Please help me choose . . .

Ludi _PA_7aDecember 23, 2012

I am set to place my order with Hallson very soon as I have finally narrowed down my list to a reasonable size.

I am torn though between American Icon and Spartacus.

American Icon comes from Choo Choo Train and Spartacus from Sea Gulf Stream.

Both are of Large-ish size once mature (American Icon a bit bigger than Spartacus)

Both have fairly wavy edges (Spartacus more so I think)

Both have a green center and yellow margin. However there is a subtle difference between the margin from what I gather between the two. American Icon has a wider more prominent margin where Spartacus seems to have more of a thinner irregular margin.

If you had to choose ONLY ONE . . . which would you pick and why ?

I am going to order one or the other, but I just can't seem to make up my mind either way . . . I think I could be happy with either of them . . . but am trying to think of efficient use of space and they are too close in leaf pattern to have both for my taste.

Thanks in advance for your input :)


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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

well ... why not ask chris????

he will be able to tell you if one is more vigorous than the other ...

plus .. he might tell you that one .. in his garden.. is twice as big as the other.. now wouldnt that be the biggest decision point .... on two plants that sound the same???

and do understand.. he is 15 miles west of me or so .. you do understand.. the ground is frozen.. and you wont be seeing these until mid may ... i presume as z6.. you know that.. but it is a reminder to those peeps in z7/8/9 .. who LONG AGO .. started complaining .. that they werent getting their MARCH!!!! deliveries ...

there are many a provider.. who simply send along smaller TC.. and we wonder.. if they actually have ever grown a plant in mother earth ... chris is not in that group .. talk to him.. he is very lonely.. in MI in jan/feb ... lol ...

you are welcome in advance .. lol. ..


    Bookmark   December 23, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Funny - that is the same debate I've been having here are quotes from the discriptions that I am comparing:

American Icon

4� to 6� wide
Medium green
Wide gold edge (appears gold to chartreuse on my computer)
Best contrast in shade or does better with some shade
Slightly rippled
Pale lavender flowers
Medium Growth Rate
Hanson Patten


3� to 4� wide
Medium green thick leaves
Yellow edge (appears more yellow than gold to light lime on my computer)
Serrated (or rippled)
Part sun to dappled shade, sun tolerant
Medium Growth Rate

My summary: Growth rate and green center color is similar. American Icon is larger and looks better in a shady situation. Spartacus is not as big and will still look good in a part sun location. As you said the margin in American Icon is wider but seems more goldy to me and less rippled, sort of graceful gentle rippling. Spartacus has a yellower, narrower edge and more ripples- "serrated" as some said. It might be sun and size that tip the scales for me.

Of course, you probably already read these same descriptions. I too would like to here from people growing these two.

Happy Holidays people.


    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 10:42AM
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Well if it were me, I would solve that problem by saying what the heck get them both then you can compare in your own garden. If one is not enough two is better.
Merry Christmas to all

    Bookmark   December 24, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Steve Massachusetts Zone 5b

For me it's Spartacus. UK Hostaman has a pic that is spectacular. Let's see if I can find it.

Found it.

I bought mine because of this.


    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 6:40AM
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bernd ny zone5

Here is my H 'American Icon' on June 13 2012 in zone 5 in full shade, might have lighter borders in some sun.

This post was edited by berndnyz5 on Tue, Dec 25, 12 at 9:28

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 9:25AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

whats the difference.. forget both and get SATISFACTION ...

there solved your bi-fold problem.. by turning it into a triptych ... lol ...

its so much different.. lol


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 10:16AM
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bernd ny zone5

You might as well also look at H. 'Goodness Gracious' and 'Seducer' when thinking about greens with wide yellow/white curly borders.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hosta 'Seducer'

    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 3:39PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Ken � I've actually been in contact with Chris recently. I had thought I might like to try Beckoning in my garden and he advised I shouldn't waste my time and search for better hosta.

I am aware that he likes to grow hosta for at least 3 years if possible before selling them at his nursery so I value his input and had not thought to ask him solely about my American Icon vs. Spartacus dilemma since I wasn't really looking for the overall size or vigor to be the deciding point.

There are a lot of contributors to this forum with an edge for detail and since the leaf overall was very similar I was hoping to get a debate started about the subtle differences.

In regards to Satisfaction I already have plans to obtain this one on its own. I hadn't really thought how similar it is to American Icon until you mentioned it, so I guess I should be more in debate as to whether I would obtain American Icon vs. Satisfaction.

Faye � I would love to have both but I have to show some sort of restraint (or at least try). I am trying to be diverse with my leaf pattern choices and I had just thought the two close and didn't want to have similar if I could possibly help it.

Steve � thank you as always for the pics. I too had seen this picture which allowed me to really see the marginal difference. Based on UK''s pic I would be inclined to purchase it outright but like I said I am trying to be a bit more reasonable with my purchases since I eventually will run out of space.

Bernd � Thank you for linking your pic. This helps further affirm to me that I think my dilemma is between Satisfaction and American Icon instead of Spartacus.

Since I already have plans to get Satisfaction, and American Icon is so close to Satisfaction I can rule out AI.

Spartacus after looking at Bernd pic and UK pic appeals to me in a different way since the margin is almost exclusive to the ripple, which is not the case with either AI or Satisfaction.

Goodness Gracious and Seducer were already on my list but for completely different reasons. GG's margin is unmistakably wide and Seducer comes with an added bonus of the hazy gray/white line in between the two margin colors.

Thank you all again for your input. I am sure that my mind will change a dozen more times since Ken is right and I won't be looking to receive these until the second week in May, but either way it is always fun to talk shop with other enthusiasts.

Happy New Year !!!


    Bookmark   December 25, 2012 at 6:02PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

well.. you know.. on some level i am being evil here.. lol ..

keep in mind.. orders are processed on a first come.. first served basis ... [and with chris.. when the ground thaws] ... so there is some advantage to getting an order in early ... no matter the shipping date ...

you 'take them' when he is ready to process your order.. not when it is convenient for you ... you dont want your order to be held back.. for timing.. only to find out.. others have gotten your prime plants ... man i lived that nightmare for too many orders .. lol .. all but one ends up shipped.. and of course.. its always the 'to die for plant' ... happens in conifers too ...

anyway.. just to put a nail in the coffin of evil.. chuck the whole list.. and get american sweetheart.. lol .. it doesnt matter what YOU want ... do what i tell you.. lol


its not everyone i would take the time to figure out where the pix are on my hard drive .. [lets call it retribution for messing with your list.. lol]

note the white petioles .. and the perfect proportion of flower height to clump size ...

    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 8:17AM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Ken I was going to say ... but you already did ... I am shocked you busted out the pictures. :)

It's not often we get to see some of your hosta. I am flattered you took the time and personally don't feel you deserve retribution. There was no messing with my list, I am simply a cerebral person and take FAR too long to come to a decision on many things.

Some have told me I would split the atom if I could. :p

Like I said earlier, I am trying not to let this happen. I want to hone my 'vision' on something reasonable and manageable. If I bought every hosta I liked I would need something like your 5 acre plot to hold it all. As it stands, I have a very modest suburban plot that will allow me enough room to have a manageable garden given my schedule and other hobbies.

So I come down to these little debates such as AI vs. Spartacus because at the end of a 15 year haul I don't want to still have potted hosta left on the porch that never found a home because I bought too many without mapping everything first or realize that those 4 that all have different names actually look like the same hosta.

Being a man this tends to be a problem with anything I do . . . it is either 100 thousand times over the top or I am simply not motivated and nothing ever comes to fruition. As you have witnessed this past year I am at full light speed and need to slow down a bit.

The problem with my list and subsequent garden is that for the most part I have a clean slate. There are preset boundaries marked from the old landscapers but who is to say I can't 'color outside of the lines'.

I feel it would help if I had more permanent structures or shrubs in place to work around but for the most part not much can be salvaged in terms of overall aesthetics so I am starting fresh.

But with a blank palette you can build anything, so how do we ultimately decide ?

I have a ton of hand drawn ideas all over my desk, but until I can get back outside and into the dirt all I can do is think and deliberate on what I hope will be perfect. I am sure I will miss the mark on more than one occasion by the end of all of this. :)

Hahaaa . . . and here you are tempting me with yet another white center green margin beauty.

I recently started a separate spreadsheet for the hosta now under my possession (versus what I want) and gave them all very simple fields to plug data into.

Two of the categories were margin color and central leaf color. Without going into too much detail I added the appropriate descriptions.

After sorting, the data showed that over 65% of my hosta were of a WHITE center GREEN margin pattern. Trends occur in all things and I was able to see my affinity towards this coloring very blatantly. American Sweetheart has been on my radar. However, keeping within the desire of a 'diverse' garden I am inclined to hold out before purchasing anymore white center green margin hosta. At least until some of the 30+ I bought are in the ground.

Or . . . I can throw all rationale out the proverbial window and just do as you tell me (which might be easier now that I am reading how ridiculous all my data collecting and decision making is.)

Thank you again for your monkey-wrenching and enabling. I hope in 2013 we get to see more of your personal collection (and maybe some of those infamous driveway hosta).


    Bookmark   December 26, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Ludi, hang in there if you are a gambling man. Because I did not ORDER American Sweetheart from Hallson--it came as my BONUS PLANT for my last Hallson order of the season, coming to me October 8, 2012. Like having a Christmas present!

If I might make a request of Ken, how about doing for your most favorite hosta what you just did for American Sweetheart? You gave a great concise review of its virtues, and how it is proportioned. Now, I've said I like the scapes to be short in relation to the leaf clusters. I do not want hosta scapes to tower like a yucca flower stalk above its rosettes.

So Ken, could you perhaps drop a few breadcrumbs on the cement driveway for us to follow and learn how to be real hostaliers?

Like AlmostHooked, I see no problem in having both American Icon and Spartacus. If not now, then put the one not chosen on your Wish List. It is the way I make my reading list, and get books when they show up in a treasure hunt through a local really fine used book store.

Now, I had a NOID which SteveMass identified as Satisfaction. It should be leaping this next year, I think, because it dates from 2010May. I also bought as a Satisfaction a second plant, mid 2012 growing season. It does not look like the older Satisfaction, but it may be a maturity thing. Then, one thing leading to another, I took Steve's advice and also got Piedmont Gold--the hosta which sported Satisfaction!

Getting addicted to hosta is not a straight line from point A to is a long and winding road, with many curious turns leading you into uncharted territory, full of surprises and delights.

This is the NOID Satisfaction with a scape in March 2012

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:19PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

ah heck.. such kind words. .. from moc no less..

i say chuck the whole bunch.. and go for liberty ... as in Give me liberty.. or give me Death ..

i hate to say. but mine was near death last summer ... thank god for the digital memories ...


    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Sure does not look like it is close to a near-death experience there, Ken.

Love the Liberty, and you can Give me Liberty any time you find an extra one. I much prefer Liberty to Patriot or Minuteman. My Liberty looked fine, but my Minuteman and Patriot did not show me much. I'd just as soon have the "green and white" one.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 5:51PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

pix are forever.. those pix are from 2008 i believe ...


    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 6:30PM
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Ludi _PA_7a

Well the damage has been done ... order placed ... 37 total ... (I'm in over my head)

Baby Bunting
Blue Ivory
Blue Mouse Ears
Blueberry Muffin
Broad Band
Clifford's Stingray
Dancing Queen
Devon Green
Emerald Ruff Cut
Empress Wu
Frosted Jade
Goodness Gracious
Grand Canyon
Guardian Angel
Hollywood Lights
Hudson Bay
Hyuga Urajiro
Ice Follies
Journey's End
Luna Moth
Montana AM
Radiant Star
Rainbow's End
Rare Breed
Smooth Sailing
Touch of Class
Twist of Lime
White Bikini
Winter Snow

Spartacus ended up making the cut . . . and Satisfaction over American Icon.

OH CARP !!! I forgot to tack Satisfaction on there :( oops ... guess I will pick one up when I visit them in June :)

Sir Ken, your Liberty is gorgeous. I have the perfect spot for mine . . . now I just need a good 5 years for it to look as good as yours :p

Mocc I'm not sure that there is much left to throw in there for the bonus plant ... I pretty much cleaned house I think. Although American Sweetheart would be a nice surprise :p

Thanks again everyone for your input and pics :) always fun to share and now that the Hallson order is done I am on to my third and final . . . Land of the Giants . . . and from the looks of it they are having some early bird specials too if I read Bernd's post right.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 11:09PM
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Aha, well, if you are still ordering, then you'll get it.
Your list for Hallson contains some beauties. Just a question: do you already have Blue Cadet? I have gradually become enamored of this hosta, after viewing many gorgeous pictures shown on here. If it grows nicely, makes a really good shape, it might be worth getting for this year, Ludi.

I see you have some of my favorites on there....Winter Snow, Sagae, SMOOTH SAILING (oy yeah), Goodness Gracious, Emerald Ruff Cut, and.....Avocado! Do you already have a mama plantaginea? STRONG plant, takes a lot of abuse and keeps on growing. But...isn't that what Ken says about hosta in general? Throw it on the driveway....must have been a plantaginea he did that to.....they are the plant world's Timex....takes a licking and keeps on ticking.

Not that I'm prejudiced or anything....:)

    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Ludi _PA_7a


I do not have Blue Cadet ... it seems when deciding on solids I am a bit more particular about characteristics. I had been eying up Blue Jay ... which is from Dorset Blue ... Blue Cadet looks an awful lot like Gemstone which is another I was hoping to snag at some point. I did manage to get Parisian Silk from Naylor ... and it looks to be a show stopper.

I do not have a momma plantaginea. I fear I don't have enough sun for the plantaginea family, but I do have Stained Glass and now Avocado. I also ordered Emerald Charger from Naylor ... so I am not sure that I will get Cathedral Windows since Emerald charger is basically Cathedral Windows only with a twisted leaf. But I suppose if these do well then I could snag up a momma to chaperone the sports :p

Smooth Sailing has been on my list ever since you recommended it to me back in July. I am excited for the slim green margin on top of the bright yellow leaves. There is also Paradise Power which seems to grow more upright than Smooth Sailing, but that one is a bit harder to locate vendor wise.

You are prejudiced when it come to plantaginea don't lie :) I know you have a thing for those fragrant greens where I love my white centers.

FANTASTIC display in that picture though. If that is yours ... A+ for presentation.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2012 at 2:24PM
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