By: Garden Gate staff
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Stop hosta troubles
Even with perfect growing conditions, easy-care hostas can still run into a few problems. Catch them early, though, and you won’t have as much damage to deal with.
Click ahead to find out more about three hosta health issues and how to stop them!
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Hosta virus x
It’s difficult to spot this relatively new disease because symptoms vary on different cultivars. Generally, look for leaf mottling, like in the photo here. Twisting, stunting or puckering of foliage and stems are also warning signs.
Once you find a hosta that has it, get the plant out of your garden. This virus spreads easily through the sap, so anytime you cut a leaf, divide a clump or remove flower stems you could be spreading the disease. Prevent this by dipping tools in a 10:1 bleach and water solution before moving onto another plant. (When you finish, be sure to dry tools thoroughly so they don’t rust.)
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These microscopic worms live in soil and devour the foliage between leaf veins. Look for brown spots, like the ones in the photo at left, from late summer to early fall — but since control is difficult, prevention is your best bet.
Remove any infected leaves and throw them in the trash as soon as you can. And since this pest spreads as water splashes from plant to plant, keep leaf surfaces as dry as possible by watering at ground level.
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Slugs are probably the most common pest you’ll find on hostas. If you notice irregular holes like these during the growing season, get out the Sluggo® or other iron phosphate bait. It’s safe to use around kids and pets and works on snails, too.
Scatter, don’t pile, the bait in thin strips around the base of the plant for the best results. To keep slug populations from really getting out of hand, put bait out in early spring as prevention. You can spread it as soon as new hosta leaves are peaking out of the ground.