Showing posts from July, 2010

Hosta Crown Rot

You walk outside to your garden to see how your garden is growing when you stop in your tracks. That beautiful hosta that looked healthy several days ago is now sprawled out on the ground with browning leaves. With careful inspection you find that the stems at ground level are no longer attached to the plant. Your hosta has crown rot! Crown rot is a fungal disease caused by Sclerotium rolfsii and it can severely damage established hostas within a week. Crown rot was normally found in the southern United States, but it is now found in Midwest gardens. Crown rot starts during prolonged hot, humid weather. In my zone it has been very hot, very humid and with lots of rain. Perfect conditions for this disease.

The bottoms of the petioles are brown, mushy and you will find some small white to rust colored spheres, called sclerotia, which are about the size of a mustard seed. Sclerotia can survive cold winters. Also present will be fluffy white threads (mycelium) on the crown of the plant an…

"Black Lace" in the Garden

Several years ago, I started adding plants with dark colored leaves to the garden. One plant that I added was Sambucus nigra "Black Lace". This plant was developed from the Elderberry plant. It has a beautiful finely cut leaf that reminds you of a Japanese Maple. The leaf color is dark purple to a near black. It grows in zones 4 to 8 and prefers sun to part shade. I grow mine in the sun for the best color. It needs plenty of space to grow to reach it's full size of 6 to 8 feet. In the late spring it produces a light pink colored flower. I added this plant to my garden 5 years ago and since then, I have added three more for the great color that they provide to the garden. I grow my "Black Lace" mixed into my perennial borders. They look wonderful with roses, day lilies and other flowering perennials. Sambucus nigra is a very easy to grow plant that gives a lot of color to the garden and works well at showing off the colors of all your other flowers in the garde…