Until about 20 years ago, the biggest problem for hosta was attack by slugs that besides enjoy damp, fishy spots. however, in the 1990s a disease was noted on some hostas, and in 1996 the pathogen was identified as Hosta Virus X. A virus is a modest particle of DNA or RNA ( genetic material ), wrapped in a protein coat that can be introduced into the cells of a plant with devastating results. The cells of the hosta become damaged, resulting in changes in how they function, which in turn affects how the plant looks. distinctive symptoms include changes in the coloration of the leaves – blue and green leaf hostas may develop yellow and/or egg white markings. There may besides be changes in flick texture, with leaves that are twisted, puckered or chunky .
These symptoms were initially thought to be interest variations. unfortunately, if you are not familiar with how your hostas should look, mild symptoms can be difficult to recognise. Hostas come in many colours ( blue, green, yellow and white ) and goodly plants frequently have variegated leaves, with patches of chicken and white on different parts of the leaf.
It is only as the disease progresses over several years and leaves begin to show severe pucker and patches of dead cells that you realize something is seriously wrong with your plant. This is particularly true with newfangled plants, ones you are less companion with. The disease has been spread by bringing in diseased plants that are initially merely gently affected. Some of the sweeping nurseries in Holland and the United States were found to have the virus in their grow fields, and this is likely where the disease originated .
When you find infect plants in your garden, there is no bring around except removal of the implant. You must carefully dig out and bag all the infect plant material, making certain to remove infect roots a well. Do not replant another hosta into this space until all the roots have rotted away ; probably three to four years to be on the condom side .
The virus is transmitted chiefly by cutting diseased plants and allowing touch of the infect plant ’ s blackjack with sap of a healthy plant. This can happen when dividing hostas, removing flower scapes ( the bloom stems ), removing leaves, stepping on them, even by chance running the lawnmower over them. Wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect all your tools with a bleach solution after handling diseased plants .
One of the best ways to avoid this disease is to buy hostas alone from companies that specialize in selling plants ( greenhouses, nurseries and seed suppliers ). Examine new plants cautiously, and if even alone one plant shows abnormal markings, it is best not to buy any from that batch. The hostalibrary.org listed a number of the varieties that were normally infected in 2007 .
Friends with established, healthy hostas are normally glad to share roots when they are dividing their plants. The Saskatchewan Perennial Society Plant Exchanges, held in May and September, are an excellent place to acquire divided hostas that have been split from healthy, established plants. Plant them in a suitable position, in a hole with well-worked dirty amended with compost, and water them in well. Keep them moist for several weeks, but do not over water. They should become establish promptly .
If you would like to read more about Hosta Virus X, and shade plants in general, there are many excellent articles in the 2018 edition of The Prairie Garden .
[ Jill Thomson is a plant disease specialist ( retired ) who enjoys garden in Saskatoon with her family, including the dogs. ]
— This column is provided courtesy of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society ( SPS ; saskperennial @ hotmail.com ). Check our web site ( www.saskperennial.ca ) or Facebook page ( www.facebook.com/saskperennial ) for a list of upcoming gardening events : Lots of garden classes in April/May at the U of S .