The Poll To End All Polls (until the next one) - GREEN

idiothe(4 MN)July 19, 2012

OK - Let's get this party started... here's my number... call me maybe...


The Objective: to come up with a list of the best-of-the-best hostas by coloration and clump size. Blue Mouse Ears and Queen of the Seas are both fine hostas, but they don't serve the same functions in the garden, so we're going to generate a very useful list. Please encourage your friends to vote... the bigger the pool of voters, the better the results.

The Rules:

You can vote for up to two hostas in each size category - don't want anyone getting an ulcer weeding it down to one. If you give three, that part of your ballot will be referred to our Executioner - "Hanging" Chad.


We all know sizes are tricky to nail down - we are basing our votes on the overall diameter of the hosta clump at maturity under typical gardening conditions. When a hosta is a contender but seems to straddle the categories, I will refer to Zilis and consult with folks - but ultimately I'm the decider!

Here are your four categories... please list your votes by category:

Dwarf/Mini = equal to or smaller than 18" diameter

Small = larger than 18" and smaller than 30" diameter

Medium = larger than 30" and smaller than 52"

Large and Extra Large = equal to or larger than 52"

If you frequent more than one hosta forum, please vote on only one of the sites.

GREEN HOSTAS... let the fun begin!

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Jim, I'll start you out. Not sure where blue-green like Queen of the Seas and Blue Cadet would fit, also August Moon as Gold or Green - Zilis has as gold - I guess chartreuse is gold.

Dwarf/Mini = Tiny Tears, Popo (Zilis has them larger, but doesn't seem right)
Small = Devon Green, Candy Dish
Medium = Invincible , Niagara Falls
Large and Extra Large = Hoosier Dome, Komodo Dragon


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:06AM
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D/M = Venusta, Green Mouse Ears
Small = Lancifolia, Candy Dish
Medium = Fortunei Hyacinthina, Niagara Falls
Large/Extra Large = Empress Wu, Komodo Dragon

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:05AM
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Jim for your review-

The AHS Mini Hosta Criteria:
⺠Leaf blade area no greater than about 6
square inches (38.7 square cm.).
⺠No restriction on clump spread.

Link Below with List thru 6/20/2011 - btw, Blue Cadet is on list as mini due to leaf started this, I'm just trying to


Here is a link that might be useful: AHS Mini Hosta List

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 10:06AM
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I'd like to vote but I'm confused on the size categories. If I'm interpreting your guidelines correctly we are supposed to ignore the height of hosta, correct? For example, I have Candy Hearts which I consider a medium hosta due to the heighth but it has been in the ground for many years undisturbed and the clump is over 52" diameter so it would be considered Large for your poll, corrct?
Sorry if I'm being dense!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 12:11PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

We knew size would be our biggest issue!

First of all - forget the AHS leaf blade size criteria... I think it is wonderful for leaf shows and useless for how a gardener gardens.

cindy - as to height - I do consider height an important garden planning feature (proof - my article on "vase-shaped" hostas in the next AHS journal!) but the first thing a gardener puts on a garden plan is a circle for the amount of space they are allowing the plant - that means we are using diameter - period!

I can see that choosing 30" rather than, say 28", puts some plants most folks call mediums into the large small category... so Paul's votes for Devon Green and Candy Dish make sense as the mature clumps usually develop to or just short of that 30" divider... hmmm... gonna have to think about this one... and why is Devon Green a small but Halcyon, June, and many of the others in that family, mediums? I saw some very large Devon Greens in giant (forklift size) pots at Marco Fransen's place near Amsterdam... he said he uses them at the various flower shows in Europe, noting his surprise that we liked it as "Americans don't like solid colors - they want the showy variegated ones!"

but Paul (and thanks for kicking this off!) ... Niagara Falls has got to go into the large category... It's a montana and we're going to see lots of 60" clumps in the Midwest as it is given time to develop. (which means you have to withdraw one of your votes for one of those three... this is a tough category!)

i-like-to-grow... we have to kick your vote for lancifolia up into mediums... though there are some smaller lookalikes, often of sieboldii heritage, the real lancifolia typically makes a clump about 36" in diameter. there's room in your medium vote, because Niagara Falls is pushed up into large. Now here you go with a dilemma... only two of three... Niagara Falls, Empress Wu, and Komodo Dragon. I wouldn't want to have to remove any of them from my garden! tell me which one to remove!

of course, cindy... give me a tough one right away! Candy Hearts, left undisturbed, does indeed get quite large. I've found, though, that in those large sizes it is almost more of a colony than a single tight clump. Still, it can be a bugger to divide at that stage. But typically, garden clumps of even mature Candy Hearts are somewhat smaller - Zilis says 43" - and the overall look in proportion to the leaves is smaller, so in spite of your large clump, we're going with medium on that one.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 1:02PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

Dwarf/Mini = Green Mouse Ears
Small = Red Sox, Beet Salad
Medium = Clovelly, Celtic Dancer
Large/Extra Large = Stingray, Manhattan

I don't like the categories. Why are Large and Extra Large together? If you want four categories separate out Large and XL and put Small/Mini in the same category. I say this because there are a dozen L and XL plants that I could vote for, but very few small/mini green plants that I consider worthy of a vote.

Just my .02


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 2:18PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks for the input, Steve... I orginally did the poll with five categories... but ended up reporting the results in just three as there were so many back-and-forths depending on people's growing conditions. So I originally wrote this for three categories... then added back the mini/Small distinction as there are so many folks looking for the real little ones for dish gardens and such...

So I'm considering two changes... one to add back the large and very large split into two categories... and the other to lower the 30" on small to 28" I know that sounds too precise, but there are just a lot of plants we think of as mediums that come in around 30" and a lot of plants we think of as small that can hover around that 30" limit... for example, I've already gotten a couple of votes for Teaspoon in the mini category, while I know a more accurate catalog description is "S/M"

So I'm taking your suggestion seriously, especially since part of my problem in the past came from doing each category separately on different thread - and having people nominate the same plants for large and very large.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 2:44PM
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idiothe(4 MN)


OK - I guess I've decided... since we're doing all the polling by color on one thread, a lot of the problems of conflict between categories are minimized... (on past polls, with two separate threads for Large and Very Large, people often voted for the same plant in both categories...

The categories above have been changed...

So we are going to have 5 categories... I changed the limit on small to 28" so we will get plants that most folks would refer to as small, even when mature... and I reduced the limit for medium to 48" - this one will produce categorization conniptions, but I want things called medium to be medium in the typical garden center purchaser'[s mind, not the Hostapedia toting collector who knows that somewhere Zilis found a gargantuan version of a plant that is 32" - medium - for most folks. I then split large and Very Large at 66" I know that is arbitrary, but there are lots of clumps of Sagae and Leading Lady and such that are getting up there over 5'... but they are large plants... and the Very Large plants like Komodo Dragon and Empress Wu are being grown to go to 6' diameter and beyond - though darned few of us have seen such a thing yet...

So if you need to revise your previous voting, feel free to do so!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 2:58PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

WHOOPS... can't edit on this forum...

new categories

Dwarf/Mini = equal to or smaller than 18" diameter
Small = larger than 18" and smaller than 28" diameter
Medium = larger than 28" and smaller than 48"
Large = larger than 48" and smaller than 66"
Extra Large = equal to or larger than 66"

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:00PM
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Dwarf/Mini - skip
Small- Tongue Twister,
Medium- Fragrant Star, Mirage ('Precisely' x yingeri) -maybe small
Large- Royal Standard, Niagra Falls
Extra Large - skip (I think there are some really good ones out there but I haven't seen mature clumps yet. For example Komodo Dragon and Frank Loyd Wright)

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:38PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks for voting, Beverly!

about your mediums... save your vote for Fragrant Star - we're putting that in the BLUE category.

And Mirage... I knew there was a can of worms on that one! Two different plants out there, neither registered. You are correctly voting for the green one from Ron Livingston... the mother Precisely is a blend of Ginko Craig and plantaginea, thus fragrant flowers... and the spidery white flowers come from yingeri... I don't know this plant in person - I'll have to watch for it.

The other Mirage, a streaky Pin-stripe Sister hybrid, is from Dick and Jane Ward.

As to the minis and the extra large ones - when are you going to come by my garden to check some out?! Zone 4 in MN - you can't be far away from Plymouth!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 5:13PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b


Thanks for rule change. Given this change I will keep my votes the same and add the XL category.

XL = Empress Wu, Lakeside Maverick


    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Ok, after a lot of book searching for clump sizes, I can vote.

Dwarf/mini: Popo Tiny Tears
Small: The Razor's Edge Nakaiana
Medium: Candy Dish King of Spades
Large: Aphrodite Royal Standard
XLarge: Lakeside Full Tide *______

* I have only the one green XL, which was a surprise,
since I've tried to avoid the really big dudes. Until now.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 6:53PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks for the votes... and for everybody's patience as I changed the rules...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 9:46AM
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idiothe(4 MN)

Here's hoping lots more weekend forum folks will vote - don't be intimidated by the sizes... list your favorites where you think they go - I'll move them around as necessary!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Alright Jim, here are my revised pics-

Dwarf/Mini = Tiny Tears, Popo
Small = Devon Green, Candy Dish
Medium = Invincible , Marilyn Monroe
Large = Niagara Falls, Komodo Dragon
Extra Large = Millennium, Mr Big


    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Where did everybody go?
Come on guys, it is an easy thing to do. Won't take long at all. Go for it!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 1:32PM
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We are suppose to go by the sizes in the Hostapedia - right?

Little Red Rooster

Devon Green

Black Hills (list at 48)

Honeybells (list at 50, mine is 70)
Niagara Falls

Hirao Majesty (list at 67, mine at 60)
Green Gables

If Black Hills is pushed into the Large group then I guess remove it and add Lakeside Prophecy which is listed at 36. This is a fun but challenging test.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 4:37PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks, Mctavish - and folks - you don't need to do a lot of research to vote... just give your favorite greens and I'll put them where they belong!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 9:13PM
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I find it impossible to make an intelligent contribution to this 'survey', since it defines Hosta size by clump diameter instead of height.

A fairly recent post on this forum explained quite well why the AHS uses height instead of clump diameter as the definition of Hosta size.

To paraphrase that very smart post, Hosta Height is limited by genetics (and, of course, soil, light, age, and so forth).

In other words, height has a maximum, eventually.

Clump width, however, is a matter of age, soil, light; mostly age, in the long run.

So, let's see, maximum height has a genetic maximum, unless gravity takes a break, and cannot be altered.

Clump width can be easily modified by backhoe (in the case of a really huge old clump), or for the rest of us, sharp shovel for a large one, trowel for a medium to small one, or, perhaps even a sharpened spoon for a mini.

fwiw, and g'night,


    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:42PM
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rather than to have people categorize... you could just do ,what you just said, for all of these polls... list your top 10 or so of each category... then you do the sorting.. where you want them... I know myself and others have been discouraged about this due to the complications of placing our picks in the right size category...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:47PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

I appreciate the feedback.

hostahillbilly - I'd still appreciate your favorite green hostas. I do understand clump size is, in absolute terms, undefineable. Left to their own in nature, most plants will form colonies and some of the largest hosta "plants" are really made up of either rhizomatous spreading or actual multiple crowns.

Nonetheless, most people who garden with hostas say "I have a space for a medium green - which is the best?" Or something like that. And some plants tend to stay small, some tend toward medium, and there are those that, given the opportunity, will reach giant size in a reasonable period of time. Most folks will grow Little Red Rooster as a mini or a small... most will grow Komodo Dragon as a Very Large...

so I'd love your favorite greens - I'd be glad to put them into the generally accepted diameter categories.

And I like to grow - your list of 10 favorites would be fine to start, and I'll categorize... but the goal is to get "the best" by size and color/variegation - that is what makes this voting different from other "my favorite" hosta polling. So just give us some of your favorite/best green votes - and we'll see how they break out!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 8:38AM
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Dwarf/Mini = Green Mouse Ears,
Small = Quilting Bee
Medium = Candy Hearts, Neptune (some call this blue-green but it always looks green to me so I'm taking the chance!)
Large = Niagara Falls,
Extra Large = Brutus, Komodo Dragon

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Dwrf/mini: Green With Envy, Tiny Tears
Small: Candy Dish, Hacksaw
Medium: Redneck Heaven, Ringneck
Large: Plantaginea, Witch's Brew
Very Large: Komodo Dragon, T Rex

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:19PM
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peggy_hosta(z4 neSD)

Hi Jim, here's my vote. You may need to put these in different size categories.
mini- Shiny Penny and Margey
small- none
med- Marilyn Monroe and Invincible
lg- Clovelly and Potomac Pride

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:34PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks for voting, peggy... I like your medium and large choices a lot... on the mini, you can save your vote on Shiny Penny - though chartreuse this time of year, we'll put that in the yellow voting category...

and you know Margey? Even Zilis says he's only seen it in one collection! Kind of an old Pauline Banyai registration... as a venusta-type. Fun vote!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 1:38PM
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jan_on zone 5b

I don't have many plain greens (yet!) but -
Medium - Candy Dish (new this season and still in its pot, but a real looker)
and - Lancifolia (I know, boring to some, but what a tidy mound and not a mark on any leaf in spite of this horrid weather.)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 4:24PM
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kent(z5 NY)

Mini: None
Small: Little Hobber
Medium: Candy Dish
Large Clovelly
XL: Komodo Dragon

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:40PM
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Despite the problems with 'size' by clump strangeness, the topic owner asked me to contribute, so here goes, though I more stuck with 'size according to height':

Itsy Bitsy Spider


Pineapple Poll
Stir Fry

Niagara Falls
Edge of Night

Big Bad Boys:
Green Piecrust



    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:58PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks for being a good sport, hostahillbilly. I hope you'll join in the rest of the categories as well.

I really do pay a lot of attention to height. I have just found that most folks are less sophisticated - when they are shopping for plants they will tell me "I have a space about this big" - and they'll pantomime a circle with their hands or arms - "I want one that will be about that size." Of course that is just a jumping off spot... but still, we will end up with a nice spectrum of plants by size and coloration - they we can come back and critique the selections!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 4:18PM
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Mini: Tiny Tears, Baby Bunting
Small: Nippers
Medium: Candy Dish, Stirfry
Large Clovelly
XL: Niagra Falls

Kept dragging my feet on this one, as greens are not my thing!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 6:44PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

well, trudy... maybe not your thing - but your voting is really good! I think of BB as a blue - emerges blue, but loses its bloom relatively early... but the sports like Pandora's Box I put in the blue and white category mentally... I'll have to sort this out before PB gets voted for...

and Nippers... don't know that I've ever seen it... registered as a medium... description is "puckered, unruly, green foliage..." - sounds interesting... I'm off to the Hosta Library to take a look!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 1:59AM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

I'm putting Popo and Teaspoon and in the mini category although they can get wider than 18" because they are easy to divide.

mini: Teaspoon, Popo (My Popo has been in my garden since 2008 and is blue green. I believe it will get bluer as its wax coating thickens with age.)

small:Candy Dish, Lakeside Looking Glass

medium: Lakeside Black Satin, Invincible

large: Niagara Falls

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 12:29PM
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idiothe(4 MN)

thanks for the votes, Irawon! I am going to have to move them around a little...

Popo will certainly get mention in the final list... hard to put it in a color category... definitely blue green early in the season, so I believe we'll put it in blue... but it does usually green up pretty early. I have the same problem with Cutting Edge...

Teaspoon, because it is so cute when its small, has gotten a reputation as a mini - but if you just plant it and grow it for a few years like any other hosta clump, it will actually become a medium sized clump of small leaves... Zilis puts it in small... I put it in medium... we'll have to work that out later, but it clearly is a favorite for lots of folks...

Candy Dish will be in the Medium category, Lakeside Looking Glass is too.

Lakeside Black Satin - it's right on the margin of being large, but I believe it is typically medium in most garden situations... so we'll keep that one there...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 1:33PM
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irawon(5a Ottawa)

Your welcome, Jim. Sizing changes are fine with me. I'm having difficulty with the sizes, because a lot of my hostas have root competition from trees. I've been checking the sizes online by width, though.

So, just delete my mini vote and move Teaspoon to small. I'll stick to my medium and large votes. Thanks.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 2:19PM
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ejr2005(Eastern MA)

Mini: Little Red Rooster
Small: Devon Green, Lakeside Lollipop
Medium: Essence of Summer, Cutting Edge
Large: Fried Green Tomatoes, Manhattan
XL: Lakeside Ripples

This is harder than I expected. For instance, I've seen Lakeside Lollipop stated to range from 16" to 48" wide. Mine is about 19" wide and maybe 4 years in my garden.

I'm calling Essence of Summer and Cutting Edge greens per my eyes and Zilis.

Feel free to change the sizes. I have back-ups (Puck, The Razor's Edge, Rocket's Red Glare, etc.)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 4:59PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Tiny Tears (D/M)

Quilting Bee (S)
Devon Green (S)

Peacock Strut (M)
Red October (M)

Mikado (L)
Jade Cascade (L)

Empress Wu (G)
Green Angel (G)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 7:40AM
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treemon(z5 IL)

Mini: Tiny Tears
Small: Teaspoon
Medium: Marilyn Monroe, Lakeside Black Satin
Large: Potomac Pride, Niagra Falls

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 8:46PM
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