Mark Zilis has been working with hostas for over thirty years as an avid grower, hybridizer and nursery owner. In 2009, he published the most comprehensive book on the genus to date titled, The Hostapedia. In this massive publication, he makes personal observations and comments on around 7,000 thousand hosta species and cultivars.

Taking this amount of information and making sense of it quickly becomes a dizzying problem. So, we at PGC thought it might be helpful to sift through the pages and pull out many of the most highly praised, outstanding hostas according to Mark Zilis' opinion. We call each plant a" Mark Zilis All-Star".

Mark also occasionally found some problems with certain hostas which warranted a negative review. We have called these losers a "Mark Zilis NO-Star".

Of course, Mr PGC agrees with each designation (good or bad) and recommends that all of you serious Hostaphiles buy a copy of The Hostapedia today!!

Cultivar or Species

Mark Zilis'Comments from The Hostapedia

H. 'Asian Pearl' "...another Undulata-type with foliage that emerges white, then turns green by midsummer...In any case, it is another odd cultivar that only a collector could love."
H. 'Blue Freckles' "...gold foliage with green splotches along the veins, symptomatic of Hosta Virus X... NOT RECOMMENDED"
H. 'Break Dance' "...NOT RECOMMENDED...shows symptoms of Hosta Virus X and should be avoided."
H. 'Crispula Lutescens' "...is most likely infected with a virus and should not be grown."
H. 'Crescent Moon' "The main difference between 'Crescent Moon' and 'Lunar Eclipse' is the color of the leaf center, green for 'Cresent Moon' versus gold for 'Lunar Eclipse'. Both are drawstring plants and are not recommended for general gardening purposes."
H. 'Curly Locks' "This may be the most disappointing of all the Lachman introductions...It so lacks in substance that I have yet to see a clump of 'Curly Locks' that was not riddled with slug holes by midsummer, often resulting in a flat, collapsed mound."
H. 'Eternal Father' "...green sectors and splotches caused by Hosta Virus X..."
H. 'Evening Magic' "If the first flush of growth is removed, the second set of leaves will be more attractive. Better yet, don't grow the plant!"
H. 'Exotic Frances Williams' "I first saw this pitiful plant in a collector's garden in the early 1980s...the leaf margin rips and tears as the center expands and grows. Plant 'Exotic Frances Williams' in the back (far back!) of the shaded border."
H. 'Golden Flame' "...has been a colossal failure. It is a very poor grower and certainly is a test for the most ardent collector. 'Ōgon Sagae' apparently is different from this plant and is a much better grower."
H. 'Golden Great Expectations' "This plant should be thought of as more of an experiment than a serious effort to introduce a new cultivar...even if grown under heavy shade, it melts out by the middle of July."
H. 'Golden Samuri' "Unfortunately, it develops spring desiccation burn and is, therefore, not recommended."
H. 'Golden Sunburst' "This is the much maligned gold-leaved sport out of 'Frances Williams' with the unfortunate habit of developing heavy amounts of spring desiccation burn. It has many great qualities (substance, flowers, large size), bit it can become so badly burned in spring, that it is not recommended  for general garden usage."
H. 'Great River Sonata' "This plant represents an embarrassing mistake from my nursery. In the mid-1990's, we found a white-margined plant in a flat of 96 'Moonlight Sonata' liners in our greenhouse...About a year later, it became apparent to me and a few other host collectors that 'Great River Sonata' was not a sport of 'Moonlight Sonata' but 'Sagae' itself. Mea culpa!!"
H. 'Ground Master' "...reached its peak of popularity during the 1980s...These days few nurseries offer it for sale and most collectors do not bother growing it."
H. 'Hadspen Pink' "...ranks near the bottom of the Tardianas in that the foliage is not especially blue and the flowers are nothing special."
H. 'Knockout' "...makes an attractive, creamy-margined mound of foliage as an immature, juvenile plant. With age, however, the leaf margin tends to "drop out", leaving an unsightly sawtooth edge. Avoid this cultivar."
H. 'Lakeside Shadows' "This may be the one "Lakeside" that does not appeal to me. Its splotchy green foliage has a virusy look and does not add ornamental value to the garden. Skip this one."

H. 'Leopard Frog' "This cultivar is infected with Hosta Virus X, which causes the green splotchiness in the foliage...DO NOT GROW"
H. 'Lunacy' "...We know now that 'Lunacy' is infected with Hosta Virus X and was one of the first "cultivars" named for this trait...symptoms vary from plant to plant...If you own a plant of 'Lunacy', please destroy it."
H. 'Lunar Eclipse' "When I found the first sport out of 'August Moon' in the early 1980s, I was quite excited...Then, after naming, registering and marketing the plant for a few years, it became evident that, with maturity, the margins developed the dreaded "drawstring" effect. In fact, that term was introduced to "hostadom" to describe what was happening to 'Lunar Eclipse'."
H. 'Moon Shadow' "...develop spots that can occupy anywhere from a small portion to a majority of the leaf surface...the spots mar the beauty of 'Moon Shadow', making its widespread usage debatable."
H. 'Mostly Ghostly' "...emerges whitish in the spring, then slowly turns green. Like the others in this class, it has interest only to the ardent hosta collector and is not a good garden plant."
H. 'Nutty Husband' "...develops drawstring effect. By midsummer, the white margin usually tears and turns brown. Another one to avoid."
H. 'Panda Bear' "Like other plants infected with Hosta Virus X, 'Panda Bear' has a kind of exotic beauty. Still, it should not be propagated or cultivated to avoid bringing a source of this virus into your garden."
H. 'Pooh Bear' "I cannot recommend this cultivar for landscaping purposes...it does not have a fast growth rate. Even worse is the fact that the gold leaf center develops a significant amount of spring desiccation burn. There are better choices."
H. 'Retread' "...undergoes numerous color changes throughout the growing season...makes a poor garden plant and should be treated as a curiosity."
H. 'Sea Yellow Sunrise' "I consider this one of Mildred Seaver's "lesser" introductions."
H. 'Snow Cap' "...difficult to grow; margins often tear (not draw stringing); smaller than 'Northern Halo'; not recommended."
H. 'Something Good' "...has also been sold as 'Sumthing Good' and 'Sum Thing Good'...it's not, or at least all of the plants I've seen are not...good. The variegation is difficult to discern, even from a close distance and is not worth the ample amount of space that it needs in the garden."
H. 'Spotted Janet' , "...same as 'Janet' except for dark green dots and splotches due to an infection with Hosta Virus X..."
H. 'Walden' "This virus-infected cultivar can still be found in some gardens, though few collectors will admit having it. To some it is beautiful, though I think quite the opposite...If you somehow have a specimen, destroy it."
H. 'Watercolours'
aka 'Kiwi Watercolours'
"...another cultivar named as a result of its infection with Hosta Virus X...Like all other infected cultivars, it should not be grown as it poses a potential risk to any nursery or hosta collection."
H. 'White Shoulders' "Unfortunately, it has been a failure as a garden plant because the margins disappear with a few years of planting."
H. 'Winning Edge' "Unfortunately, it often drawstrings, tearing along the margin. For that reason, I do not recommend growing this cultivar. If you do own it, cutting off the first flush of foliage will produce a second set of leaves that should not exhibit the drawstring problem."

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