Check for hosta virus X in your greenhouse

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

Growers need to be on the lookout for this important virus pathogen of hosta. Look over plants that are flushing out their leaves. Over the last few years this problem has been on the increase. The following information was provided from the publication: A Pocket Guide for IPM Scouting in Herbaceous Perennials by Jan Byrne and Raymond A. Cloyd. Purchase this in a pocket-sized guide for reference in the greenhouse or nursery from MSU Extension (publication E-2981).

If you suspect this problem, contact your local greenhouse Extension educator or send samples in to the MSU Diagnostic Services Lab.

Pathogen: Hosta virus X (HsVX).

Hosts: Hosta.

Symptoms: Cultivars vary in their susceptibility, symptoms vary as well. Mottling or mosaic patterns on the foliage are common. Foliage may be puckered or distorted. Severely affected foliage may become necrotic. Blue-flowered cultivars may have color breaking.

Spread: The most significant source of disease spread is through movement of infected plant material. The virus is sap transmissible and therefore, can easily be spread during plant propagation. This virus is not spread by insect vectors.

Management: Infected plants can not be treated and should be removed and destroyed. Carefully inspect all incoming plant material, particularly that coming in from outside the United States, to be sure it is free from symptoms. Material to be used for propagation should be tested prior to propagation. Contact your local plant diagnostic lab to see what testing options are available. The MSU Diagnostic Services lab offers HsVX testing by ELISA. Regularly disinfest equipment used during propagation or trimming to avoid sap transmission of the virus.

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Mottling on hosta foliage caused by hosta virus X.

Leaf infected with host virus X.

Plant infected with hosta virus X.

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