How to Save a Dying Hosta Plant

Overview

Hosta represents one of the most versatile plants in the perennial garden. Hosta foliage features wide leaves in various shades of green as well as variegated leaves. Hosta might be a tough plant, but it can be quite susceptible to molds and disease under certain conditions. If you find a dying hosta plant in your garden, act quickly to save the plant and prevent the loss of nearby plants. Examine the soil conditions, check for evidence of fungus and evaluate the mulch to help you decide on a course of action.

Step 1

Take a close look at the hosta leaves and stalks to gauge the damage to the plant. Look for yellowing leaves, dead centers or molds around the base where the plant meets the soil. Some molds put out seed-like balls during propagation. Visit the link in additional resources to help determine the cause of your dying hosta.

Step 2

Evaluate the condition of the mulch around the plant. If you recently placed a layer of mulch around the hosta, think back to the mulch application. If the mulch smelled strange or burned your eyes, the cause of your dying hosta lies in sour mulch. Souring occurs when mulch composts without regular exposure to air when it is stored in large piles or stacks of bags.

Step 3

Examine the center of the hosta plant to check for dead or dying stalks. Hostas expand outward with each successive season of growth. A dying center may simply indicate the normal growing cycle of the plant.

Step 4

Dig up the entire plant to prevent further burning or the chance of spreading fungus to nearby plants. Remove the plant from the garden and take it to a separate work area.

Step 5

Address dead center areas first. Gently pull the plant apart and separate the roots with the trowel into multiple sections with each containing an "eye" or sprout. Throw away any dead sections of the plant and replant the individual sections as new plantings.

Step 6

Return to the garden and remove the entire layer of sour mulch into a wheelbarrow using the rake and shovel. Sour mulch will burn all low-lying vegetation in addition to hosta, so this course of action will prevent additional damage to your garden bed. Dump the mulch onto the driveway and turn the pile every day, adding water every other day. The mulch should be safe to return to the garden after a week when the acid levels dissipate.

Step 7

Clip out a portion of the plant including any visible fungus and leaf damage to take to the garden center for evaluation. All-purpose fungicides can fight molds in the garden fairly well when they are applied regularly. Decide whether saving the plant and possibly spreading the fungus to other plants is worth the risk.

Step 8

Rinse and clean all garden tools, especially in incidences of hosta mold or fungus outbreaks. Place any damages leaves, stalks or bulbs into the trash. Don't place damaged or diseased plants in the yard waste recycling or compost pile.

Things You'll Need

  • Rake
  • Spade shovel
  • Trowel
  • Pruning clippers
  • Yard waste bags
  • Garden hose
  • Wheelbarrow

References

  • Iowa State University Extension
  • Purdue University Extension

Who Can Help

  • Hosta Disease Support Guide
Keywords: dying hosta, hosta care, hosta

About this Author

Currently studying for her Maryland master gardener certification, Sharon Heron has written professionally since 2006. Her writing includes hundreds of articles on a wide range of topics including gardening, environment, golf, parenting, exercise, finances and consumer how-to articles.