Lately I have seen a lot of chatter on Facebook about distorted Echinacea and Rudbeckia flowers in the garden. I too noticed this in my Virginia garden, so I looked it up.
Sure enough, my plants have “aster yellows.” Aster yellows is caused by a phytoplasma, a small bacterium. This is a disease that affects more than 300 species of plants, including asters, coneflowers, zinnias, marigolds, heleniums, and chrysanthemums. And it is not just ornamental plants but edibles such as garlic, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and celery. Continue reading