Why are There Holes in My Pothos Leaves?

Strange Holes In Pothos Leaves
Holes in Pothos Leaves (Source: AreneLin/ Reddit)

As delightful as gardening sounds, it doesn’t come without a few challenges. Temperatures and climates are unchangeable. So is spring, which brings along lots of new leaves along with leaves eaters that may cause holes in pothos leaves!

Holes in monstera leaves look divine; the more, the better. However, if you start developing cavities in your pothos leaves, it is a grave problem that needs to be dealt with as soon as possible.

If a single pothos leaf has a tiny hole, you can snap off the leaf and ignore it. However, if your beautiful pothos suddenly starts developing numerous holes in the leaves, it might give you a severe headache. All you love and care in vain!

One of the most common reasons for having holes in your pothos leaves is the presence of Liriomyza Melanogaster in the soil. Another reason can be the fungal infection known as ‘black spot,’ which makes holes in the plant leaves.

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Variegated Pothos
Variegated Pothos (Source: Wikimedia)

Or, you might have damaged the leaves when transporting the plant. And, you have to be unlucky for your pothos to have developed leaves holes as a result of spot disease.

Initially, you might blame the ladybugs or grasshoppers, assuming they might have munched upon your pothos leaves. But, let me tell you something, most insects don’t enjoy the taste of your pothos as much as other plants.

Do you want to understand what is wrong with your pothos leaves and why exactly is this happening?

Well, every problem has a solution. So let us jump straight into the article and save your pothos!

The Causes of Holes in Pothos Leaves

1. Liriomyza Melanogaster

Have you ever heard about the leaves mining flies that tunnel into the leaf tissues of plants?

Liriomyza melanogaster is one of such insects that might be damaging the pretty leaves of your pothos plant, and locating their presence is quite a challenging job as they tend to hide in the soil during the daytime. 

They are technically night lovers. They come out during the dark hours and feed on your plant tissues.

If you think these snotty pests are troubling your pothos, you can go to a plant shop and buy some Phoxim or other insecticides that might keep them away for good. Also, make sure to remove the damaged leaves.

However, if the entire pothos plant is infected, it is recommended not to remove more than 25% of the leaves at a single time.

2. Accidental Wear and Tear

Are you among those people who love to re-position your plant frequently? Are you continually changing your room theme and decoration? If so, I hate to say this but, you are the wrongdoer here!

Many times, when we are re-positioning our plants, they suffer wear and tear.

You might have unknowingly damaged the leaf blade or internal tissues. They might not be evident immediately but will show up in a few days.

Sometimes the pothos leaves are damaged at a very young age, and they start developing holes as they mature. So next time, let us be super careful when moving our plants around the house.

3. Leaf Spot Disease

Leaf spot disease is a plant lover’s worst nightmare! And I am not exaggerating. If your pothos has leaf spot diseases, it is easily transferable to other healthy plants. So, how to figure out if it’s a leaf spot disease or something else?

Well, it always starts as harmless tiny spots in a few leaves that are mostly negligible. In the meantime, it affects numerous leaves around, giving them similar brown spots. Later on, as the disease develops, the holes start to appear in the foliage.

holes in pothos leaves
Pothos in the wild (Source: Unsplash)

As soon as you see such leaves, it is best to snap them off the plant and burn the leaves immediately. Why burn, you may ask.

Remember, it is exceptionally communicable. Therefore, it is essential to isolate the infected plant and keep other healthy plants close to it under observation.

You will also find some drugs that you can use to remove the disease entirely. Therefore, plant enthusiasts recommend cleaning your pothos leaves with light disinfectant once every two months. As the old saying goes, safety is always better than cure!

4. Shot Hole Disease

Shot hole disease is commonly observed in fruit plants but has also been observed in a few types of indoor pothos. If you have the habit of keeping your pothos in wet soil, this might be the reason for the holes in the leaves.

The shot hole is a fungal infection that thrives in a wet environment and mainly affects the newly budding leaves. It initially begins with reddish to purplish-looking spots on the leaves. They eventually get more prominent and appear as gunshot holes on the leaves.

The best way to never let your pothos get these gunshot holes is to check on watering habits. Make sure you water your pothos only when the topsoil is dry. Then, you can add some perlite to increase the aeration in your plant pot.

5. Lack of Humidity

If you see that only new leaves are developing holes, the problem lies in the humidity levels of your apartment. 

A dry environment is a big no for pothos; they prefer a good level of humidity.

When the air is significantly dry, the ridges of your leaves tend to get crispier due to water loss. And as new leaves unfurl, they might be sticking together. And, due to the lack of elasticity, the fresh leaves are damaged in the process of unfurling.

Hence, they develop small to large holes as a result of early damage. Therefore, it would be a good idea to get a good humidifier and place it close to your pothos. Or, you can place a bowl of water close to your plant as a budget-friendly humidifier!

6. Excessive Fertilization

Yes, excessive fertilizers burn the leaves as they can increase the salt concentration in the soil significantly and alter the soil’s natural pH levels.

This, in turn, leads to permanent damage in the tissues of the plant.

Hence, if you find that your leaves are either turning black or producing holes, keep away your fertilizers for some time. Unfortunately, holes in pothos leaves are widespread among those gardeners who frequently use solid nitrogen fertilizers.

It is best not to fertilize your pothos if it is doing fine without plant vitamins. And if you feel it necessary, always opt for liquid fertilizers and read the label carefully for an accurate dose. Of course, it is always a good idea to go for natural and organic fertilizers.

Sometimes in the hopes of doing good, we end up creating more problems for our plants!

holes in pothos leaves
Holes in leaves of a plant (Source: Unsplash)

Are Slugs and Garden Snails Leaving Holes in Pothos Leaves?

Figuring out the kind of insects responsible for holes in your pothos leaves is not a challenge. Instead, it is a sort of detective activity as the offenders always leave their mark!

Here’s something interesting, slugs and garden snails eat up almost anything and everything that appears green. They don’t care about the taste!

If you have an outdoor pothos plant with broken-leaf ridges, check the plant. You will undoubtedly find one of these snooping around. They are more common in the rainy seasons. However, they don’t exactly create holes in plant leaves.

They devour the plant leaving an empty stalk or broken leaves. In any case, it is best to keep your pothos away from these wild-eaters!

Place a few crushed eggshells or anything sharp around your plant pot to prevent them from feeding upon your pothos leaves.

The same goes for caterpillars. They either wholly eat the leaves or leave C-like structures.

The best way to get rid of caterpillars from your outdoor pothos is to spray the plant and the pot with a mixture of water and chilly powder.

However, make sure not to let this mixture get into the soil.

On the other hand, aphids, squash bugs, and spider mites are known to poke tiny holes in plant leaves and suck the juices out of the plant. The holes created in due process are tiny and brown.

holes in pothos leaves
Caterpillar in a plant stalk (Source: Unsplash)

Are your holes transparent? Do they look as if the chlorophyll has been sucked out, leaving on a plastic-like structure behind? Well, sawflies chew holes in the leaves. So they make it look intact but transparent. 

Japanese beetles also tend to leave skeleton-like holes in pothos leaves. They are often easy to spot as they are found in large numbers feeding on a warm and sunny day.

On the other hand, Flea beetles don’t entirely chew on the leaves; instead, give your pothos plant a windowpane-like look. They eat the leaves partially, leaving a miniature shotgun blast appearance. 

And guess what, the Flea Beetles hate the smell of garlic and cloves. So there you have your natural flea beetle repellent.

Once you identify these troublemakers, you can spray some natural or store-bought broad-spectrum insecticide to get rid of all these juice-sucking devils. However, garden snails and slugs are mollusks, not insects.

Insecticides don’t work for them; hence you can invest in a good molluscicide to get rid of these slippery pests in no time.

About four to five applications are enough to get rid of them for a long time. However, it is best to keep an eye on the plant for repeated infestation.

How to Prevent Holes in Pothos Leaves?

There are various organic solutions as well.

1. Neem Oil Solution

A good old trick is to spray your pothos plant with diluted neem oil every once a month.

Neem oil is a natural solution to those naughty leaf miners eating away your leaves. As a natural solution, you can spray the mixture to other healthy plants to avoid bacterial or fungal infections.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Solution

Apple cider vinegar is a natural fungicide and insecticide.

Wipe down your pothos leaves with a diluted mixture of apple cider vinegar once a month to keep the pests away.

Mix one part of apple cider vinegar with five parts of water to make a potent mixture.

3. Dish-Soap Mixture

Spraying your pothos with a mixture of dish soap and water is the easiest way to eliminate any bugs and mites in your plant.

The smell of dish soap and its slippery nature repels them from the plant.

4. Changing the Potting Mix

If it is the Liriomyza Melanogaster destroying your pothos leaves, it would be best to change your potting mix.

They are pretty resistant to pests, and using insecticide alone might not get rid of them completely. While changing the potting mix, make sure to clean the roots with running water properly.

5. Sterilized Soil

Regular garden soil has plenty of microorganisms, and not all of them are beneficial to the plant. Insects, fungal spores, and bacteria are prevalent in all types of garden soil. Therefore, it is best to use a sterilized potting mix for your indoor pothos.

6. Spraying Habits

Spraying your indoor plants with water is therapeutic for sure. But, too much of it can cause severe damage to your plant, as a moist environment is best for the growth of fungus and bacteria.

It is essential to wipe down your plant after you spray them with plain water. Or, don’t spray your pothos too often.

Conclusion

If this serves as a consolation, let me inform you that holes in pothos leaves are not very common. However, leaf spot disease and pests are the most common factors that affect the appearance of your pothos plant.

Even if you have never encountered such issues with your pothos, it is best to uses a natural insecticide as a preventive measure. For example, I have been spraying all my indoor plants with a diluted mixture of neem oil for years.

And, I would recommend all plant parents to do the same, at least once in two months. Then, trust me; your plants will never have to fight any pests, fungus, or bacteria.

Are you ready and fully equipped to find the solution for the holes in your pothos leaves?

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