Why Are There Holes In My Plant Leaves?- 6 Reasons And How To Fix

hole leaf

Pest consumption is the primary cause of holes in plant leaves. Other causes include ailments, herbicides, fungal diseases, the weather, mineral deficiencies, and even pets.

It might be a little unsettling to eat vegetables if the leaves are spotted with holes if you grow your own. However, providing you remove any pests or illnesses from them, doing so is not harmful.

It might seem a little depressing to see holes in the leaves if you’re growing plants for decorative purposes. You could, however, get rid of or conceal them if there is only a small number.

6 Reasons Why There Are Holes In Plant

1. Leaf-eating Pests



The larvae of moths and butterflies are known as caterpillars. These destructive pests, which are numerous, include hornworms that are four inches long and tiny inchworms. While some types only feed at night, others do so continuously. In addition to chewing on leaves, these pests also frequently consume stems, roots, buds, flowers, and fruits from plants.

Caterpillars attack a wide range of plants, including basil, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, and more, in their various forms, including hydrangeas, roses, and hydrangeas. Holes in leaves from caterpillars provide these hints:

  • Holes vary in size.
  • The hole edges are rough.
  • The centers and edges of the leaves develop holes.
  • Nearby, there are a lot of dark feces.

Caterpillar control: Apply Sevin Ready to Use to specific pests or plants as needed to prevent caterpillar damage to leaves. Consider using Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate or Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray for larger areas. When the sprays have dried, people and animals are permitted to return.

Slugs and snails

Slugs and snails

belong to a class of animals known as “gastropods.” Roughly translated, that scientific name means “stomach-foot.” You can understand why the name fits them if these pests are a problem in your garden. If you discover holes in the leaves but no bugs, check your garden at night using a flashlight. Slugs and snails carry out their unpleasant tasks then.

Numerous plant species, such as hibiscus, hosta, basil, cabbage, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and pepper plants, are affected by slugs and snails that chew holes in their leaves. Leaf holes from slugs and snails offer these clues:

  • Large, asymmetrical holes are present.
  • The edges of the holes are generally smooth.
  • Instead of the leaf edges, holes show up in the middle.
  • To and from plants, silvery slime trails can be seen.

Control of slugs and snails: Since slugs and snails are not insects, they cannot be eradicated with insecticides. With Corry’s Slug & Snail Killer ready-to-use pellets, you can quickly stop the damage caused by slugs and snails and get rid of them https://www.corrys.com/resources/how-to-get-rid-of-slugs-and-snails-in-the-garden. Pets and people are welcome to return to the areas that have been treated right away.

Sawfly Larvae

Sawfly Larvae

Only the veins of the leaf are unharmed by this type of larvae, which eats it from the edge to the tissue. Sawfly larvae, which resemble caterpillars in many ways, appear to be tiny but have a voracious appetite and can quickly consume the leaves of your plant.

Neem oil is a good way to get rid of sawfly eggs and larvae, in my opinion. When the sun is not out, the best times to spray it are early in the morning or late at night.

Neem oil must be diluted, or the leaves will burn. Observe the directions printed on the bottle. Typically, 2 to 5 ml are added to 1 liter (33 ounces) of water.

Shake the mixture thoroughly before adding a couple of drops of dish soap. This aids in the emulsification of the water and oil.

Spray this evenly over the plant’s leaves. As the majority of the eggs and larvae will be found there, make sure to spray the underside of the leaves.


They have a broad host range, emerge at night, and spend the day in hiding. Slugs and snails are their primary prey, but they also hide in flowers and rolled-up leaves. They gnaw into fruits and leave ragged, uneven holes along leaf edges. Young leaves are a favorite because they can destroy young seedlings, and they may be attacking your basil.

There are many different traps and controls that will kill them, but because earwigs are territorial, if you kill 10 of them, 10 more will move in. It might be easiest to stop growing their favorite plants for a few years because their population tends to spike to dangerous levels for 4 or 5 years before dropping to a level where they don’t seriously harm anything for decades.

Japanese Beetles

Japanese Beetles 

Since they are out and about during the day, at least these pests don’t try to hide. They are large, rounded beetles with copper-colored wing cases and shimmering metallic green heads that measure about 1/2 inch (1 cm) in length. They are gregarious and feed in groups, typically beginning at the top of a plant and moving their way down, consuming both flowers and leaves. They begin in the center of the leaves and consume the tissue in the space between the veins, skeletonizing them. They are one of the white grub species whose larvae attack lawn grasses.

Leaf-cutter Bees

These beneficial pollinators also remove regular, half-moon-shaped disks from the edges of leaves, carrying the leaf fragments off to line the holes where their larvae are housed. They specifically pick rose leaves. The majority of gardeners get used to them as the cost of good pollination.

Flea Beetles

 Flea Beetles

Flea beetles, in contrast to Japanese beetles, are tiny and infrequently observed because, when startled, they flee like fleas. They are metallic and typically black if you see them. There are thousands of flea beetle species in the world, and they can be found almost anywhere. The majority of these species have particular host plants that they prefer.

The plant’s leaves, especially the youngest ones, have dozens of small holes and shallow pits throughout them, as if they had been shotgunned. In actuality, this kind of wound is known as a shot hole. They enjoy eating vegetables and could very well be the source of the damage to your runner beans.



Weevils, typically dull-colored beetlelike insects with a long snout, are one of the thousands of species. Most damage is caused by feeding on plants, but there are other ways as well. When many are larvae, they are most dangerous because they eat roots. Others prey on seeds, while others survive on flowers.

The best-known leaf-eating weevil is the black vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus), which chews on the leaves of a wide range of plants, including roses, strawberries, rhododendrons, yews, viburnums, lilies, camellias, many perennials, and trees. It causes browning margins and jagged crescent-shaped notches in the edges of leaves, causing damage along the edges. Daytime hiding places for this weevil include soil and debris. Its larvae also seriously harm roots. Apply diatomaceous earth, an organic insecticide, to plant leaves to thwart adults.

2. Natural Holes

Aroid family member the Swiss cheese plant is one of the plants that naturally have holes in them. However, the nicely defined slots and holes give them a beautiful appearance as opposed to being infested with pests.

Nothing to do but take in the beauty of the plant and the holes that the leaves natural holes have formed.

3. Herbicides

This is not a frequent reason for holes in plant leaves. But if you use herbicides carelessly, it might happen.

The strong chemicals may burn the leaves as a result of their impact. I advise against using chemicals on your plants. Use a superior organic replacement instead.

Even if you have to use an herbicide, make sure to test it out on a few leaves first. Check to see if there has been a reaction after a day.

4. Fungal Diseases

Diseases, not insects or gastropods, are sometimes the cause of holes in plant leaves. These leaf holes typically start out as spots, unlike newly chewed edges or oozing holes. Spots can spread quickly once a disease is present. Anthracnose, Cercospora, and shot hole disease are fungi that cause holes.

Every type of plant is susceptible to fungi diseases. They frequently stem from societal ills like stifling conditions, poor airflow, and damp leaves. Holes caused by fungal disease usually offer these hints:

  • Beginning as yellow, discolored, or wet-looking spots, holes are formed.
  • Spots’ undersides may have fuzzy fungus growth.
  • Brown spots appear, and the centers of the dead spots fall out.
  • Halos that are brown or yellow continue to surround the holes.

Fungal disease control: When it comes to fungi diseases, prevention is key. Don’t water your plants overhead, and give them plenty of space. So that any wet leaves can dry before dusk, and water early in the day. Let Daconil’s fungicide products assist in preventing, halting, and controlling more than 65 different types of fungal disease. Pets and people are welcome to return and use the area once the spray has dried.

5. Mineral Deficiencies

Any number of effects, including deformed, discolored leaves, stunted growth, and more, can occur when plants lack specific minerals, whether they be major elements like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, or minor ones, like iron or chlorine. Additionally, every plant responds differently to deficiencies. In contrast, a manganese deficiency causes a similar interveinal chlorosis that can occasionally result in elongated holes in the older leaves of some plants. Yellow or dead patches that can turn into pinholes are one sign of a potassium deficiency.

6. Hail

When it falls heavily, it can completely rip apart leaves, especially bigger ones. Even though the holes may bother you, avoid removing too many leaves as this will weaken the plant because leaves that aren’t shredded usually survive and continue photosynthesizing.

How To Treat And Fix My Plant

Insect pests, which often leave spots on the leaves or drop their leaves, are usually indicated by holes in flower leaves. The fact that every insect is a component of a larger ecosystem should be kept in mind before you reach for an insecticide can. The insects that devour your plants are likely food for frogs and birds. In most cases, insects eat plants for a few weeks before leaving. The issue might get better on its own if you take a wait-and-see attitude. Before turning to chemicals in more severe situations, try a few natural or cultural solutions.

1. Hole in the leaves of your flowers typically indicates an insect pest, like a caterpillar or a slug. Check the undersides of leaves for insects or look for other telltale signs on the ground. For instance, while slugs and snails leave a shiny trail, caterpillars leave green fecal pellets.

2. Depending on your findings, choose a treatment. For instance, you could hand-pick caterpillars and submerge them in soapy water or use Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt), a soil-borne bacterium that stops caterpillars from feeding and eventually kills them. Japanese beetles are under the control of milky spore disease. Use a commercial iron phosphate treatment on slugs and snails, or handpick them at night. Spreading sand on the soil around the plants might also deter slugs and snails, according to “Sunset” magazine.

3. Clear the area around your flowers of weeds, dead plants, and webs. Invasive insects will frequently leave on their own if you take away their shelter.

4. In your garden, cultivate a variety of flowers. Most insects favor certain flowers over others. You can lessen the amount of harm one kind of insect can do to your garden by increasing its diversity. Growing a variety of plants promotes the presence of predatory creatures and beneficial insects, including ladybugs, praying mantises, birds, frogs, and snakes. Your flower garden serves as a haven for these animals, which also consume insects.