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".

Of course, Mr PGC agrees with each designation and recommends that all of you serious hostaphiles buy a copy of The Hostapedia today!!

Note: In the spirit of fair play, we have also compiled a list (much shorter) of Mark Zilis NO-Star hostas.

  1. 'Abba Dabba Do'
  2. 'Aksarban'
  3. 'All that Jazz'
  4. 'Am I Blue'
  5. 'August Moon'
  6. 'Aureomarginata' ventricosa
  7. 'Aztec Treasure'
  8. 'Back Bay'
  9. 'Beatrice'
  10. 'Bill Brinka'
  11. 'Birchwood Elegance'
  12. 'Blazing Saddles'
  13. 'Blue Angel'
  14. 'Blue Cadet'
  15. 'Blue Danube'
  16. 'Blue Hawaii'
  17. 'Blue Mammoth'
  18. 'Brother Ronald'
  19. 'Cascades'
  20. 'Choo Choo Train'
  21. 'Corkscrew'
  22. 'Corn Belt'
  23. 'Cutting Edge'
  24. 'Dark Tower'
  25. 'Dawn's Early Light'
  26. 'Deep Blue Sea'
  27. 'Diamond Tiara'
  28. 'Dick Ward'
  29. 'Donahue Piecrust'
  30. 'Eagle's Nest'
  31. 'Eventide'
  32. 'Fascination'
  33. 'Fatal Attraction'
  34. 'Frosted Dimples'
  35. 'Fujibotan'
  36. 'Gay Blade'
  37. 'Ghost Spirit'
  38. 'Gold Regal'
  39. 'Gold Standard'
  40. 'Golden Sculpture'
  41. 'Great Lakes Gold'
  1. 'Green Angel'
  2. 'Green Dragonet'
  3. 'Guacamole'
  4. 'Guardian Angel'
  5. 'Hakumuo'
  6. 'Halcyon'
  7. 'Inniswood'
  8. 'Korean Snow'
  9. 'Krossa Regal'
  10. 'Lake Superior'
  11. 'Lakeside Sir Logan'
  12. 'Lakeside Ring Master'
  13. 'Lemonade'
  14. 'Little Sunspot'
  15. 'Mesa Fringe'
  16. Hosta montana 'Aureomarginata'
  17. Hosta montana f. macrophylla
  18. 'Nutty Professor'
  19. 'Outrageous'
  20. 'Paul's Glory'
  21. 'Patriot'
  22. 'Piedmont Gold'
  23. 'Pineapple Punch'
  24. 'Powder Blue'
  25. 'Robert Frost'
  26. 'Royal Mouse Ears'
  27. 'Shirley Vaughn'
  28. 'Silver Bay'
  29. 'Skylight'
  30. 'Solar Flare'
  31. 'Spotlight'
  32. 'Spring Fling'
  33. 'Stained Glass'
  34. 'Subcrocea'
  35. 'Sugar Babe'
  36. 'Summer Breeze'
  37. 'Super Bowl'
  38. 'Tokudama Aureonebulosa'
  39. 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis'
  40. 'Unforgettable'
  41. 'Wylde Green Cream'
  42. 'Yesterday's Memories'

Cultivar or Species

Mark Zilis'Comments from The Hostapedia

H. 'Abba Dabba Do' "...is the most widely distributed green-centered, gold margined sport of 'Sun Power' in the nursery industry. It makes an outstanding background or specimen plant."
H. 'Aksarban' "Despite being one of the oldest of its category ("heavily corrugated, blue-green H. sieboldiana 'Elegans'Type"), 'Aksarban' still rates as one of the best. Of course, the name "Aksarban" is "Nebraska" spelled backwards."
H. 'All that Jazz' "Viewing this fantastic cultivar in Olga Petryszyn's collection almost took my breath away...a truly elegant clump."
H. 'Am I Blue' "...ranks as an outstanding blue-leaved cultivar with somewhat of an open mound habit."
H. 'August Moon' "...ranks as one of the oldest and most greatly admired of all gold-leaved hostas. Every collector recognizes this plant..."
H. ventricosa 'Aureomarginata' "Just the addition of a creamy margin to Hosta ventricosa created one of the most outstanding hosta cultivars in existence."
H. 'Aztec Treasure' "...certainly ranks as one of the best gold-leaved cultivars ever developed...it produces purple flowers that contrast nicely with the bright gold foliage."
H. 'Back Bay' "Its size, substance, foliage color, and plant form make 'Back Bay' an outstanding choice for any shade garden."
H. 'Beatrice'  "...ranks as one of the most significant hostas ever developed. Early hosta hybridizers used it and its seedlings extensively in their breeding efforts to produce thousands of variegated seedlings."
H. 'Bill Brincka' "...represents a virus-free version of 'Opipara'. Most 'Opipara' specimens in the U.S. were infected with a virus (probably Hosta Virus X) before Bill Brincka imported this clean plant from Japan. By whatever name, the plant is simply magnificent."
H. 'Birchwood Elegance' "...'Birchwood Elegance' is a much-admired plant. Several collectors and nurserymen have indicated to me that this was their favorite hosta. It makes a very large mound of graceful, green foliage that can be used as a background plant."
H. 'Blazing Saddles' "...offers impressive, white-margined foliage, an attractive mound habit, and a vigorous growth rate, making it an ideal choice for landscape usage."
H. 'Blue Angel' "...has become the premier large blue-green hosta cultivar. It can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape, including as a ground cover, in small groups, or as a specimen plant. Though it is not a great breeding plant, it has been the source of many outstanding sports."
H. 'Blue Cadet' "This Paul Aden cultivar can be thought of as the archetype of the "dense, medium-sized mound of heart-shaped, blue-green foliage" class of hostas."
H. 'Blue Danube' "...rich blue foliage and outstanding substance. Its only negative is a fairly slow growth rate, but that should not deter anyone from growing this great hosta."
H. 'Blue Hawaii' "...ranks near, if not at, the top of blue-leaved cultivars for its intensity of color. Added to that is an impressive mound structure and thick foliar substance, making this an outstanding plant for any shade garden."
H. 'Blue Mammoth' "Whenever I'm asked to identify the best big blue-leaved cultivars, 'Blue Mammoth' always comes to mind (with 'Blue Angel')."
H. 'Brother Ronald' "...has always been my favorite Tardiana. It offers an attractive combination of blue foliage and white flowers."
H. 'Cascades' "Simply put, 'Cascades' is stunning. the arching mound of white-centered foliage makes an ornamental impact wherever it is grown."
H. 'Choo Choo Train' "When I first viewed this plant at the 1991 AHS convention in North Carolina, I considered it the best gold-leaved piecrust type ever developed. My opinion has not changed."
H. 'Corkscrew' "...was immediately impressed with its distinctive appearance. The curved, dark green leaves give it a look that cannot be mistaken for any other. It also represents a significant breakthrough in breeding as the first known seedling out of 'Tortifrons' to carry its genes for twisted, contorted foliage."
H. 'Corn Belt' "...should become very popular in the near future. The contrast between the gold center and green margins seems to be accentuated by its rippling."
H. 'Cutting Edge' "Among the many cultivars with rippled margins, 'Cutting Edge' ranks near the top. The way the leaves are folded exposes the white undersides and seems to accentuate the rippled effect. This is a must for any complete hosta collection."
H. 'Dark Tower' "...what a plant! The large-sized mound makes an imposing presence in any shade garden."
H. 'Dawn's Early Light' "Absolutely one of the best cultivars for piecrust margins and corrugation...makes a tremendous gold-leaved specimen plant. The corrugation increases in intensity as it matures."
H. 'Deep Blue Sea' "Maturity brought out the intense corrugation, cupping, good blue color, and plastic like substance that were not evident at an earlier age...Every hosta collector should own 'Deep Blue Sea'."
H. 'Diamond Tiara' Over the years, it has proven to be an outstanding landscape plant and ranks alongside 'Golden Tiara' itself for durability and growth rate."
H. 'Dick Ward' "This is considered to be the best gold-centered Hosta sieboldiana type by many hosta collectors. Unlike the many sports of 'Elegans' and 'Frances Williams', it does not develop spring desiccation burn and makes a magnificent specimen in the shaded garden. It honors a person who has made tremendous contributions to The American Hosta Society over the last twenty-five or so years."
H. 'Donahue Piecrust' "In the garden, it makes a magnificent specimen, but can also be used as a background plant or large ground cover."
H. 'Eagle's Nest' "Include 'Eagle's Nest' in the "gotta have" category of hostas. It differs from 'Sum and Substance' not only in having green-centered foliage, but also in mound and leaf sizes and flowering habit...a relative dwarf when compared to 'Sum and Substance', 'Sum It Up' or 'Sum of All'...less than half the size of a fully grown 'Sum and Substance'."
H. 'Eventide' "Graceful" is the word that comes to mind when I think of this superior Lachman introduction. At maturity it rates highly in both foliage and flowering characteristics."
H. 'Fascination' "As a breeding plant, 'Fascination' ranks as one of the most important cultivars of the last thirty years. Paul Aden, Ed Elslager, Mary Chastain, and others have used it as a pod or pollen parent in developing new variegated varieties."
H. 'Fatal Attraction' "...simply a stunning plant. The foliage colors are vivid and bright. The creamy yellow margins sharply contrast the dark green center."
H. 'Frosted Dimples' "This tremendous cultivar could easily be mistaken for a gold-edged sport of 'Blue Dimples'. With age its corrugation intensifies and the leaf blade broadens."
H. 'Fujibotan' "...'Fujibotan' is a must for any hosta collector. It forms a very attractive mound of clear, deeply veined foliage, and its show of double flowers is simply spectacular...Though it is listed as a  Hosta montana type, it shows evidence of being a hybrid, possibly with Hosta sieboldii..."
H. 'Gay Blade' "...'Gay Blade' may be thought of as "the hosta for all seasons". I've seen 'Gay Blade' growing in a variety of gardens across the U.S. from May to October and it always looks great."
H. 'Ghost Spirit' "...can only be considered a tremendous cultivar, due to its beautiful, misted foliage. It does have a tendency to sport white-centered, green edged leaves."
H. 'Gold Regal' "Though 'Gold Regal' was registered thirty-four years ago, I continue to think of it in the upper echelon of hosta cultivars. It can be used in many ways in the landscape, but is most impressive as a specimen plant."
H. 'Gold Standard' "Based on sports alone, 'Gold Standard' could be thought of as the most significant hosta cultivar ever produced...its outstanding growth rate, seasonal color changes, and symmetrical mound habit make it an excellent subject for just about any situation. It also has great durability and good sun tolerance...Still, no hosta collection is complete without this cultivar..."
H. 'Golden Sculpture' "The vase-shaped mound habit and bright gold leav color make 'Golden Sculpture' an ideal specimen or centerpiece plant in the shaded garden."
H. 'Great Lakes Gold' "...rates as one of the best gold leaved cultivars with piecrust margins."
H. 'Green Angel' "...represents a first among hostas, being the first green-leaved sport out of a blue-leaved hosta. It is identical to 'Blue Angel' in almost every other way, making an impressive, wide-spreading mound of foliage with an outstanding flower performance."
H. 'Green Dragonette' "This massive mound of shiny, green foliage foliage greatly impressed me...It ranks as one of the largest cultivars in existence."
H. 'Guacamole' "...continues to increase in popularity due to its attractive foliage, fragrant flowers, and fast growth rate. In fact, 'Guacamole' and its sports would be an excellent starter collection for those new to hostas."
H. 'Guardian Angel' "This still ranks as one of the best sports developed in the last 20 years. Rick Thompson first told me of this plant in 1993, but my first viewing of it left me awestruck. It makes a spectacular specimen in the shaded landscape and will keep its variegation for much of the season if it receives an hour or two of direct sunlight each day."
H. 'Hakumuo' "This Japanese cultivar is nothing short of spectacular. The sharply contrasting foliage colors, excellent flowers, and good growth rate make this hosta worth including in your collection."
H. 'Halcyon' "If you are limited to only one Tardiana by law, or for that matter, one blue-leaved hosta, then 'Halcyon' should be your choice. It probably best exemplifies what Eric Smith was after when he hybridized 'Tardiflora' with Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans', i.e. fast growing, medium-sized, blue-leaved hostas...a great source of sports and is a superior breeding plant...I have always thought that if someone wanted to develop an evergreen hosta, they should start with 'Halcyon'."
H. 'Inniswood' "...is greatly admired for its colorful foliage, intense variegation, and good substance. It should be part of every hosta collection."
H. 'Korean Snow' "The misted and flecked, green and white foliage color lasts for the first half of the growing season, yielding to an attractive shiny green by midsummer. The purple flowers are typical of Hosta yingeri and are produced in great profusion in late summer. Simply stated, this is a spectacular plant."
H. 'Krossa Regal' "...has become a hosta "classic" for many reasons. The large-sized, vase-shaped mound of frosty blue foliage is slug resistant and makes the perfect centerpiece plant for almost any garden."
H. 'Lake Superior'  "...a tremendous hosta...its flower performance alone makes it worth growing...one of the rare originations from Mary Chastain not bearing the "Lakeside" designation."
H. 'Lakeside Sir Logan' "No doubt this has Hosta yingeri in its background, based on its flowers and the appearance of its foliage. It's one of those unusual hostas that you can't stop looking at. The super-shiny, dark green leaves belie the notion that green-leaved plants can't be exciting."
H. 'Lakeside Ring Master' "...may be one of Mary Chastain's best."
H. 'Lemonade' "...has never achieved the popularity it deserves...an outstanding medium-sized gold cultivar and makes an excellent contrast to blue-leaved hostas."
H. 'Little Sunspot' "...sensational"
H. 'Mesa Fringe' "...should be considered one of the best piecrust type hosta cultivars every introduced."
H. montana 'Aureomarginata' "...ranks near the top of any hosta list due to its brightly colored foliage, large size, and attractive flowers. In the landscape it makes an impact and can become a focal point if sited properly."
H. montana f. macrophylla "Of all the green-leaved Hosta montana forms,...macrophylla is most distinctive. The arching, spreading mound...can both physically and mentally dominate a shade garden."
H. 'Nutty Professor' "...in 2002 when I was shown a picture of a mature specimen. Wow! I had never seen anything like it...it exhibits typical Hosta hypoleuca foliage (except color), mound, and flowering characteristics."
H. 'Outrageous' "Over the last twenty-five years or so, very few hostas have impressed me as much as the Benedicts' specimen of 'Outrageous'...The variegation pattern varied considerably from leaf to leaf, but I think that only added to its character. I'm not sure if I'll ever see another mature clump of 'Outrageous', but the memory of the Benedicts' plant will remain with me for many years to come."
H. 'Paul's Glory' "Any list of "classic" hosta cultivars must include Paul's Glory'. In the garden it makes a tremendous specimen plant and offers a significant improvement on 'Gold Standard' by its greater slug resistance. Its good growth rate, attractive variegation, and large size make it useful for many purposes in the landscape."
H. 'Patriot' "...ranks as the first recognized tetraploid hosta sport...it has become the most popular white-margined hosta for landscaping purposes."
H. 'Piedmont Gold' "...ranks as one of the premier large, gold leaved hosta cultivars...does not develop the spring desiccation burn that afflicts other golden Hosta sieboldiana types."
H. 'Pineapple Punch' "When I first viewed this plant during the 2005 "First Look" seedling and sport competition, I was enthralled with it. Competition judges voted it the best sport at that meeting, and deservedly so! The beautiful creamy margins accentuate its rippled effect, making for a spectacular plant."
H. 'Powder Blue' "This cultivar holds true to its name with its intensely blue foliage color. Also great are its substance, corrugation, and large mound size."
H. 'Robert Frost' "A truly impressive plant for its large mound of foliage with very wide, creamy white borders, 'Robert Frost' is another fine Wm & Eleanor Lachman introduction."
H. 'Royal Mouse Ears' "...may be the best small-sized streaked cultivar. It would look great in a trough in combination with 'Blue Mouse Ears' or 'Green Mouse Ears."
H. 'Shirley Vaughn' "Kevin Vaughn named this superior cultivar for his mother. Not only does it offer attractively variegated foliage, but it has a fast growth rate, an interesting flower habit, and good durability in the garden. It certainly belongs on any list of the top 100 hostas."
H. 'Silver Bay' "The intensity of blue coloration in 'Silver Bay' is quite impressive. Add to that intense corrugation, an unruly nature, and thick substance and you have a cultivar that should rank near the top of any list of best blue hostas. Thank you Don Dean for developing this plant!."
H. 'Skylight' "My listed measurements from a less-than-mature specimen are already larger than the registration dimensions. Regardless of size, 'Skylight' offers very thick, slug resistant foliage in an incredibly blue color and is worth including in any collection."
H. 'Solar Flare' "Given good conditions, 'Solar Flare' becomes a magnificent, mammoth-sized plant that can be the focal point of any shaded landscape. By now it should be gracing every shade garden, certainly every host collection, but that is not the case. After Henry Ross was granted the patent for 'Solar Flare' in 1989, a few companies were granted permission to market it. When they stopped offering it, 'Solar Flare' became a rare find...In 2006 my nursery (Q&Z Nursery, Inc.) began offering it to the wholesale market and it's once again available."
H. 'Spotlight' "Its semi-upright mound habit and bright gold color makes 'Spotlight' an ideal specimen plant in the shade garden. The foliage color intensifies with some direct sunlight, sometimes lightening to whitish gold. The only negative is that the scapes tend to droop, but if they become unsightly, they can be easily removed."
H. 'Spring Fling' "...certainly is one of the best hosta introductions of the last decade. Its white margin sharply contrasts the green center and its effect is enhanced by the intense, regular rippling."
H. 'Stained Glass' "This incredible plant improves on 'Guacamole', its mother plant, by a much brighter gold center. Its overall size is smaller and the growth rate a bit slower, but that only matters when comparing the two. At its peak in midsummer, the bright gold leaf center of 'Stained Glass' outshines just about any other hosts cultivar making it an ideal choice as a specimen plant (surround it with 'Guacamole'?)."
H. 'Subcrocea' "No collection would be complete without this plant. As I observe hostas, I often use 'Subcrocea' as a standard for comparison purposes."
H. 'Sugar Babe' "...combines the variegation of 'Iron Gate Supreme' with the leaf characteristics and mound habits of 'Saishu Jima'. Add fragrant flowers to that and the result is a superior cultivar that should be more widely grown."
H. 'Summer Breeze' "...one of the best sports developed at my nursery over the last twenty-five years...margin remains an attractive gold color throughout the growing season."
H. 'Super Bowl' "I'm not sure if Paul Aden ever appreciated the value of this outstanding cultivar...one of the best cupped hosta cultivars, it is beautifully corrugated, thick-substanced, and attractive in flower."
H. 'Tokudama Aureonebulosa' "What a plant! Despite its slow growth rate, 'Tokudama Aureonebulosa' ranks highly for its interesting, multi-colored foliage that is also very slug resistant."
H. 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' "...ranks highly amongst all hosta cultivars and is considered a classic. It makes a great specimen plant or ground cover and has a faster growth rate than most Tokudamas. The gold edge of 'Tokudama Flavocircinalis' does not bur in the spring, so it can be used as a substitute for 'Frances Williams'.
H. 'Unforgettable' "The ratio between mound height and mound width for the average hosta is 1 to 2.5. Vase-shaped plants often fall into a 1 to 2 or 1 to 2.3 range. Amazingly the mound height to width ratio for 'Unforgettable' is 1 to 1.4...combination of a distinctly upright habit with striking gold-margined variegation and an unruly character gives 'Unforgettable' a high level of distinction."
H. 'Wylde Green Cream' "...proven to be one of the best gold-centered hostas in the small to medium size range and is now widely grown...striking variegation pattern and fairly fast growth rate."
H. 'Yesterday's Memories'  "How can success be insured when developing a new cultivar? Well, start with a proven mother plant, add a bit of variegation, and voila!, an instant winner. I'm not sure if Hans Hansen looks at things that way, but 'Yesterday's Memories' certainly possesses all of the good traits of 'Squash Casserole' (e.g. rippling, a good growth rate, and great durability) and adds an attractive green margin."
   

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