Among many other problems, holes on the leaves can be highly troublesome to look at. When you brought a money tree home, you obviously wanted to see healthy and green leaves on it. However, noticing holes in the leaves and not understanding the reasons behind them can make you worried.
But why does your money tree have holes in the leaves? Is the tree wilting? What can you do to fix the same? Let’s find out.
Pest infestation and fungal diseases can cause holes in the leaves of your money tree. You might have brought home a plant that was already infected with pests or had infections. In any case, you must separate such plants, look for the signs and take the necessary steps to fix the problem.
We will discuss the possible reasons behind holes in your money tree leaves in this article and give you ways of dealing with them.
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Why is my money tree getting holes in leaves?
When you bring a money tree home, it can take some time to adjust to the changes. Your money tree was most probably brought up in an environment that does not match entirely with your house.
Give your money tree some time to get adjusted. If you notice holes on the leaves of your money tree even after few days, you might have brought a plant that already had infestations.
One of the most common reasons that cause holes in the leaves of your money tree is pest infestation. Pests such as aphids and mealybugs can attack your money tree, which feeds on the sap of your plant.
Another reason behind holes in the leaves can be a fungal disease called leaf spot disease. During the initial stages, you might notice spots on the leaves that eventually grow into large holes.
Let’s understand these in more detail.
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Pest infestation on the money tree
It is pretty easy to guess that something is nibbling on the leaves of your money tree, which is why you can see holes in them. And the most probable reason behind this is pest infestation.
Pests are tiny organisms that feed on your plant, absorb nutrition from it to make a living out of that. And in the process, make your plant weak.
A problem such as stunted growth is a sign that your plant is not getting enough nutrition since the pests might be sucking the nutrition out of them.
Let’s understand the factors that can lead to pest infestation on your money tree.
Factors that promote pest infestation on the money tree
Low light may not be ideal for your plants but is definitely ideal for the pests. If your money tree is living in a low light condition for some time, it can become vulnerable to pests.
If you are aware of the basic requirements of the money tree, you would know that it requires a lot of indirect light. It can tolerate low light for some time, but keeping it in such a condition for a long time will lead to various problems, including pest infestation.
Pests thrive in a damp environment that does not get enough light, and the soil remains moist most of the time. If the light is not enough, the soil will take time to get dry and therefore stay wet for an extended period.
Therefore, if you want to avoid pests from attacking your plant, you need to place it in a bright area that gets sufficient light. If your house doesn’t have a natural source of light, you can use artificial lights.
Overwatering can also invite pests to your money tree. When you overwater the money tree, the soil becomes soggy, and the roots get damaged. It creates an ideal environment in which pests can thrive.
Overwatering makes the plant weak as the roots suffocate and cannot provide water on nutrition to the plant. This makes the plant more vulnerable to pests.
To avoid overwatering, you need to remember that you should water the plant only when the soil is dry.
Keep checking the drainage holes from time to time to ensure that they are working correctly and use well-draining soil that supports proper drainage.
High humidity levels are also capable of attracting pests. The money trees prefer high humidity, but if that is accompanied by low light for overwatering, it can be deadly for the plant.
If you have placed your money tree in the kitchen or bathroom, you need to check for enough light. If the money tree is not getting sufficient light there, you need to relocate it to another room with average humidity levels.
Pests that can cause holes in the money tree leaves
Mealybugs – Mealybugs look like a white cottony substance and are mostly found on the undersides of the leaves. These pests feed on the sap of the money tree.
Spider mites – Spider mites look like tiny spiders, and although they are hard to notice, you will see web-like structures on your plant if it has a spider mite infestation.
Scales – Scales are round and black bugs that nibble on the leaves of your money tree, causing holes in them.
Aphids – These are little greenish bugs found on the undersides of the leaves that feed on the sap and cause stunted growth.
How to get rid of pests from the money tree?
If you have figured that your money tree is enduring a pest infestation, you need to take action immediately as pests multiply very fast that can cause much damage to your plant.
Here are the ways of getting rid of pests:
- First and foremost, separate the money tree to prevent the pests from spreading to the other houseplants.
- Give your plant a good wash by placing it under running water. Continue doing this 3-4 times at least.
- You can even handpick the bugs if you can see them clearly.
- However, it’s always better to use an organic way of getting rid of the pests. You can use neem oil to do the trick.
- Mix Neem oil with water and make a solution out of it. Pour it in a spray bottle and spray it all over the plant. Continue this for at least two weeks.
- You can go for chemical pesticides available in the market but check the ingredients to ensure that it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals for the plant.
- Prune all the damaged parts to let the plant recover and focus on new growth.
- You might need to repot the money tree if the soil has leftover eggs.
Fungal diseases on the money tree
Fungal diseases can be another common reason that can lead to two holes in the leaves of your money tree. It can also bring other problems to your plant.
The leaf spot disease is caused due to fungus and bacterial growth on the plant. This disease starts off as spots on the leaves that slowly turn into holes.
This disease can occur if your plant is not getting enough airflow around it or is overwatered.
To fix this problem, you need to prune the affected leaves. Ensure that the leaves are not getting too much water as that can encourage the growth of bacteria and fungus.
Also, place your plant in an area that gets good air circulation.
Add 2 tsp of baking soda and one drop of dish soap to 4 cups of water and spray this solution on the plant to treat leaf spots. You can also use commercial fungicides to get rid of the infection.
Powdery mildew can seem similar to the mealybugs as these also have a cotton-like texture.
However, powdery mildew feels like powder, and you will notice them in a more significant amount on the foliage. This is a fungal disease that can cause various problems to the leaves.
Powdery mildew loves high humidity, so you should place your money tree in an area with an average humidity level. Putting it in the bathroom or kitchen is not ideal if the plant has a powdery mildew infection.
Increase the air circulation around the plant and eliminate the affected leaves so that the infection doesn’t spread to the other parts.
You can mix 1 tbsp of baking soda and 1½ tsp of liquid soap with one gallon of water. Spray this solution on the money tree to eliminate powdery mildew infection.
Sun spot burns
Money trees as houseplants cannot tolerate direct sunlight. If your money tree is exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves will get scorched.
The scorched leaves become discolored and can turn yellow or brown, or even white at times. If you don’t take any action, these spots can turn into holes on the leaves.
Protect your money tree from the direct sun by placing it in an area where it gets in direct sunlight. You can use sheer curtains if your plant is placed on the window or place the plant under shade if it is outdoors.
You can prune the sunburnt leaves as they cannot become healthy again.
Also Read: Money Tree Sunburn (Signs, Causes+How to fix)
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To keep your money tree healthy and stop seeing holes in its leaves, you need to be mindful about where you are placing it.
Place your money tree based on its basic requirements such as 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, and medium to high temperatures, and humidity level of at least 50%.
Since the holes in the leaves are mainly caused due to pests, you should keep checking the plant time and again to make sure that pests have not attacked it.
You need not worry if you notice few holes here and there, but you need to consider taking measures if you see that the holes are increasing and the plant’s health is deteriorating.
Reference: NYBG, WIKIPEDIA, CABI, Missouri Botanical Garden, Effect of light intensity on plant growth.
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