Throughout history, many people have made lasting contributions to the world of hostas. In these pages, we hope to pay tribute to some of them. Our concentration will be primarily on those who have introduced or registered new cultivars, found new species, promoted the genus or added to our knowledge about this, the Number One selling herbaceous perennial plant in the U.S.

We are always looking to expand these listings and to keep them up to date. So, if you have new information or know of someone who you think should be included, please send us their name and a brief description of their contributions to the World of Hostas. Thanks.

Early hybridizer who was active in the 1960s and introduced cultivars including H. 'Zagers Green Rim' and H. 'Zager's Giant Puckered'.

Mark Zilis has both a B.S. and M.S. in horticulture from the University of Illinois. He started working with hostas in 1978 when he developed the first tissue culture (TC) lab at Walters Gardens, Inc. in Zeeland, Michigan. His job was to develop new ways to TC hostas for introduction to the gardening public. The variegated cultivar H. 'Francee' was among the first of the hostas multiplied successfully in TC at Walters.

In 1981, Mark co-founded the T&Z Nursery in Winfield, Illinois. Then in 1992, he established his own nursery and TC lab, Q & Z Nursery in Rochelle, Illinois.

Mark has introduced many, many new cultivars from his tissue culture lab including:

In addition to his nursery work, Mark is a leading author and authority on the species, Hosta. He has produced three of the more important hosta books, The Hosta Handbook (2000), The Hostapedia (2009) and Mark Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas (2014). During his over 30 years of research, he has visited hundreds of hosta gardens around the world.

Mark has visited Japan five times (as of 2012) where he has explored the native areas of many hosta species. He has also become acquainted with many of the leading Japanese experts on the genus.

In 2001, Mark was the recipient of the Alex J. Summers Distinguished Merit Award from The American Hosta Society.

Mr PGC Note: In case you were wondering what a guy does after 30 years of studying hostas and photographing them around the world...here is Mark taking more pictures in a garden at the 2011 The American Hosta Society Convention in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

BTW- Mark is one of those guys who has a picture in the attic that is aging while he stays young looking.

The Hosta Handbook (ISBN 0-9679440-0-7)

Mark's first book which was published in 2000 is a vital resource for anyone seriously interested in these plants. It is a small format book that is easy to carry with you into the garden.

Note: At the January 19, 2013 Hosta Scientific Meeting in Chicago, Mark announced that the second edition of this book should be available by the summer of 2013. According to Mark, the new version will contain 60-70% new or updated material.

The Hostapedia, (ISBN 978-0-9679440-1-2)

In 2009, Mark Zilis released  the most complete work on hostas ever written. It includes descriptions of about 7,000 name cultivars of hostas which includes about 4,000 of those that have been officially registered with The American Hosta Society. This is a huge book that you will want to keep in your library and not have to carry around too mucH.

To help you wade through all the thousands of hostas discussed in this book, we at PGC and the HostaHelper have compiled a listing of "Mark Zilis' All-Star Hostas".

Mark Zilis' Field Guide to Hostas (ISBN-13: 978-0967944029)


This guide, which was published in 2014, covers the specifics of around 272 cultivars and/or species of hostas through the eyes of Mark Zilis. It also includes sections on growing hostas, nomenclature and the history of hostas in the wilds of Asia.

Dr Zonneveld is a retired professor and researcher in genetics at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands for over 30 years. He has documented the DNA status of thousands of plants including over 500 hostas. He is also known for development of the genome for tulips. He has contributed many articles to The Hosta Journal and other publications.

Bill was a hybridizer of small hostas who lived in Alliance, Ohio. He was also associated with a hosta propagation technique called "Zumbarizing" which was a variation of the "Rossing Method". Both techniques are meant to rapidly increase the production of new buds on the crown of hostas thus resulting in faster division production.

He was a master judge in both The American Hosta Society and American Rose Society.

Bill introduced around 33 primarily miniature hostas including H. 'Cheatin Heart', H. 'Doubloons' and H. 'Little Patriot'. A collection of his plants is located at the Wade and Gatton Nursery and Wade Botanical Gardens in Bellville, Ohio.

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