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Hosta are grown for their beautiful foliage with a variety of colors, shapes, size and textures to enhance any landscape. The hybridizers of today have not forgotten about the flowers; they are larger, more fragrant and in colors from the purest white to the deepest purple, with various shades of pink in between. Not too far into the future we may see red flowers waving above our beloved hosta.
Variegated hosta leaves include shades of green, blue and white/cream and golds, and can make a spectacular display in a mass planting or as a focal point in your garden. The many solid shades of greens, blues and golds are especially interesting when the leaf is pebbled, corrugated, cupped, wavy, and irresistible to the collector, the hosta fanatic, or the shade gardener. No worries if you have limited space, hosta make wonderful container plants as well.
Mini hosta work well in small areas, raised beds or in containers. Today there are many to choose from. See the top ten mini collectibles in the AHS popularity poll in this section.
For more information on hosta; See the hosta books available in our publications section or go the The American Hosta Society website. http://www.americanhostasociety.org/
The Minnesota Hosta Society hosts an educational event held yearly to introduce the general public to the genus Hosta.
The Hosta Show is a society event, accredited by the American Hosta Society (AHS) and is open for anyone to enter. Judging is conducted by AHS judges and is open for public viewing once judging is completed.
The show offers several different divisions for exhibiting, including cut leaf entries from both classic and older varieties along with newer and trend setting introductions.
Other exhibitors will enter hostas grown in containers, along with troughs/container gardens with hostas grown in them arranged for effect. Educational displays relating to hostas and arrangements using hosta leaves for artistic design complete the entry categories.
Society members are on hand during the public viewing times to answer any questions show visitors might have about America’s most popular perennial plant, and to distribute information about the propagation and cultivation of the ”friendship plant”.
Hosta Virus X is on the move and becoming more rampant as the years go by. So far there is no remedy. Much research has taken place, with no real solution or cure for this virus.
First and foremost: Clean your tools by scrubbing with a 10% household bleach solution, Dawn dish detergent, and 70% isopropyl alcohol if you suspect Hosta Virus X. Wash your hands and/or change your gloves. If the suspect Hosta virus X brushed against your clothing, change your clothes before handling another non-infected Hosta. The virus is spread by the sap in the plant. If any part of the root, stem or leaf is broken it can seep onto/into tools, and clothing/gloves.
The virus remains in the soil: Do not plant Hosta in the same location for a minimum of two growing seasons. (Note this time line may vary depending on circumstances, new research, and is not a guarantee the virus is no longer active. Be aware and cautious when planting Hosta in the same location).
It is up to us to know what to look for, and what to do next. Be proactive; help contain this virus in Hosta and do not give away, donate or sell Hosta with HVX. Notify nurseries who you think may be selling plants with the virus and ask them to remove plants from the sales area.
There are Test Kits available at: agdia https://orders.agdia.com/agdia-immunostrip-for-hvx-isk-16600
If you suspect and cannot clearly identify the virus this may be your solution to know for sure. If the test is positive for HVX, the result is the same; the Hosta must be destroyed. To destroy the plant, wait until it is dormant, or to expedite the process, use Round-up. It is a good idea to tie the plant up, so it does not touch another Hosta in the process of going dormant before removal.
For more detailed information on Hosta Virus X go to the American Hosta Society Web Site.
Hosta known to be susceptible for Hosta Virus X: Gold Standard – Sum and Substance – Birchwood Parkys’ Gold – Striptease – Royal Standard – So Sweet – Gold Edger – June – Blue Cadet
HVX is not limited to the listed Hosta. Hosta are infected by human interaction. Practice clean and safe handling of plant material and tools. Destroy all infected plants in the garbage, do not compost.
If your hosta are devastated by hail damage, know that they will come back with a little help. Make your own decision on how you want to proceed. There a couple thoughts on this:
1. Cut them off at the ground. Fertilize with liquid fertilizer and water well.
They will send a new flush of leaves for your hosta pleasure.
2. Trim the ragged leaves and remove broken petioles, fertilize with a liquid fertilizer and water. They will look the same for the rest of the summer.
Pictured: Two hosta ‘Granary Gold’. Both were shredded by hail in 2016. One was cut to the ground (left), and the other was trimmed to look it’s best (right). The one cut to the ground in 2017 was half the size of the trimmed hosta. By the end of summer 2017 the smaller one, which was cut to the ground still had not caught up to the one that was trimmed.
If you want your hosta garden to look nice, and cannot tolerate the ragged edge hosta, cut them to the ground. They will regrow, otherwise look forward to a better year next year.
Foliar Nematodes are microscopic round worms, which are not visible to the human eye. Nematodes live on the topside of the leaf and in the crown. They can devastate the appearance of a hosta leaf in a short period of time. They do not kill the plant, but they may weaken the plant by lowering its ability to generate energy for the next growing season. You will not know you have them until the leaves of your hosta show brown streaks between the vein tissue of the leaf. They do not cross the veins. Foliar nematodes can be found in over 250 other host plants. Check the plants around the suspect plant.
Foliar nematodes spread by contact from plant to plant via water as the method of transportation. Rain, and overhead watering, would be an example. Experts suggest drip irrigation, but that does not stop the rain as the vehicle of transfer. While they love water, heat allows them to reproduce faster, and dry conditions allow them to live for several years in dying plant materials.
In Minnesota, the sign of nematodes start showing up in July, and by August you will know for sure. Their entire life cycle can be completed in 2-4 weeks, and faster if the temperatures are high. One hosta plant can have multiple generations of nematodes living within.
Remove all infected leaves to the garbage, do not the compost. Clean up all leaves in the fall, and minimize overhead watering. You can dispose of the entire plant or accept you have this problem knowing the nematodes live in the crown, and possibly the ground and are hosted by many other plants within the garden.
A few years ago The Minnesota Hosta Society purchased an organic product called ‘Nemakill® as a group. It is sold by ExcelAg, Corp. We did not collect data on the results of the usage. This product has not been proven to eradicate the foliar nematodes, but at this time it may be our only hope.
For more information: http://www.americanhostasociety.org/Education/Nemotodes.htm
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