IDing Hostas

santamiller(8b TX)May 6, 2014

I am pretty much a hosta newbie, especially compared to most here on this forum so maybe this has been discussed at length before, but I have been curious as to the difficulty of IDing some of the hostas I see. So many are almost identical, or at least to my eye they are. Is much of the IDing process just an educated guess from a process of elimination or can most all hostas be positively identified without scientific testing? I'm actually not one who totally cares if I know what every single hosta I have is, but I have wondered about this for some time.

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no one is going to pay for an ID ... it would be cheaper to just go buy a labeled plant ...

i think.. seeing is believing... and the real ID peeps.. have seen them in person ... either in their own garden ... friends.. state clubs.. or national meetings ... i think it really makes a difference to turn off the computer and see real plants ...

and of course.. in the FAQ section.. there used to be a list of the 10 foot rule hosta ...

and if there are 10 that look alike.. you have to wonder what at least 5 of the peeps who named them.. were thinking ...


    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:37AM
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santamiller(8b TX)

I kept reef aquariums for many years and I assumed as there is such a huge variety of hostas that doing IDs on many of them was as big of a guess as IDing corals.

Here in Texas going to see hostas in person isn't much of an option. :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 7:50AM
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When you've grown hosta for several years, you learn their little nuances that differentiate them from their neighboring hostas.... the color changes over the season, the leaf shape changes over the years of maturity, the color differences from sun to shade, does it stand upright or prostrate, etc.

I'd say that more than half of the ID'ing requests that I've seen her are most often the very ordinary varieties.... Say the top 200 or so varieties that are sold.... and most commonly these are asked by people who probably bought their hostas at big box store. So that in itself greatly narrows down the choices.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 9:25AM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Hi Santa,

Like Melissa said, If you have it (or your neighbor has it), you usually recognize it.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 12:28PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Santa, I know it's 300 miles, but the Dallas Arboretum has a large hosta garden. They call it an ongoing trial. Basically, They say if they don't do well, they put another hosta there. The big growers (Q & Z, walters, Grolink, etc) provide the hosta. They usually plant 3 of everything. All are in the ground, in raised beds and under crape myrtles. It's not in a prominent place in the garden, but in the area where the children exhibits are (not the new children's garden).

If you're here, it's a nice place to visit.


Here's 3 Guacamoles in April 2012


    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 2:06PM
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Santa, it is a problem in Mobile to see actual growing hosta also. Except in my garden.

The differences come in the progressive color changes, if you know what comes first and what is the final color. It is in the color of the flower, the height of the flower scape, and the time of the year they bloom. Sometimes it is the fragrance or lack thereof, but that is more subjective if your nose doesn't work too good. And if it sets seed pods. The hosta can give themselves away with these small differences.

I like what the Dallas Arboretum is doing with the hosta. BKay will need to tell you which one that was burned to a crisp a couple of years ago in the harsh drought time. But it was still living. They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and it must be true of hostas. They burn on top and create a mass of roots below. Just keep pumping the water to them.

Over the last 2-3 years, I've gotten better at IDing my own hosta. I take pictures with the tags showing if I can. I then type the plant name as a TAG for Flickr and for my own Windows 7 search feature. By repetition I learn to ID it. I also know where it is in the garden (just about all 500 of them, until I begin REORGANIZING), and can go to it to check the ID tag. However, this year some few are missing their name tags, and I'll have to wait until I discover who is missing and by process of elimination put a name with the plant.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:15PM
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bragu_DSM 5

I love the people that come to the farmers market and see the hosta ... most are the "oh, i have all of those at home" bodies ...

yeah, right ...

i know the true hosta peeps ...

and we all stand up ...



    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:19AM
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LOL Mmmm Hmmm, suuure they have 'em all at home...

F. Aureomarginata and Satisfaction, same thing!

U. Albomarginata and Diana Remembered, same thing!


Don B.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 9:10AM
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Don, speaking of Diana Remembered. I ordered Seventh Heaven from Sebright which will ship this next week I think. Kirk at Sebright said it is a streaked form of Diana Remembered if it stays true. He had to check in case it had reverted back to Diana Remembered. I am so pleased to get this fragrant streaker that is fertile. Hope it has a dozen scapes and sets gazillion pods first year.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 10:43PM
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Good luck, Mocc. I would also love that to happen in your garden : )

As far as 'Hoosier Daddy' is going, it's timid coming up, and I see two eyes on it. I told you that if it grew more than two eyes this year and seemed to still be streaked, I'd send you a piece. Well, life's too short to wait for a third pip, in my opinion. If I get two pips separated nicely, which I will don't you worry, we'll share an eye each, and compare notes on how each one grows in their respective regions. Sounds like a fun project, eh? When this fellow leafs out, we'll see what's happening then.

Cheers Ms. Landing!

Don B.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 1:56AM
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lavendargrrl(7b Apex, NC)

Looking forward to seeing pics of the streaker seedlings, Don and mocc!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:57AM
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Don, what a great gift, love the name. Sounds so like south Louisiana. Going out for fish and chips now, more later. I am on the tablet. Going to rain, and I finished the emergency potting, now on to the ones sitting low. My hands tingle from crushed red pepper, good for circulation. It works for squirrels but not for hissing pots. There is another one of those and it may be a grumpy toad.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:55PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

Mocc, pull the "Southern Lady" card, and get the DH to handle it. Once you know what hisses, you won't be bothered by it anymore.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:03PM
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