Contact Us

University of Illinois Extension serving Clark, Crawford and Edgar Counties

Clark County
15493 N State Hwy 1
Marshall, IL 62441
Phone: 217-826-5422
FAX: 217-826-8631
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

Crawford County
301 S Cross St
Suite 290
Robinson, IL 62454
Phone: 618-546-1549
FAX: 618-544-3222
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

Edgar County
210 W Washington
Paris, IL 61944
Phone: 217-465-8585
FAX: 217-463-1192
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 4:30 pm (Closed 12 - 1pm)

News Release

Accent photo

Hostas, A Popular Landscape Plant

Master Gardener Column

By Jan Phipps


            If you are a gardener with shade, I’m sure you grow hostas. They are popular landscape plants and for good reason. The foliage comes in a large variety of interesting colors, textures, and sizes. The delicate flowers, white or various hues of purple, stand tall above the leaves, seemingly saying, “Hey, look at me.” There are, however, several diseases that can strike hostas that gardeners should know about.

            Diane Plewa and Travis Cleveland, from the University of Illinois, identified several of the most prevalent pathogens infecting hostas.

            FOLIAR NEMATODES are microscopic worms that can attack any part of the hosta that is above ground. They swim through a film of water that covers the plant during extended wet conditions, and then enter the plant through natural openings or wounds. You will notice water soaked stripes between parallel veins on the leaves that then turn brown.

Wet conditions favor the spread of foliar nematodes. If you have to water hostas, stay away from overhead watering that wets the leaves, and sanitize your pruners when cutting out damaged leaves. The nematodes can overwinter in mulch. If you had a problem in the summer, pull all the mulch and plant debris away from the crown of the plant.

PETIOLE BLIGHT was previously called Hosta Crown Rot until it was discovered the blight attacks the petioles (the stems that attach the leaf to the plant) while leaving the crown unaffected. Petiole Blight is problematic because it can survive in and on the soil for years, waiting for the right conditions of warm, humid weather. You will notice wilting and discoloration on the lower leaves first, followed by the rest of the leaves farther up the hosta. Finally, the entire plant collapses.

Prevention and good sanitation is important in controlling this pathogen. Remove the infected plant carefully and put it in a plastic bag to get it off site. Next remove the top couple inches of soil being careful not to drop any. Do not compost the diseased plant or the soil.

HOSTA VIRUS X has been in gardening news a lot the past decade. The symptoms include yellowing, mosaics and necrosis (death) of the foliage. As a virus, it lurks in the infected sap and is easily spread by hands and tools. HVX can also lay dormant for years before any symptoms appear.  Destroy any plant showing symptoms and disinfect tools and gloves.

LEAF SPOTS are caused by a variety of fungi. They are usually more cosmetic than life threatening. Fungicides do work, but you have to start spraying before the symptoms appear.

NON-DISEASE PROBLEMS include sunscald, drought stress, and slugs. For the best results, grow hostas in the correct spot. Different varieties like differing amounts of shade with most favoring partial shade. A non-stressed plant is less likely to fall victim to disease or environmentally caused problems.

If you have questions about growing hostas, or have any gardening questions, please call the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners of Edgar County at


Local Contact: Rebecca Schiver, Office Support Associate,