Hosta HVX ?

Asked July 1, 2015, 2:15 PM EDT

I had posted a photo on Instagram and was contacted by a hosta gardener that my hosta looked very ill with Hosta HVX and could possibly contaminate my garden. I was just out ready to dig it up and I contacted a Master Gardener who suggested I contact this office. I don't recall when I planted it but I haven't bought any new hostas this year. What do you know about Hosta HVX? How prevalent is it in our area? Can you tell by a photograph? Do I really need to dig up my hosta and destroy it? What do you think?

St. Mary's County Maryland disease flowers perennial hostas

3 Responses

Hi,
Yes, this appears to be the hosta HVX virus. It is not likely to lead to death of the infected hostas. Although it is not known to have an insect vector, it is spread through the sap. Don't divide infected plants to control the spread of the disease. If you prune foliage on infected plants and use the same tools (including your hands) when handling uninfected plants, you transfer the virus through the sap from plant to plant. If you choose to keep the plants, clean tools with alcohol before using on healthy hostas. At the end of the season, do not put foliage in the compost pile. If you choose to remove the plants, do not compost. Discard with the trash. Also, do not plant healthy hostas in the same location. RM

How can I tell if my other hostas have HVX?

Should I dig it up and dispose of it?

Cindy

Hi Cindy,

That puckered seersucker look is one of the symptoms indicative of the virus. So it may already have spread in your landscape. Although a lab test would give you a definitive answer, the answer will be the same. There is no cure.

There are at least 2 schools of thought on how to deal with it.
1. Dig up infected plants and set them out for the trash - do not compost. Don't plant new hostas in the same area.
2. Live with the infected plants and enjoy the seersucker look (or whatever form the virus expresses). Don't divide the plants. Clean and sterilize tools used on all hostas when pruning or cleaning up at the end of the growing season. This will help prevent the spread of the virus to non-infected hostas.

I hope this helps with your decision. From the photos you sent, it looks like you have a lovely hosta collection. You can keep posting on Instagram and inform others on symptoms of HVX and how you decide to deal with it.

Ria Malloy