Hosta Virus X epidemic

Discuss Hosta Virus X and share pictures and information on this ever increasing threat to hosta growing.

Moderators: Chris_W, redcrx

Postby Chris_W » Jul 08, 2004 9:45 pm

Roni, To dispose of the plant the easiest would be to just wrap them in a plastic bag and off to the landfill. Personally I wouldn't put them in the compost pile. We had a big bonfire and burned them all. Threw away all the pots, even though that wasn't really necessary.

Keith, if ammonia killed the virus without killing the plant we would all be using it. However since the virus is found at the cellular level, anything that would destroy it would also possibly kill the hosta. At least that is what I would think.

And Denise, your experience with Frank's Nursery is really interesting. I've been looking around at absolutely everything now and have seen the occasional uneven color changes and wondered just like you did. I think I will get a few tested just to feel better, but on some plants with misting or drastic color changes it does make you wonder...

Thank you all for your support. I'm going to start writing lots of letters tomorrow to various plant inspection agencies. When I get the correct addresses sorted out I'll post them so that others can write too.
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Postby roni » Jul 08, 2004 9:56 pm

Thank you for your advice Chris.

Please post the addresses when you get them sorted out, this is kind of scary and I think some agency should be working on the problem. Especially keeping the wholesalers disease free. We are so overregulated and inspected, I thought surely this couldn't happen.

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Postby renaldo75 » Jul 09, 2004 1:10 am

Interesting that this topic pops up on the very day that I actually saw hostas with Hosta Virus X. Parky's Gold [which I'd never seen offered anywhere I've been] and Gold Standard - both side by side on the tables at a very reputable nursery in west Omaha. I am always looking at what the box stores have to offer just for the heck of it, but had never seen the disease on any plants at Home Depot, Lowe's or Wal-Mart. Just ugly plants...
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Postby janet » Jul 09, 2004 6:18 am

Thanks for the info, Chris and I'll certainly join the letter writing campaign once you post the addresses.

There was an article in the June issue (#97) of Fine Gardening on HVX. It was good to see the effort to make a broader audience aware of this disease, how to recognize it and how to keep it from spreading. The author, who also wrote the cover story, is from Minnesota.
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Postby blonde elf » Jul 09, 2004 6:41 am

Reynaldo -- funny you should mention the nursery in west Omaha.... the one with the Hawaiian name? We were there in May and they had one whole table of "rare speckled" Parky's Gold. Yeh, right... "rare" ????? It makes me angry that a reputable nursery tries to sell diseased hostas to unsuspecting customers.

Chris -- I appreciate your honesty in telling us that you had some HVX at your place, and how you got rid of it. Thanks for keeping all of us alert to the problem!

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Postby Pandora » Jul 09, 2004 8:37 am

Here is an article I found from OSU. It is a couple years old, but I thought it might of interest.

http://fusion.ag.ohio-state.edu/news/st ... toryid=584
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Postby Robin » Jul 09, 2004 10:12 am

Roni, You are in luck! Lowes backs their plants for a year! Just put it some where, and the next time you have to go, take it with you. So what if it dies.
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Postby keith_novascotia » Jul 09, 2004 8:38 pm

Chris this is quite a problem for us all but the nursery bus. will suffer greatly when the buyers leave and the buyers will suffer when the hobby becomes a major headache. Is it possible to post and sticky as many e-mail addresses of suppliers and retailers so as many hosta lovers can e-maiil and complain. People in the US and Canada are seeing this from coast to coast. Only one store got rid of its virused plants in my area and thats because the head nursery person is also a gardner.Wallmart just went "so what". But if head office knew that the word was out that their plant sales would drop I suspect they would become our best buddies. I suggest a list because then the e-mails would arrive at the destinations in bulk and not be lost in the daily routine. Just a thought. I hope others will offer their opinion.
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APHIS

Postby Chris_W » Jul 09, 2004 9:03 pm

Okay, I did some digging through my import papers and found that plant imports, pests, and plant diseases is handled by APHIS (The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service). Here is the link to find the reporting office in your state for reporting a plant disease:

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/services/repo ... _pest.html

Click on your state and then you can write a letter to the director's address listed to report plant diseases, or call or fax.

There is also an address for the eastern office and western office.

It might be a good idea to write to both your state's office and your regional office.

I don't have email addresses yet, but it is definitely time to get the word out. Since the USDA is supposed to have inspectors IN HOLLAND they need to be watching for this :|
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Postby Robin » Jul 09, 2004 9:15 pm

Well I called our local office, and spoke to some of the nicest folks! Of course I had a seconday reason for calling, first I wanted to learn what I would need to do, to bring in a couple of hosta from out of the country and to see what we could do with that nursery in OK.

It ends up that the guy who can help me with learning the ins and outs of bringing a plant back is also one of the guys who goes to Holland to inspect bulbs! He's on vacation, but should call me back sometime next week.

The second guy, handles interstate. I don't think he know much about the virus, but he was interested in learning about it. We'll see what happens.

Don't know if it would do any good, but you know where Walmart is based out of... Arkansas.

While I know who the supplier was in this area, if you'all would take a peek at the tags on your next trip shopping and send me the info (which Wal-mart, and whos tag), I'll be more that happy to see if I can rattle a cage or two.
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Postby hostaaddict » Jul 09, 2004 10:14 pm

Thanks for the heads up, Chris. This is scary! We all love our hostas and have so much time and money invested in our gardens. It is sad that these growers would dump these virused hostas on the public and on to individual growers like you who buy so many of them. I feel badly that you had to destroy all those hostas. You are such a reputable grower and the fact that you are growing yours for some time before selling them speaks volumes. We now must all be vigilant (too bad!).............Jackie
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close look at virus X

Postby buster » Jul 12, 2004 7:14 am

http://www.agdia.com/cgi_bin/slideshow. ... 8346210727 :eek:
will a plant with virus X die?
what will happen if I leave an infected plant in its place and not mess with it?

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Postby Chris_W » Jul 12, 2004 10:29 am

Theoretically if you leave a hosta with virus x in its place and don't ever cut into it or mess with it the virus shouldn't spread. HVX apparently doesn't get transmitted by nematodes or sucking insects like other virus can. However there are other types of virus out there that can be spread easily, so in my opinion I don't see why a sick plant should ever be left in the garden.

Some hostas with HVX will appear to grow just fine. Others will be badly affected and look just horrible, but the virus doesn't seem to ever kill the host plant.
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Postby keith_novascotia » Jul 13, 2004 3:05 pm

It would be interesting to know if the wallmarts of the world lurk on sites like this or are we to far down in the food chain. I suspect that if and when they get the message that we can go elsewhere and will they will get the message. They can talk about customer satisfaction but only the almighty $ move them.
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Cutting flower scapes??

Postby Richiegirl » Jul 14, 2004 9:44 am

I am wondering if cutting flower scapes from a virused hosta could spread it to the next one. Chris, do you know? If it's the plant "juices" that are the problem, it would seem to me that cutting leaves and/or scapes might spread it. ?????

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Postby blonde elf » Jul 14, 2004 3:20 pm

Keith, diseased hostas are not showing up at just WalMart or other discount stores. They are being sold at the high-end, fancy-smancy nurseries -- in fact, those are the only places I've seen them. I don't know if the nursery owners/managers don't know about Hosta X, or if they are purposely selling them (which really chaps my hide! :evil: )

We, the buyers, have to know what the diseased hostas look like and avoid buying them -- whether at WalMart or the most expensive nursery in town.

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Postby Chris_W » Jul 14, 2004 5:11 pm

Richelle, I was thinking the same thing the other day - does cutting a leaf or scape and then cutting another spread the virus... So now I keep a jar of alcohol and dip my scissors into them.

We sent more plants off to be tested this week. They came from DeVroomen, Holland, and are looking suspicious :(

Once I've compiled all of the info I'll be sending it off to the USDA about it.

And Laura, I think that many nursery owners/managers just don't have a clue about HVX. But then again we have the deceptive online sellers who are billing them as "new" and "rare"... It really is important to know what to look for.
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Postby hostarod » Jul 14, 2004 5:53 pm

Yes Chris, I have been told that it will spread through open wounds also, Hostarod
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Postby thy » Jul 14, 2004 6:01 pm

The picture of Golden Tiara look exactly as the ones i got in a bag of 10 mixed hostas last spring.3 of them was undulatas and planted in my garden, the rest was unknown and planted in pots on the patio. First they looked very nice 2 colored, but after some time they got the same brown spots as in your pic, and they spread. It was the time I first read abouth hosta virus X, and after a few weeks they hit the trash. The undulatas are still fine, even they have been cramed in a bag.

Holland is the biggest plant exporter in the world. What about contacting lots of other respectable nurseries, hosta library, the hosta societies and make a common front against them. Hit them on their money, think it is the only thing they understand. It is not a new problem no more, and they have no excuses.
This in conectionwith the inspectors will hit the bad ones - I hope :-? .

Thanks for the update

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Postby keith_novascotia » Jul 14, 2004 6:35 pm

Chris ,and I though my glass of sherry was to enjoy while looking at my garden and now you tell me its for dipping my knife in--how sad.
Blonde elf and others. I e-mailed both Canadian tire and wal-mart canada last night to mention to them about noticing what I am sure were virused plants in my Nova Scotia location. I told Cdn. tire that the employes destroyed the plants and that they should contact their suppliers with our concerns. I told wal-mart that the employes could not have cared less and that as of last week some of these plants were still there, I also mentioned the supplier notification and today,18 hours latter I got a call from their supplier in BC. He was very nice and told me he was unaware of a hosta virus. I mentioned that he should review posts on this site to get a better handle on what our concerns are. I feel certain that he will take up my suggestion. But it sounds like we need more Canadians to e-mail or call these places to make a bigger impact on the retail outlets.
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