IDENTIFICATION — Unusual hosta leaves, like the one in the photo, could be symptoms of hosta virus X (HVX), a disease that’s spread rapidly in recent years.
DAMAGE — Though the virus doesn’t kill plants, the pigment and texture of the leaves may be distorted. (Markings can be mottled or have an “ink-bleed” look.) The biggest threat is how quickly the virus spreads to other hosta plants.
CONTROL — Healthy plants are infected when their sap comes in contact with the sap of an infected plant. So sterilize pruners or spades with a 10-percent bleach solution between plants as a precaution. To avoid rusty tools, dry them off afterward. There’s no cure for HVX so destroy infected hostas. For more information, go to www.hostalibrary.org