What’s Eating Holes In My Pothos Leaves?

Holes in your pothos ornamental leaves are not simply an eye-sore. They could be a sign of a bigger issue.

Today, I’ll help you determine what causes holes in the pothos foliage.

Insect infestation is the main cause of holes in pothos leaves. Spray your plants at night time with Spinosad, Neem oil, or a systemic insecticides to eliminate leaf-mining insects. Other possible causes are disease excessive fertilizer, physical damage and the deficiency of boron.

Common Causes Holes in Pothos Leaves

[1] Pest Infestation

Pest infestations may not seem to be the most likely reason, particularly if your pothos is located inside. But, the eating activity of insects can cause severe damage to the pothos.

A majority of them utilize spike-like mouthpieces to make holes into the leaves to draw vital fluids out.

Pests that eat other insects simply nibble at the leaves. In any case their feeding actions cause a tangle and punctures the leaves of your pothos.

Certain areas of feeding could also turn into dead zones, and then fall out into holes.

Pests of different kinds leave holes that are different dimensions and forms. Let’s look into it further.

Lots of little pots on wooden floor with indoor plants

Irregular Holes

If you find odd gaps in the pothos, it could be because of an infestation by the following insects:

Liriomyza Melanogaster

The most likely reason for holes in your leaves of pothos could be Liriomyza melanogaster. Because the bugs are a part of the soil, it is unlikely that you will observe them.

They only appear in the evening to feed or put eggs in your pothos leaves.

Liriomyza melanogaster is classified as leaf miners. This means that when they feed and lay eggs they create tunnels in leaves.

In reality, the insects lay their eggs in tunnels that are beneath the epidermis.

The eggs are initially clear , but they eventually change to creamy white. As the eggs hatch within the leaf mines, mature larvae explode and drop to the ground.

Their growth and their exit create damage marks on the areas of leaf mines.

Females cause leaves to appear yellowed and stippled. This is because they cut the leaves when they are laying eggs and eating.

They are often located on the margins of leaf leaves and near the tips.

The root of the problem are caused by larvae of leaf mining. The larvae increase in size as they grow and cause the leaf mines to expand in size too. Leaf mines are usually tight-coiled, irregular and blotchy near the tips.

Adult leaf stippling as well as larval leaf-mining may both severely affect photosynthesis. If the environment is too severe, the leaves of pothos might develop holes too large and then fall off too early.

The cuts on the leaves could also be entrance points for fungal or bacteria-related diseases.

Control and Management of Liriomyza Melanogaster

To prevent biological toxins, think about employing natural enemies of leaf-mining flies as well as their larvae. I strongly suggest parasitic wasps.

Spraying can be done using an insecticide based on Spinosad (Check the most current cost at Amazon right here). It is a natural insecticide that is safe and fast to manage leaf miners at different levels.

Apply neem oil or broad-spectrum systemic insecticide. It is essential to spray before or after dark due to Liriomyza melanogaster is a night-time insect.

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and snails are usually attracted by leaves of Pothos with small holes that are often located in the middle. In contrast to leaf miners, they don’t leave round tunnels or marks.

Slugs and snails, however create small to medium-sized holes over the leaves in your pothos. They’re caused by tiny bugs that consume the juicy leaves.

They cut holes that look odd into the leaves, creating what’s called Swiss cheese leaves.

The slime trails that appear on your pothos signify that there are snails as well as snails. They are both slimy, and black or brown. Snails are tough and have a circular shell on their backs while slugs are slugs with tiny antennae.

Control and Management of Slugs & Snails

If it’s cold and humid snails and slugs are attracted to eat the garden pothos. Overhead irrigation and splashing water must be avoided. Place your indoor pothos somewhere that is warm.

In the evening, you can handpick and dispose of these insects. They are buried under the mulch of plants, in plant debris and in the vicinity of rocks. They typically appear during cloudy days as well as in the evening.

Create a snail and trap for slugs. Here’s how:

  • Fill shallow saucers with beer.
  • Put them in close proximity or near the bottom of your pothos
  • Eliminate and dispose of the slugs and snails that have drowned from the traps
  • Make sure you replenish your traps frequently

You may also try commercial snail/slug baits, such as iron baits containing phosphate (Check the most current prices at Amazon right here). Be sure that they’re not harmful to your pet or children.

Create an earth-based diatomaceous barrier surrounding your pothos. I would suggest making it at least one inch wide and height. It is important to note that diatomaceous earth can be only effective against slimy bugs when it’s dry.

It is also possible to set copper and salt barriers. They’re not as efficient as diatomaceous earth in the fight against snails and slugs.


Caterpillars are the most likely species to be the cause of irregular holes that appear along the edges of the leaves of pothos. Caterpillars, as with most leaf miners, eat a lot on host plants once they are born.

The edges of the affected leaves could appear ragged or chewed.

The problem is that caterpillars could devour the whole leaf before moving to the next one. They strip your pothos of its nutrient when left unchecked in huge quantities.

How to Control Caterpillars

Caterpillars can be a challenge to manage as gardener. This is because they are likely to transform to beneficial pollinators for the garden, such as butterflies.

There are a variety of ways to control your environment that you can employ:

  • If there are a few, just pick them up, squeeze or throw them away
  • It is also possible to rely on natural predators such as wasps and birds.
  • Sprays for microbial control that are ready-to-use that are based on biological control methods such as Bacillus Thuringiensis. Repeat spraying 7 days, until caterpillars are completely eliminated.
  • Install floating-row or drawstring covers on your pothos outside. These garden covers will stop moths from egg-laying on your plant.

    Bush Crickets

    Bush crickets are a kind of insect that feeds on leaves of plants like pothos. They, along with Liriomyza melanogaster, create small holes in the pothos leaves.

    They usually lay their eggs in mines or tunnels created by leaves and stems.

    A few lay their eggs in the soil. In any event the feeding process of crickets in the bush results in cuts that later turn into holes.

    In the summer months the bush crickets are responsible for destroying the garden pothos. They are often found unmoving within nearby bushes, or even windowsills. They tend to be active during late at night and during the evenings.

    Control and Management of Bush Crickets

    The mating rituals of bush-crickets usually occur at night when there is lighting. Therefore, it’s recommended to shut off your garden lighting or floodlights in the evening.

    It is best to first promote natural predators of crickets in the bush before resorting to chemical control methods. This includes everything from lizards and birds to spiders, and even cats.

    You might want to consider hand-picking and disposing of bush crickets if they aren’t scared of them.

    Place glued traps on cornmeal-based soil.

    Insecticidal baits, like ones based on propoxur carbaryl, or hydramethylnon are also a possibility.

    Diatomaceous earth is a good choice. It is usually effective in eliminating indoor pothos since the powder is abrasive and dehydrates, killing the insects.

    Think about using neem oil-based products as sprays to kill insects. Apply every week until the bush-cricket problem is controlled.

Earwigs ( Forficula auriculata)

Earwigs are known to feast on insects like Aphids. However, these earwigs are also able to feed on leafy leaves in your pothos. They rarely fly, and they usually are usually found hiding under the mulch or wet leaves, and even rocks.

As with the bugs I’ve discussed in the past Earwigs, too, are night-time creatures. They can be found on your patio, porch or in your garden once the lights go on.

If you notice sharp holes in the leaves of pothos It’s likely that you’ve got an problem with earswigs. They cause the most damage in the evening and when heavy rains or irrigations are taking place.

The excess moisture pushes them to leave the caves they have built to hide in your pothos.

Control and Management of Earwigs

Create a few shallow saucer traps that are filled with sweet substances. I prefer corn syrup or thick soy sauce or molasses in place. They’ll be unable to escape the liquid that is suffocating them.

In the indoors, close any cracks, gaps, or other entrance points. If I discover earwigs in my home, I clean them out.

Make use of an insecticide that contains Spinosad. It’s safe and effective against earswigs.

Flea Beetles

Damage caused by the flea beetle and leaf holes can be mistaken for snail and slug damage. The bugs feed on material that is found in the veins of the leaves.

In the end, there are numerous small, rounded irregular holes in veins.

Adult flea beetles are extremely tiny (about 1/16-1/8th of an inch long). They may be metallic gray or bluish brown, bronze, or black. Pothos which has been affected by these insects becomes weak and wilted.

Control and Management of Flea Beetles

It is possible to use a combination of non-chemical and chemical controls to control the infestation of flea beetles in your pothos.

  • Make use of traps that are yellow and sticky.
  • Cover rows that are floating to shield pothos in the garden from insects
  • Utilize natural predators such as braconid wasps to get rid of flea beetles
  • Use garden pesticides that are based on spinosad, pyrethrins, malathion, or Cyfluthrin

(Source: University of Minnesota)

Oval or Angular Lesions

Fungal diseases such as Anthracnose are often the reason for oval or angular spots in your pothos. Anthracnose is an ailment caused by fungal leaves caused by fungi of the Genus Colletotrichum.

It is most often attacked by pothos in the springtime when it’s cool and humid.

One of the initial signs of the illness can be the presence of irregular or small brown dead spots appearing on the bottom of the thighs. The lesions may darken and receding over time, which can result in holes.

Dead blotches that are large in the interveinal space as well as dead leaf edges and tips are other signs.

Pothos leaves that are affected can become shriveled and damaged, and fall off in a hurry.

Control and Treatment

Dispose of the affected parts of pothos. After every use, be sure you wash your hands and garden tools.

Eliminate pests like spider mites. They could propagate an Anthracnose fungus.

Utilizing a copper-based fungicide carefully spray the pothos.

Scalloped Edges

The sharp edges of leaves of pothos indicate an problem with chewing parts of the mouth. They can cause damage by the bites caused by weevils, caterpillars, slugsand snailsand beetles.

Certain pests can chew through whole leaves, before moving onto the next leaf.

Pothos with leaves that are scalloped may suffer from slow growth. The leaves can turn be yellow, fade, or even fall off early.

These cuts could be openings for bacterial or fungal infections in certain cases.

How to get rid of Bugs that cause sloping edges on Pothos

You can employ a mix of biological, cultural, and chemical methods to eliminate these.

  • Bugs that are larger and more visible like caterpillars, slugs and snails are easily picked up. Be sure to kill them the bugs and then dispose them in a safe manner.
  • Use natural predators. This method of biological control is usually secure and doesn’t cost any money. In your garden, you can employ friendly tactics for animals like lizards, birds, and so on. Other examples include parasitic wasps parasitic nematodes and predatory beetles.
  • Make use of traps made from commercial or homemade that are based on syrup, beer, molasses, or cornmeal
  • Make a diatomaceous earth-based protection surrounding your pothos. It will deter bugs such as snails, slugs, and many more.
  • Use a systemic insecticide or pesticide, but I suggest that you use it as your final option.
  • You could also bring your plant outside or even to the shower to spray the insects. Send a powerful stream of water in every direction to ensure that the pests are eliminated.

[2] Physical Damage

Physical damage is another frequent reason for holes in the leaves of pothos. This could result from an accidental injury that occurs while shifting or repositioning your pothos.

Other causes of damage to the leaves are pests as well as children playing and mobile toys.

The majority of the time the physical damage took place when the leaves were soft and loose.

This is especially true when your pothos is located in an area that is heavily used, like a hallway, entrance, or bathroom.

The leaves of your pothos were sometimes damaged while they were young. As the pothos ages and ages, holes will begin to appear in the areas that have been damaged.

If the holes are big and ugly it is recommended to trim the branches that are causing trouble.

[3] Diseases

Other major causes of holes in the leaves of pothos include the leaf spot disease. The Anthracnose disease, Septoria as well as rust can be the three most frequent. What did you do to determine if leaf spot disease or another reason was the cause?

Septoria leaf spots are usually circular with the border of black. It is possible to detect the growth of mold on the leaves of your pothos. The leaves will eventually become black, shrink and then develop holes.

Fungal spots of rust on pothos are commonplace in late summer. They are visible on the leaves’ undersides as dark brown clusters of rusty brown. Wet, warm weather encourages spreading of this disease.

Anthracnose symptoms manifest as small dark brown, black or brown spots appearing on skin. The holes or dead spots in the leaves are usually irregular.

In all these cases the brown spots ultimately create holes in the leaves of the pothos. Insufficient air circulation humid conditions, dampness, and lack of light are the most common reasons.

Control and Management

  • Get rid of and dispose of the plant waste, debris and dead matter that is accumulated the area around your pothos
  • Increase the airflow around your pothos by trimming the plants and spacing them
  • Limit moisture by avoiding excessive watering or overhead irrigation. Also, avoid splashing water onto leaves
  • Use fungicides as early as possible before the disease begins to spread

[4] Boron Deficiency

Boron is vital to the health and growth in your pothos. The signs of a deficiency in Boron are the appearance of rust and holes that are dead on pothos leaves. Other signs include:

  • Curled, wrinkled or twisted leaves
  • Twisted growth and dead areas at the tips of growing leaves
  • Rough hollow, ragged, or hollow stems
  • The new foliage is leathery or brittle to the touch
  • Infected, thick, and long roots


I like using borax or boric acid to treat deficiencies in boron. I typically dilute it and add it to my regular water-soluble fertilizer for houseplants.

Borax can be used as a spray for foliar use, as well.

[5] Excess Fertilizer

Over-fertilizing your pothos could cause rapid growth. This is particularly true if you choose a fertilizer that has an excessive nitrogen content.

Since leaves are unrolled too fast, they break at tiny places, eventually creating holes.


It is essential to eliminate the excess fertilizer. To do so:

  1. Place your pothos in a shower, bathtub, or even a sink
  2. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to eliminate the excess fertilizer salts that have accumulated.
  3. Repeat 3-4 times, or as often
  4. Let your pothos be drained properly between flushes.

Pothos isn’t a major feeder. Therefore, in order to prevent over-fertilization it is recommended to apply a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer to your houseplants every two to three months.

[6] Low Humidity

Pothos is an herb that thrives in humid conditions. If you notice holes in the foliage of a new plant Low humidity is the most likely to be the cause. It usually happens during winter months.

If there is a deficiency of humidity leaves ridges can become dry and crisp because of the loss of moisture. In the process, when the new growths of leaves unfold they become stuck together and break. In the process, holes develop.


  • Install a water tray that has pebbles in it near your pothos
  • Mist your pothos regularly
  • Utilize a humidifier to increase the humidity when needed.


Went from a bad gardener to a half-decent one over 10+ years. Super happy to share my tips and tricks with you :)