Pothos is easy to care for and isn’t subject to a lot of issues, but you might end up with holes in Pothos leaves. This article provides solutions to 7 possible causes.
In this article, we’ll list the possible reasons that affect the way the leaves look and explain how to save your plant.
Why Does My Pothos Leaves Have Holes?
Finding holes in the leaves of your photos plants is annoying because these holes ruin the overlook of the plant that you’ve spent so much time taking care of.
These holes mainly happen because of pest infestation. Although pothos isn’t prone to infestations, it’s not 100% immune. In most cases, if you have an outdoor pothos plant, leaf miners will be the culprit. They can spread from another outdoor plant easily and infect yours.
It’s important to determine the real cause behind the holes found in the leaves to find the right solution.
The presence of liriomyza melanogaster in the soil, whether you’re growing your pothos inside or outside, is usually the reason why you have holes in the leaves of your plant. These are leaf-mining flies that damage the tissue of the leaf and eat different parts, leaving holes or tunnels as a piece of evidence. These flies are difficult to detect because they’re nocturnal; they become active at night and stay hidden during the day.
The larvae have spiked mouths that they use to suck on the sap found in the leaves. At the same time, the adult flies puncture the leaves to lay their eggs.
These pests stay dormant as pupae during winter, and the adult flies lay their eggs in April and May. The flies insert the eggs into the leaves, so the larvae have access to food. The larvae feed on the leaves tissue and leave several holes as evidence. After that, they drop to the ground to turn to pupae, and the cycle continues.
Unfortunately, too many holes in Pothos leaves make them unable to perform photosynthesis, and they eventually die. These holes also become entry points for bacterial and fungal infections that damage the leaves furthermore.
Leaf miners like liriomyza melanogaster don’t kill the plant or affect its growth, but they damage leaves and edible parts of the plant. They don’t affect flowers because they feed on the leaves at night when the flowers aren’t in bloom.
They can leave spots, holes, patches, or zigzag lines. These show the way the larvae had to dig their way out of the leaves.
Unlike liriomyza melanogaster that leaves mines or tunnels on the leaves, slugs and snails leave rounded holes all over the leaves as they feed on the leaves and the sap. You can detect the presence of slugs and snails by finding the slime that they leave as they feed on the leaves.
Slugs and snails can be seen in the soil of indoor plants. However, if you have an outdoor plant, they can be spread all over your garden and affect several plants at the same time.
Bush crickets can also infest your plants, leaving annoying holes in Pothos leaves . They leave irregular holes, just like liriomyza melanogaster, but they don’t usually lay their eggs in the leaves. In some cases, they lay their eggs in the soil.
Bush crickets usually infest outdoor pothos plants. They feed on the plant at night and stay hiding throughout the day.
Caterpillars feed on the leaves of the plants from the outside towards the center. The edges of the leaves look chewed, and they move to another leaf when they’re done eating the first one. Most caterpillars are nocturnal.
Leaf spot disease is another reason why you might end up with holes in pothos leaves. Leaf spot can be caused by a bacterial or fungal infection that leaves small spots on the leaves. When left untreated, these spots turn into holes.
Rust leaf spot disease appears on the underside of leaves, usually during late summer. Excessive watering can make the leaves more prone to leaf spot disease. Anthracnose is another type of leaf spot disease, where the holes in pothos leaves are small and surrounded by black edges.
Although not common, leaf spot disease happens when pothos is subject to overwatering. When the soil is too wet, this creates the perfect environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive.
These start an infection in the leaves, and the plant fights this infection by killing off that part of the leaves to prevent the disease from spreading. As a result, you’ll end up with holes that have brown edges. If the water used to water the plant is fungi or bacteria-infected, the plant will kill the infected spot to save the rest of its body.
Malnutrition can be the cause of holes in Pothos leaves, especially if you have indoor plants. Since these plants aren’t in contact with bugs and pests that can be found outside, your plant might not be receiving enough nutrients, and these cause holes that spread from one part to another.
Physical damage during transportation or repotting can cause the presence of holes on the leaves. This can also happen when the plant is young and the leaves are still growing, especially if the plant is kept in a high-traffic area. This damage can manifest in the presence of multiple holes that appear when the leaves mature.
How to Treat the Holes in Pothos Leaves?
Unfortunately, once holes start to form on the leaves of your pothos, you can’t undo this. But there are a few things that you can do to prevent the problem from spreading to other parts of your plant.
If pests cause the holes in Pothos leaves, you can follow these tips to get rid of the pests and prevent them from damaging your whole plant.
- If you have outdoor pothos, think about introducing parasitic wasps.
- Apply neem oil or a broad-spectrum insecticide. Make sure to spray the insecticide at night because liriomyza melanogaster is nocturnal.
- If you see slugs or snails, remove them by hand. You can also create a trap by filling a saucer with beer and placing it near the base of the plants. The slugs and snails will be attracted to the beer and will drown in it.
- If bush crickets cause holes in pothos leaves, consider turning off the lights at night. You can also introduce the pests’ natural predators like cats, birds, lizards, and spiders.
- Caterpillars can be handpicked and discarded. They can also be controlled using parasitic wasps.
Leaf spot disease is usually caused by overwatering your pothos plant. Here is what you can do to control it.
- Avoid misting the leaves and apply the water directly onto the soil.
- Aerate the soil regularly before watering the plant.
- Make sure that the soil is dry between watering sessions by touching it. The uppermost 2 inches should be dry before you add more water to the plant.
- Promote better ventilation by pruning and spacing your plant.
- Apply an adequate fungicide before the disease spreads to other parts of the plant.
- Cut off the infected leaves to make sure that the infection doesn’t spread.
In most cases, your pothos might be suffering from nutrient deficiency because it’s not receiving enough nutrients from the soil. In this case, you can do the following.
- If your pothos isn’t receiving enough boron, you can dilute boric acid and apply it every 1 or 2 months with the water.
- Apply an adequate amount of diluted fertilizer every month. You shouldn’t overfertilize your pothos as this can cause mineral overload. If you think that you’ve applied too much fertilizer, remove the plant from the pot and rinse the roots to flush out any excess minerals, and then repot it again.
In most cases, the plant suffers from physical damage while it’s still growing. When the leaves show holes, it’s probably because they were subject to damage when your pothos was still weak and young. Here’s what you can do.
- When you’re moving and repotting the plant, make sure that you’re handling it with care.
- When you’re planting your pothos outside, leave adequate space between your pothos and other plants.
- As an indoor plant, keep your pothos away from the kids’ play area. Make sure that your pets have no access to the plants.
Pothos is easy to care for and isn’t subject to a lot of issues, but you might end up with holes on the leaves. These holes in pothos leaves are usually caused by leaf miners, but malnutrition, overwatering, and physical damage can also cause holes in the leaves.
It’s crucial to determine the real cause of the problem to find the right solution. Use the adequate insecticide or fungicide to get rid of whatever is causing the holes on your pothos, and make sure that you’re following an adequate watering and fertilizing schedule.