Benedict 1983 (H. plantaginea x H. ‘Ginko Craig’)
*Summer Fragrance/K. Vaughn 1983 (H. plantaginea x H. Vaughn 73-2)
*Buckwheat Honey/H. Benedict 1984/(H. plantaginea x H. ‘Ginko Craig’)
*Sugar and Cream/M. Zilis 1984/(H. ‘Honeybells’ mutation)
Sweet Standard/M. Zilis 1984/(H. ‘Honeybells’ mutation)
Sweet Winifred/H. Benedict 1984/ (H. plantaginea hybrid)
Curley Top/H. Benedict 1985/ (H. ‘Ginko Craig’ x H. plantaginea)
*Invincible/P. Aden 1986/ (H. Aden 314 x Aden 802)
Royal Accolade/ B. Zumbar 1986/ (H. ‘Royal Standard’ mutation)
*So Sweet/ P. Aden 1986/ (H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ x Aden #462)
*Sweet Jill/H. Benedict 1986/(H. plantaginea x H. ‘Tokudama’ hybrid
Abiqua Ambrosia/Walden West 1987/(H. ?)
Betty Davis Eyes/K. Vaughn 1987/(H. ‘Summer Fragrance’ x H. ‘Christmas
*Emily Dickinson/E. Lachman 1987/(H. ‘Neat Splash’ hybrid x H. plantaginea)
Flower Power/K. Vaughn 1987/ (H. nigrescens x H. plantaginea)
Green Marmalade/ C. Owens 1987/ (H. ‘Neat Splash’ x H. plantaginea)
Showtime/P. Aden 1987/ (H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ x H. ‘Fragrant Candelabra’)
*Fragrant Blue/P. Aden 1988/ (H. 8413 x H. 8270)
Fragrant Flame/M. Zilis 1988/(H. plantaginea mutation)
Heaven Scent PPAF/Walters 1988/ (H. plantaginea mutation)
Marbled Bouquet/ C. Falstad 1988/(H. plantaginea mutation)
*Sweetie/ P. Aden 1988/ (H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ x ‘Fragrant Candelabra’)
Whipped Cream/M. Zilis 1988/ (H. ‘Honeybells’ mutation)
White Shoulders PPAF/Walters 1988/ (H. plantaginea mutation)
*Bennie McRae/N. Suggs 1989/ (H. plantaginea hybrid)
Chelsea Ore/Compton-Chelsea Physic Garden 1989/(H. plantaginea mutation)
Abba Fragrant Cloud/P. Aden 1990/ (H. Aden 80F3 x H. Aden 78F5)
Sweet Serenity/M. Zilis 1990/ (H. ‘Sweet Susan’ mutation)
*Old Faithful/O. Petryszyn 1991/(H. plantaginea x H. ‘Old Faithful’)
*Sombrero/ B. Savory 1991/(H. ‘Honeybells’ hybrid)
*Austin Dickinson/E. Lachman 1992/ (H. ‘Resonance’ x H. plantaginea)
Venus/C. Falstad 1993/ (H. plantaginea ‘Aphrodite’ mutation)
*Warwick Essence/ G. Jones 1993/ (H. ‘Northern Halo’ x H. plantaginea)
*Fried Bananas/ B. Solberg 1994/ (H. ‘Guacamole’ mutation)
*Guacamole / B. Solberg 1994/ (H. ‘Fragrant Bouquet’ mutation)
Seventh Heaven/ J. Kulpa 1994/ (H. ‘Kevin Vaughn’ x H. plantaginea)
*Fried Green Tomatoes/ B. Solberg 1995/ (H. ‘Guacamole’ mutation)
*Hoosier Harmony/ Indiana Hosta Society 1995/ (H. ‘Royal Standard’ mutation)
*Mistress Mabel/ E. Lachman 1995/ (H. ‘Beatrice’ F6 x H. ‘Blue Moon’) x H.
*Sugar Babe/ B. Solberg 1996/ (H. ‘Iron Gate Supreme’ x H. ‘Saishu Jima’)
* Diana Remembered / J. Kulpa 1997/ (H. ‘Seventh Heaven’ mutation)
Heavenly Green/ J. Kulpa 1997/ (H. ‘Seventh Heaven’ mutation)
*Sweet Sunshine/ B. Solberg 1997/ (H. ‘Sweet Susan x H. ‘Tokudama

Not Registered

*Aphrodite/ Japan NR/ (H. plantaginea mutation)
*Iron Gate Special/ V. Sellers/ (H. ‘Iron Gate Supreme’ mutation)
*Ming Treasure/ M. Zilis/ (H. plantaginea mutation)
Otome No Ka/Japan NR/(H. ?)
Paul Aden/Aden NR/(H. ‘Fragrant Candelabra’ hybrid)
Prairieland Memories/M. Zilis NR (H. ‘Honeybells’ mutation)
Royal Super/ NR/ (H. ‘Royal Standard’ mutation)

The other plant  that you have in your garden is most likely one of the other 30 cultivars of August Lily that are available today.  If you purchased it as an August Lily, then the company you purchased it from was likely not doing the part to sell it correctly as the cultivar that it truly was.  Usually, when companies do this, it is because there are multiple cultivars that they are using for the item, depending on availability at the time and cost.

As for Aphrodite, it is one of the many types of August lily that is out on the market.  However, it should not be referred to as an “August Lily”, but as “a type of August lily”.  Buying an “August Lily” is when you are buying the old fashioned, true blue August Lily, but buying a Aphrodite is buying a August lily.  (Note the capitalization)

I apologize for any stress this has caused you, but again, have never posted anything on my blog in regards to this species.




© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


17 thoughts on “Aphrodite and August Lilies

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  2. You are wrong. It is not the same thing. Aphrodite hostas are not the same thing as an August Lily! I don’t care how many scientific names you throw around, they are not the same. You are a liar!

    • Dear Angry,

      I’m sorry that you don’t believe the information I posted, and I’m sorry that you feel I led you astray with the first post that you referred to in your email… that I didn’t write or post. If you do not believe the information I wrote, then allow me to give you my references for the article I wrote:

      USDA — http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=HOPL2
      The Society of Flora of America Website: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=200027694

      If you are still not satisfied, I’m sure there are a number of folks with the USDA, the Society of Flora of America, or plant taxonomists at the university nearest you that has a biology, botany, or horticulture program that would be more than willing to educate you on the details I have written here.

  3. Aphrodite hostas are NOT the same thing as an August Lily. I too have them both. I recently read that Aphrodite hostas are a mutation of the August Lily. This is an acceptable explaination. I too have had harsh words with Jung over this same issue. It seems outragious that these places don’t know the difference when it’s so obvious when you have them in your garden. Have they NEVER seen these hosta in bloom? Aphrodite are DOUBLE and August Lily are huge SINGLE blooms. I prefer the simgle blooms of the August Lily. Thank you.

    • Thanks for commenting. August Lilies and Aphrodites are not the same thing… sort of. Aphrodite is a mutated form of the August Lily.

      Essentially, you can think of it like this: About a year ago there was an episode on 20/20 where a African American couple had a child that was albino. The child looked like he was African American also in terms of hair texture, facial structure, etc., but his pigmentation was pale. Because of the mutation, he was the same as his parents, but yet not quite the same.

      In our case, Aphrodites are like the mutated child of August Lilies. While, technically, they are a type of August lily (note the capitalization), they should not be called an “August Lily” (note the capitalization) or have their name used interchangeably with August Lily.

      As for Jung’s… *sigh*.

    • I to have had a number of problems with Jungs and their many companies, it seems like when the owner was alive the quality was good, but now that they are so many different companies they can’t get anything right. We usually make the mistake of buying from them because there are three locations (Sun Prairie and the two in Madison) so very close to us (we live in McFarland) and my husband likes to pick out is bare root plants for the orchard, so we’ve gotten screwed over many times on the fruits. You put all the effort into raising something, find out that it is wrong, call them up and go through their litany of “are you sure” and then only get the purchase price back. What I really like is that last year I bought a Tu-Toned Dahlia offer with nine different dahlias and all I got was 5 that were just plain pink, 2 red, a purple, and a yellow, no bicolors, nothing. What a waste!

  4. Jung’s is wrong on it along with a lot of other things. Like how they sell invasive bittersweet and smoke trees, but play dumb when you tell them that.

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