Help!

Asked September 29, 2018, 4:16 PM EDT

Hello, I have several questions. My first question being, when, if ever, should I prune phantom and Annabelle hydrangeas? Second question is, what the heck is wrong with my hostas? They look like something is eating the ends off of them, and the tips are turning brown. I don't see any bugs in the leaves, and we don't have deer in our area. And my third and final question is, something is going awry with my jade houseplant. It's got a white fuzzy substance in the spaces between the leaves and stems. When I pinch the substance off, it is red on the inside. Thanks for your help!

Oakland County Michigan gardening hostas

1 Response

Hello!

Both your Phantom (species Hydrangea paniculata) and Annebelle (species Hydrangea arborescens) bloom on "new wood", so should be trimmed in the fall or winter. Except for removing old blooms or scraggly growth, wait until the leaves fall, so the plant can take full advantage of their food making capability. (It's also easier to see what your're pruning when the branches are bare.) This link provides a nice summary of when to prune which species of hydrangea: https://ucanr.edu/datastoreFiles/268-86.pdf

Most of the hosta damage appears to be slug damage. We don't often see this pest, since it feeds at night. You can set traps for them using small boards set on the ground and held up at an angle. During the day, they seek shelter under the board, and can be collected and discarded. Alternately, you can use diatomaceous earth or one of the chemical pesticides marketed to rid your garden of slugs to protect your plants (https://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/2006/jun/070201.htm).

The hostas may also be showing some signs of fungal infection--the tan areas. At this point in the season, simply remove and dispose of the infected leaves. If the problem is severe, you can treat new growth with a fungicide, but from the photo, it appears to be a minor problem.

It looks like your jade plant has mealybugs. Simply wipe them off with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol. You're have to do this frequently/repeatedly in order to eliminate the infestation, as you're only removing the adult insects. The eggs are tiny and hidden in crevices in the plant. Here's some additional information about jade plants and treating mealybugs:

https://wimastergardener.org/article/jade-plant-crassula-ovata/

http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/mealybugs_a_common_pest_of_indoor_plants

Regards,