Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) plants are a lovely addition to any home, with their big leaves providing a fabulous decor that can’t be rivaled by much else.
Of course, the beauty of a pothos doesn’t come without some trouble of its own. While this is common knowledge for houseplant enthusiasts, problems can be scary for houseplant beginners.
One of the most commonly brought up problems regarding pothos plants is that they start having holes in their leaves out of nowhere, which can be troubling, especially if you have never experienced such a thing.
So, what would cause your pothos plant to have holes in its leaves?
Pests are the leading factor when it comes to causing your pothos plants to have holes in their leaves, especially if the holes started appearing without any other symptoms. To confirm that pests are indeed the problem, you should look for patterns that resemble bite marks around the holes.
While fungal diseases such as shot hole disease can also cause holes to appear in the leaves of your pothos plant, these diseases cause brown spots to appear on the leaves way before holes start appearing.
As pests are the primary reason for holes, and as fungal diseases come with other symptoms, we will be talking about treating pest-related problems and how to prevent them for the most part.
While this may be confusing as you would think that you would notice pests around your plants, these pests are rather hard to locate due to their size and their tendency to come out of hiding at night time.
If you have confirmed that the damage is done by pests, don’t panic just yet, as we will be talking about what you can do to treat your pothos plant how you can prevent it from being attacked by pests again.
Table of Contents
How to Treat a Pothos Plant With Holes in Its Leaves?
The first thing to do to treat your pothos plant is to examine it thoroughly and ensure no pests are present around the plant. As even one pest can cause more to come, you must leave no stone unturned during this examination.
A very common spot that is often overlooked is the bottom of the leaves, so make sure that you pay extra attention to it.
Spraying water on your plant and gently wiping it down is a great way to get rid of smaller pests without having to resort to chemical methods, while you will most likely have to pick out the larger pests such as slugs one by one.
That being said, water itself isn’t always enough to get rid of pests. In that case, a common non-toxic mixture you can use to get rid of pests is insecticidal soap, which is known to get rid of plenty of nasty pests such as aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and many more.
While insecticidal soap may sound fancy at first, it’s actually nothing more than a mixture of soap and water. To make insecticidal soap at home, combine five tablespoons of soap with a gallon of water. An important thing to consider while making insecticidal soap is to ensure that your soap is natural and not a detergent that contains extra ingredients.
Please note that this mixture can affect your plant negatively, which is why you should test it by spraying it on a single leaf before using it all over your plant.
While a homemade insecticidal soap mixture does the job most of the time, it may be necessary to invest in an insect spray in more severe cases. When choosing an insect spray, ensure that it’s non-toxic both for your plant and the members of your house, and just as you did with your homemade insecticidal soap, test it before you start regularly using it.
When you make sure that no pests reside directly on your plant, it’s time to repot your plant. As it is practically impossible to search for pests within the soil, completely replacing the pot and the soil is the safest way to eliminate pests.
While not necessary unless you’re having pest-related problems with all of your plants that are potted with the same soil, purchasing a fresh bag of soil is something you should consider, as pests could have made their way into your bag of soil as well.
Finally, move your pothos plant away from your other plants for a while. As pests can spread from plant to plant, it’s a good idea to eliminate that possibility.
If you are still having pest-related problems after all of this, it may be time to contact a professional about it.
How to Protect a Pothos Plant from Pests?
Preventing your pothos plant from being attacked by pests is much better than having to treat it after the damage has already been done.
As pest infestation can start with a single houseplant and spread all over your plants, the steps that you should take to protect your pothos plant start way before you even bring a plant into your house.
- Don’t buy plants from places that aren’t trustworthy. Plants that are sold by non-reputable shops are often not cared for properly, causing them to have all kinds of problems ranging from pests to fungal diseases.
- Examine every single plant you buy before buying it. A thorough examination will reveal pests or symptoms that point to the existence of pests. Start by going through the soil and work your way up to the leaves very carefully to ensure that you don’t miss any signs. If you stumble upon pests, make sure to inform the shop owner about it. Don’t ever buy a plant that even shows mild signs of pest infestation as it could spread all over your house.
- Consider repotting the plants that you have just bought. Repotting your plant in a clean pot with fresh soil will allow you to ensure that there is absolutely nothing in the soil that could cause a pest infestation. If you’re intending on re-using an old pot, make sure that you clean it thoroughly with soap.
- Keep new plants away from your existing plants for a while. As a potential pest infestation can take a while to be noticed, keeping your new plants in isolation will prevent the complete infestation of your plants if your new plant is harboring some pests. To be on the safe side, isolate your new plant for a few weeks before putting it together with the rest of your plants.
- Remove dead leaves regularly. Pests love feeding on dead leaves, meaning that keeping dead leaves on your plant will invite pests more than ever. By removing dead leaves, you will reduce the chance of a pest infestation and keep your plants healthy.
- Keep your plants clean by misting and wiping them with water. Regularly doing this will allow your plant to stay healthy, clean, and pest-free.
- Routinely examine your plants for any possible pests. By the time the effects of a pest infestation are obvious, the damage is already done. Because of this, you should frequently examine your plants to see if any signs could potentially warrant a pest infestation and prevent further damage from occurring.
- Spray your plants with insecticidal soaps now and then. Using insecticidal soaps is a practical way of getting rid of pests in your plants, even the ones that you don’t notice. By frequently spraying your plants with insecticidal soap, you can reduce the risk of a pest infestation before you even see any signs of it.
- Try to leave a healthy gap between your plants. As pests can easily travel between plants that are close to each other, the presence of a pest infestation in a singular plant can easily cause all of your plants to be infested. For this reason, it’s best to space your plants out in a way where their leaves don’t touch each other.
Should You Cut Off Leaves with Holes?
While it’s true that dead leaves attract pests, leaves having holes don’t always mean that they are dead.
If the leaves that have holes on them still look green and healthy, you should keep them as these leaves are still capable of feeding your plant.
On the other hand, leaves that look like they are drying out and changing in color should be cut off to allow healthy leaves to receive more nutrients and energy.
As pests are the most likely reason behind the holes on the leaves of your pothos plant, examining your plant for a possible pest infestation is the first thing you should do, especially if the holes appeared without any other symptoms.
While dealing with a pest infestation can be frustrating and scary, your plant will go back to its usual health in no time if you take the appropriate steps.
Also, remember that the best way of dealing with a pest infestation is to prevent it before it even happens!