Coneflower Aster Yellows Update

Three of my coneflower plants produced flowers that were quite strange. When I posted about this earlier this year, I was informed in the comments that this was probably due to a viral-like disease called aster yellows. After researching a little bit, I sadly agreed that's what is going on with my plants.

Since I haven't been able to remove them yet -- the only solution to this condition -- I thought I'd post some photos of how they've progressed.


The last time the blooms were just at the "stunted" stage, but now they're all producing the weird secondary blooms characteristic of aster yellows:

It's such a shame that I'll need to remove these plants. If there was no chance of the disease spreading to other plants (via sucking insects like leafhoppers) I'd leave them, but I'm not going to risk it.

Even with the disease, I still find their early flowers to be quite nice.

Sometimes the best thing you can do with a sick or struggling plant is get rid of it and replace it with something else. It may be difficult to do, but the garden almost always ends up being better afterward.

Good thing I've still got too many plants on the driveway, and some of them are coneflower seedlings.


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Gerhard Bock (Succulents and More)  – (July 20, 2011 at 9:57 AM)  

What a shame you have to remove them. I find them oddly attractive, too. How many plants are affected in total? Just the three you mentioned?

Rock rose  – (July 20, 2011 at 10:47 AM)  

I had this happen with cone flowers one year. I think a similar thing is found in saguaros- I saw what they call 'Monstrose' at the Wallace Garden in Arizona. They said it was also caused by a virus. Your pictures of the flowers are really great especially number 5.

earlysnowdrop  – (July 20, 2011 at 10:59 AM)  

How strange. Thanks for sharing this information.

NotSoAngryRedHead  – (July 20, 2011 at 11:22 AM)  

How sad. :( I finally confirmed (after months of denial) that my cannas are suffering from the canna virus. Now I'll keep an eye on my coneflowers just in case something terrible starts happening with them. Thanks for this post!

Cally  – (July 21, 2011 at 3:52 AM)  

They look like they are in fancy dress :0)

Boominathan Mohan  – (August 3, 2011 at 6:17 AM)  

first of all thank you. I am Boominathan from India, an agricultural graduate. I decided to work on this problem in Ph.D. These are not virus. They are phytoplasmas. If you need more information i can help you.

Unknown  – (June 2, 2014 at 4:24 AM)  

It is not a virus, it is a phytoplasma and trasmitted by cicades

Anonymous –   – (July 27, 2015 at 3:17 PM)  

Very beautiful pictures. Do you still see these symptoms this year?

Alan  – (July 27, 2015 at 4:53 PM)  

I have very few echinacea now. I ripped the infected plants out, and the deer have been eating the rest. :\

Cindi G  – (July 2, 2018 at 5:56 AM)  

Would love more information!

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