What's wrong with my hostas?

Asked June 26, 2019, 1:23 PM EDT

I asked this same question last summer and was told sun scorch. However, I have 10 hostas around my deck; while some of them get almost no sun, they are all suffering, more or less. Could it be leaf spot or a virus? I need to know before I rip them all out of the ground!

Ramsey County Minnesota hostas

1 Response

Thanks for the question.

My first response would be similar to the one you received last year: sun scorch. However your observation that all ten plants are now affected, even those in the shade, might argue against this possibility.

A common virus infecting hosta is Hosta Virus X. Your leaves show some of the characteristics of this virus but not all. The only sure way to ascertain if this might be he causative agent, a virus test should be performed. See the following sites, especially the you tube regarding testing:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/hosta/hosta-plant-diseases.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JX7d3GeGzY

This testing can be done rather quickly by you. This might be a good intermediate step to take before digging every thing up? If such testing is positive for this virus, the plants will have to be dug up and discarded in a trash bag. Do not compost them.

If this testing comes back negative, then the cause of this yellowing would most likely be due to one of several different types of fungal infections. Unfortunately, many of these are difficult to treat. These fungal spores survive in the soil. In the event that you eventually have to replace your plants, it would be wise to put them in locations different from where your current plants are growing. See:

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/foliage/hosta/hosta-plant-diseases.htm

Good Luck!!