The Better of the Look Alikes?

jan_on zone 5bMay 4, 2012

It would be great to amalgamate some of the information that has appeared in posts here re. preferences between/among look alike hostas. Please help me out before I go shopping! For example:

Olive Bailey Langdon (is nicer than) Frances Williams

Minuteman (performs better than) Patriot

OK, so its too late for those two, but I'm sure there are lots more that my small yard doesn't really need!


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How about you posting what you have on your WANT list, and then we have a place to begin offering alternative hosta?

And, you set the parameters--how big, what made you put it on your list in the first place, do you need something to endure sun or mostly shade? You know, that sort of thing. I won't be much help. What I can suggest is you find ways to GO VERTICAL with your plants. :) THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!!!!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 7:33PM
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bkay2000(8a TX)

I have one:

Paradigm is better than September Sun


    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 7:47PM
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jan_on zone 5b

I don't really have a shopping list since mostly I'll make purchases based on what looks good at the local growers. But I wouldn't have chosen Frances Williams or Patriot if I had known about the better choices!
And I'm sure there are lots of comparisons sprinkled throughout this forum -- just thought getting some of them together in one thread might be useful. Thanks for the 'Paradigm' recommend bkay.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Not sure how to do this, but I can copy/paste it here.
This list was done in 2004 by Papou and Caliloo brought it to probably the FAQs for the forum.

It lists 400+ hosta (in 2004) distinct at 10 feet, but not THE list, as Caliloo points out at the bottom.

I bring it to your attention here, because it has several hosta named and separated with a slash (Patriot/Minuteman)
etc, which are the look-alikes. It does not say which is better however.

But, figuring that these are all hosta which can be likely IDd at 10 feet, you might be likely to want some of the ones on this list. I colored up my list, so I could tell where one began or ended, .....think this list is being redone, but the official 10 foot list is someplace else, and I don't know where/how to find it.

Anyway, I'm willing to email it to you, Jan, if I can secure your email addy from member page....Nope, no such luck. So check out the forum FAQs for that list. Mine is colored up though, you'll see how easy it makes it.

Also, some of the tetraploid versions of a hosta are better/tougher/more colorful/etc and that is likely updated by don_r just this week. Check it out on the HL.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 10:25PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

ID'd by whom? Isn't there just the green one and the green and white one? It really is all in the eye of the beholder, but actually more in the HAND of the beholder, as some have weeny soft tender, floppy leaves and some are thicker than rhino hide (although Don R. will dispute that). From 10 feet away you cannot always tell...unless you are Ken, who has 1,500 hostas committed to memory, as well as planted in his sand pile.

Besides, the "distinct hostas" of 2004 have been replaced by now with new and improved.

Many of these lists were formed by responses from whoever was on the forum for those few weeks. If I posted a message asking for every one's top 5 or 10, it would just be for whoever is tuned in. Those messages fall to the next pages and off the horizon, so...

Go with the hostas that YOU can identify at 10 feet and be happy...especially if you don't have cataracts! ;-)


    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:14PM
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I agree, Babka. However, when someone needs to have some ideas, a list even 10 years old will feature the hosta which are by now tried and true, and likely very much commonly available. More likely to be found locally....except for things which are TC widely.

Most of the ones on the 2004 list are probably replaced in popularity or whatever, but if she has one which she thinks sounds good from that list, mentioning it here, in this thread, someone who knows a better one can name it for her. Finding some common ground, a starting point, is the way I look at things.

I mentioned the tetraploid etc lists from Don_R because he just updated those this week. Browsing through the lists is very helpful. Anyway, the lists propose, we dispose according to personal taste.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:31PM
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Cher(6 SW OH)

I agree moccasin. When people can only have so many, it helps tremendously to have some ideas on the best and most unique.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:27AM
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But . . . all three of my Patriots are much prettier than my one Minuteman. My Patriots have much wider white edges; they really shout out to you. Minuteman just sits there.

Ken would insist that any look-alike is better than a real Great Expectations, but those of us with perfectly located GE's would dispute that call.

We've even seen pics here of Francis Williams looking great in August if it is well watered and out of direct sun.

So I'm not sure I'd trust a list of the best of look-alikes. Nance

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 7:08AM
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Gesila(MI Z5)

Sports of Blue Angel, Duke of Cornwall is bluer than Earth Angel, but I like the leaf shape of Earth Angel better.

Oh, and Frank, if you're looking, that's my Millenium liner (in back of Duke of Cornwall) in it's second year.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:07PM
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I'm not looking.

Grand Marquee and Touch of Class look alike.

GM is bigger. I want them both because I like their look.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:17PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Frank- I just looked at the Library and the database shows that GM has leaves 2"x2". Naylor lists it as medium. Where did you find it gets bigger than Touch of Class?


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:25PM
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The leaves on this 5 year old clump of GM I saw at Hornbaker Gardens were about 6" x 8". I read about them being similar in the Hostapedia when I was looking up GM. GM has leaves listed as being 5 1/2" wide by 7 1/2" long with clump 14" x 35". TOC leaves at 6" x 8" with clump at 14" x 30". You know how it goes with how things get listed compared to how they can grow in different environments.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:44PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

OR when just a mistake is made entering data. Thanks for the pic. Isn't it funny how they both have very different ancestry? Tardiana/Tokudama.


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 4:39PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Mine is Ventricosa is better in my garden than Lake side Black Satin.

I was trying to design a dark green garden with a white statue in the center and the Ventricosa was standing out and looked better than Black Satin.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:29PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

***"First Mate' versus 'Kabitan'. FM is supposedly easier to grow.
***Compare"Blue Ivory', 'El Nino' and 'First Frost and 'Sleeping Beauty'
***"Ivory Coast' is a smaller version of 'Sagae' Then there is 'Super Sagae' which supposedly has a wider margin
***What about 'Regal Splendor' and 'Regal Splendor Supreme'
***There are sports of 'Sum and Substance'. Examle "sum of All'.
I bought 'Small Sum' which is supposedly a smaller version
***"English Sunrise' is supposed to be the same as 'May'. I didn't know this and ended up buying both.
***I've heard that 'Fantasy Island' is an improved 'Island Charm'. I bought FI but like IC better.
***What about 'Hanky Panky' and "Kiwi Full Monty' ,both of which are sports of 'Striptease. Then there is "Gypsy Rose' which I would buy over the others.

Then if you could only buy one which would you buy: 'Francee', 'Patriot', 'Loyalis' or 'Minuteman'

The experienced hosta gardeners' opinions about these hostas are useful to the hosta gardener who has limited space. Why buy 'Minuteman', if 'Patriot' is superior.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Hanky Panky is the reverse of Gypsy Rose.

It is Regal Splendor and Regal Supreme.

Regal Supreme is supposed to have a wider margin.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:28PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

I could make comments on the BIG differences on many of those. i.e. I have El Nino and Sleeping Beauty and Blue Ivory, Autumn Frost and now Great Escape. All are quite different in my pots. Time will tell. There are many Striptease sports, all with slight differences.

No comparison between Francee and her sports with the wider edge.

Some find Minuteman to be INferior to Patriot. ME.

So a list of hostas with ones that look "similar" would be helpful, but you cannot say that one is better than the other except for your own personal experience.And those observations really do depend on where you live and the conditions (trees, sun, water, cataracts)

So I would suggest for any hosta newbie to take a look at (1) the HOTYs Hosta of the Year List
(2) AHS Most Popular List

A good place to begin...


    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 10:33PM
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Hosta Registry has this:
'Grand Marquee' M. Laviana (OI) A. Malloy (NR) 2001

Plant: 25 in. (64 cm) diameter, 12 in. (30 cm) high; mound-like; .
Leaf: 6 in. (15 cm) long, 5 in. (11 cm) wide; 11 pairs of veins; creamy white; medium blue green margin; flat; dull on top; dull underneath; lightly flat; broadly ovate; rounded base;
Scape: 15 to 17 in. (38 cm) long; green.
Flower: 2 in. (5.58 cm) long; tubular; Kensington, CT - July 15 to Aug 15;
Seed: sets pod; green seed pod;
Clump History: original sport; 5 yrs old; Kensington, CT;
Notable Characteristics: smaller blue wide edged Tokudama with white center
Seasonal Variation: no
[Sport of H. 'Carder Blue']

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 12:24AM
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Below I'm listing a reference I just found by following a link someone left on the forum (about After Glow, actually), and discovered that there is an organized family tree of 2000 hosta sports at that site. Some pictures, some retail availability info, stuff like that.

It is my thought that you might find the Hosta Sports part of this web site to be worth investigating. It kept me busy for a couple of hours last night.

So...follow the first link, and then look mid page in the right hand side for the Sports information. It will show an alphabetical list of all the hostas which have sports, and how many it has will be in (-) after the name. Like S&S was mentioned above, it has an amazing number of sports--not counting all its hybrids, you know.

Have fun.

Here is a link that might be useful: My Hostas (then find the Sports)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 2:33PM
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That is the hosta database that is linked to from almost all of the individual pages of hosta at the Hosta Library. If you click on the link that is at the top left of a hosta page at the Hosta Library it opens up the db page for it if there is one.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 2:40PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

Yeah, but...that is the database that had the mis-information on Grand Marquee. The database is mostly correct, but when it got added to the HL there were probably some errors, and with thousands of hostas, they can only be corrected when found and when a volunteer has time to do the correcting.

ANYTIME you are looking for information on a specific hosta, it is a good idea to look at several different sources. I'm still learning to do that. ;-)


    Bookmark   May 6, 2012 at 3:08PM
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What others are comparable to Mid Morning? I just lost mine and deciding if I should replace it. I really like it, it is very pretty but wondering if I already have a look a like.

Also I have to say I have 5 Patriots all in different sun, they are superior to Minuteman, Karin and Francee(In my opinion for what it's worth) I also have 3 Loyalist and they do not compare to Patriot at all they have twistier leaves, have a third color and they are a white center, but it does compare to Fire and Ice.

a link to look a likes :)

Here is a link that might be useful: yet another discussion on look a likes

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 11:00PM
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gonna bump this want an answeer

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 10:26AM
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There so many areas of performance to consider when trying to determine which look-alike hosta is most garden worthy. This is demonstrated in the article titled "Look-Alikes" discussing the similarities and strengths of Fire and Ice, Loyalist and Paul Revere, published by the American Hosta Society. Here's a link to the article:

Here's my potential list of look-alikes based on the many look alike discussions on this forum over the years. I have not verified the accuracy list. I use this list to avoid purchasing hostas that look the same. The list is not prioritized based on performance, which probably varies from region to region, growing conditions, growth habit, etc:

Kryptonite / Canadian Shield / Devon Green / Peridot / Valeries Vanity
Halcyon / Canadian Blue
Tokudama Aureonebulosa / Blue Shadows
Paradigm / Darwin's Standard / Brother Stefan / Lunar Magic / Lunar Orbit / Dick Ward
Lakeside Cupcake / Warwick Comet / Popcorn (I have all three)
Great Expectations / Summer Joy
Paradise Expectations / Great Arrival
Summer Serenade / Mid Afternoon
Sum of It All / Titanic (inferior)
Clifford's Comet / Revolution
Fire and Ice / Loyalist / Paul Revere
Antioch / Moorheim / Sundancer / Spinners
Piedmont Special / Tyler's Treasure / Satisfaction / Shadowfax
Liberty / Clifford's Forest Fire / Magic Fire / Majesty
Dream Weaver / Thunderbolt / Dream Queen
Deja Blu / Woolly Bully / Bolt Out of the Blue / Blue River
On Stage / Choko Nishiki
Patriot / Minuteman
Northern Halo's / Northern Exposure / American Halo
Patriot's Fire / Moonlight / Moonglow
Opipara / Bill Brinka
Touch of Class / Grand Marquee
Americana / Clifford's Stingray / American Sweetheart
Lunar Sun / September Sun
Zounds / August Moon
High Society / Remember Me
Anne / Twilight
Emerald Ruff Cut / Emerald Isle (same hosta-renamed)
English Sunrise / May
Island Charm / Fantasy Island
Kiwi Full Monty / Strip Tease
El Nino / First Frost / Sleeping Beauty / Blue Ivory
Regal Splendor / Tom Schmid
First Mate / Kabitan

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 4:04PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

I have all four for comparison:
pic 1 El Nino
pic 2 First Frost
pic 3 Sleeping Beauty
pic 4 Blue Ivory
pic 5 2nd El Nino in the same location as Blue Ivory

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 4:59PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Pic 2: First frost: the margin is yellow changing to white later

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 5:01PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Pic 3: Sleeping Beauty

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 5:03PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Pic 4: Blue Ivory

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 5:04PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Pic 5:El Nino with one white leaf.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Well, I had a long post written waiting for a photo to be found, and the window closed.....

This is the FAQ from GWeb that Papou worked on, and Caliloo uploaded to the FAQS, but GWeb stripped the formatting. What I've done is COLOR it, so each name appears separately. Then the ones which, at the time (2004) were SIMILAR, are separated by / marks and are all the same color.

My apologies to Caliloo and GWeb if I infringe on anything, but it is after all still on GWeb through Flickr's technology. You can go to my Flickr and get the largest size of it if you care to. But here 'tis.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 5:52PM
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jan_on zone 5b

hostabuff - great list; don't go shopping without it!
irawon - my beautiful (recently planted) 'First Frost' turned green in ONE BEASTLY DAY. Guess I better find a shadier spot!
moccasinlanding - what a great idea! That list just made my head spin when I found it in FAQ's. Your version makes sense.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 7:43PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Yes, that list is great as a starting point but one really has to do one's own research and use it. Most of my look alikes are the result of impulse buying.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:31PM
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Hosta Zounds and August Moon are NOT look alikes for a major part of the season(totally different shape of leaves)

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 8:03PM
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Irawon, if the impulse to get a hosta that has the same look keeps occurring, then you know FOR SURE what you LIKE. I have that with the yellow wide middles and the green narrower margins. If I need a few like that in a row, I'd just as soon have different ones than the same hosta. Besides, you learn from having different ones that they are not always alike, except in a couple of ways.

Wieslaw, I have August Moon on order now, and I'm not a bit bummed by also having Zounds. I like subtleties.

I like to have a list which allows me to know which kind of coloration to expect, as in LOOK-ALIKES, but a list which says one hosta is "better" than another without explanation is not much use. Let me be the judge of that is my stance.
I might want to have a certain hosta which looks like another because it is fertile, or its bloom is a bright purple, or its scapes are tall not short. Those things must be figured into the look-alike and better than.

Which is why I love Don-Rawsons lists. It saves a lot of headache to just whip out his lists if I'm looking for a hosta which is gold and stays gold, or one which turns white as the season progresses. Subtleties like this are more helpful to me than a look-alike list.

Here is a link that might be useful: Don Rawson's Hosta List hosted here

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 3:15PM
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