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Holes In Money Tree Leaves? 3 Causes & Easy Fix!

Holes in the leaves of your money tree can be unsettling, especially when you’re expecting healthy, vibrant foliage. But fear not; let’s investigate why these holes might appear and how to resolve this issue.

Pest infestation and fungal diseases can cause holes in the leaves of your money tree. You might have brought home a plant 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.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential reasons behind holes in money tree leaves and provide effective solutions to tackle the problem head-on.

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) holes in the leaves

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Why does my money tree have holes in the leaves?

When you bring a money tree home, adjusting to the changes can take some time. Your money tree was 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 in the leaves of your money tree even after a 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.

1) 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 and absorb nutrition to make a living out of it. 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 it is 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 mostly moist. If the light is insufficient, the soil will take time to dry and stay wet for an extended period.

Therefore, to prevent pests from attacking your plant, place it in a bright area with sufficient light. If your house doesn’t have a natural light source, 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 weakens the plant as the roots suffocate and cannot provide water or nutrition. This makes the plant more vulnerable to pests.

To avoid overwatering, remember to water the plant only when the soil is dry.

Check the drainage holes occasionally to ensure 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 must check for enough light. If the money tree is not getting sufficient light there, you must relocate it to another room with average humidity.

Pests that can cause holes in the money tree leaves

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) bugs and pests

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 must take action immediately, as pests multiply quickly and 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.
  • 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 into 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 they don’t contain harsh and 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.

2) Fungal diseases on the money tree

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) disease

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.

Leaf spot

The leaf spot disease is caused due to fungus and bacterial growth on the plant. This disease starts 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 fungi.

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

Powdery mildew can seem similar to mealybugs as they also have a cotton-like texture.

However, powdery mildew feels like powder, and you will notice it more significantly 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 average humidity. 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 the infection doesn’t spread to the other parts.

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.

3) Sunburn of the leaves

Money Tree (Pachira Aquatica) turning white

Money trees cannot tolerate harsh direct sunlight. The leaves will get scorched if your money tree is exposed to direct sunlight.

The scorched leaves become discolored and can sometimes turn yellow, brown, or even white. If you don’t act, these spots can turn into holes in 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 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)

Final words

To keep your money tree healthy and stop seeing holes in its leaves, you must be mindful of where you place it.

Place your money tree based on its basic requirements, such as 6 to 8 hours of indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, medium to high temperatures, and a humidity level of at least 50%.

Since the holes in the leaves are mainly caused by pests, you should keep checking the plant repeatedly to ensure that pests have not attacked it.

You need not worry if you notice a few holes here and there, but you need to consider taking measures if the holes are increasing and the plant’s health is deteriorating.


Reference: WIKIPEDIA.


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