Top 7 Plants With Holes in Leaves (Indoor & Outdoor)

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You might be surprised that we have plants with holes in leaves. Although some are made in that form naturally to allow the plant to resist big winds or hurricane, it also aids water flow properly to the roots and help regulate temperature.

Usually, leaves with spots indicate a disease or pest infestation. Some popular plants with natural holes in their leaves include; Monstera, hibiscus, basil, pepper plant, lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

In this article, we will provide you with a list of some plants that has holes in their leaves; stick with us.  

Plants With Holes in Leaves 

We have varieties of plants that have holed leaves. Although some are natural, these plants are rare and one of a kind. Below are some of the plants;

1. Philodendron

Plants With Holes in Leaves

The Philodendron is a large genus of flowering plants that belongs to the Araceae family. As of 2015, about 400+ species have been discovered and accepted, and the number is still growing. 

These plants can thrive all year round when placed indoors as long as they face indirect sunlight. To care for this plant, you would need to provide it with sunlight, water, and a balanced level of fertilizer rich in calcium and magnesium. 

There are two major types of philodendrons; vining and non-climbing philodendrons. The vining species usually need a wall, poll, or other supporting structures to climb on, while the non-climbing ones have an upright and non-spreading habit. 

You should note that the vining philodendrons can be very invasive, so you should prune them regularly to maintain them.

See Also: Top 9 Slowest Growing Plants

2. Swiss Cheese Plant 

Also known as Monstera deliciosa, this is a tropical plant common in Mexico and Panama. The plant is named due to its resemblance to Swiss cheese. It has a glossy, extensive leave with stipe-like holes or fenestrations.

These holes are not just there for beautification; they also serve a vital role. They help the plant circulate water from its root more quickly. 

3. American Pondweed (Potamogeton Americanus) 

The American pondweed are plants that grow in water. They are native to North American ponds, lakes, and streams. They are red or purple with long thin leaves characterized by tiny holes around their edges or fenestrations.

For now, there is no logical explanation or reason why the plants have holes, but it is believed to help reduce water intake. They glow in hot humid just like any other holed leave plants.  

4. Cape Pondweed Plant (Aponogetonaceae) 

The cape pondweed is a well-known plant in Africa, Madagascar, and the Indian Ocean. This aquatic plant is more common in marshes and ponds.

They are often confused with the American pondweed due to their similar structure. The holes help the plant absorb carbon dioxide and allow the plant to float quickly too.

5. Madagascar Lace leaf (Aponogeton Madagascariensis) 

Photo by Laila_ via Wikimedia

You guessed it right; there is a plant native to Madagascar with long laced-shaped leaves with holes wounding its surface.

These plants are unique compared to any holed leave plants because of their geometrical pattern, which is almost similar to lace material. The holes in the plant capture more sunlight and also reduce water loss. 

6. Living Stone (Lithos Sp.) 

 These plants are native to southern Africa and got their name due to their pebble or stone-like structures. These slow-growing plants have leaves that grow up packed closely, leaving them with a stone-like shape. They also have small fenestration on the surface, which helps light reach below. 

7. Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum) 

The pothos is a native plant to Malaysia, the Solomon Islands, and Indonesia. Although, it is better known for being an indoor plant because it purifies the air and increases the air quality. It has a heart-like shape with holes around its sides pathos can thrive in any condition. 

The pothos is known for its striking resemblance to the philodendrons, but there are a few differences you can take note of to guide you. Some differences between the pothos and philodendrons include; 

Pothos Philodendrons
The stems of the pothos are grooved Philodendrons do not have a grooved stem
Pothos leaves do not have a leaf sheathPhilodendron leaves emerge with a leave sheath
These plants require brighter light and warmer temperatures Philodendrons can do well in just enough light that’s not too bright. 

To care for your pothos plant, you should provide it with adequate light, water, humidity, feeding, and temperature and properly pot it. 

Although these plants can cope with several conditions, bright light is best for your plant. It is sure to grow in darker spots, but growth in darker areas would be much slower. 

Watering your pothos plant is also a straightforward task to carry out. You should ensure that you water more during the growing season and less during the winter. This plant has a particular level of drought tolerance, so it wouldn’t mind when you underwater it. 

Since the pothos is a tropical plant, it would do better under high humidity than a low one. But we all know that high humidity is not vital for a growing plant, so you should try to balance the equation and place it under balanced moisture. 

You wouldn’t not be needing to feed your pothos plant too much unless maybe during its growing phase. After that, you can provide the pothos plant with a light feed every two to three months with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. 

Since these plants a tropical, they would do better in warm temperatures; you should ensure that you place them under temperatures no lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter and ideally between 59 degrees Fahrenheit and 77 degrees Fahrenheit in other seasons. 

These pothos plants do well in small pots at their early stages, but when you realize that these plants start to outgrow their pots, repotting would be the best. 

What Causes Holes in Plant Leaves?

Holes in your plant could be signs of disease or attacks from pests like grasshoppers or caterpillars. Below are some possible reasons why your plant leaves have holes:

Chewing Insects 

Some insects solely depend on vegetable and plant leaves as their food source. In the process of tearing and biting, they tend to create holes. Caterpillars are one of the most common pests that feed on the plant.

They have a camouflage-like body that blends perfectly with leaves and makes it hard to detect early. You could get rid of this by handpicking or using less stressful methods like spraying them with insecticides. 

Natural Holes 

Plants like the Swiss cheese plant have natural holes in them; although some people find it hard to differentiate between an insect-caused hole and a naturally holed plant, these holes are more definite and have a smoother edge than that caused by insects. 

They help aid the movement of water through the plant down to its root; it allows wind to pass through without being pulled out from the soil. It also aids in regulating temperature. 


Fungal diseases could be a significant cause of holes spots that tends to spread quickly once these fungi become active. These hole-causing fungal diseases include Cercospora, shot-hole disease, and anthracnose.

 Fungal diseases do not have a limit to the plants they attack. That is to say, and they attack all sorts of plants. These spores can be transmitted from one plant to another by air, water, or carried by insects.


As said, everything that has an advantage equally has a disadvantage, which is no different in the case of pesticides.

Pesticides may affect the plant’s physical looks, such as growth reduction, or even alter the nitrogen and carbon metabolism, leading to low nutrients and the inability to build up its leaves parts well.

Although this could stop pests from chewing on plants and boring holes, it could cause cavities if used excessively. 

How To Treat Holes in Leaves 

You can probably not prevent all insects from damaging your plant leaves, but you could do certain things to reduce the damage caused. Holes in leaves usually indicate insect attack rather than diseases, especially in leaves of flowers.

You could threaten this with the use of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap. However, this is limited to only sucking insects because sucking insects suck the juice in the leaves and poke tiny holes in the leaf’s surface.

Still, the thick oil prevents their proboscis from penetrating, and the soap gives it an undesirable taste. The most common sucking insects include spider mites, aphids, and squash bugs.

 Remember that every living creature, including these insects, plays a role in our ecosystem. The bugs and insects also serve food to other animals, like birds and fish, and some humans also consume and benefit from them.

So before resulting in a can of bug spray, using insecticides and chemicals, you should consider a more natural way, like handpicking.

There are many other ways to prevent holes, but first, you must know the cause of the hole, look around, and inspect for clues. For instance, slugs and snails leave slimy trails, while caterpillars tend to go green fecal pellets.

Next, you need to think of a treatment based on your findings. According to sunset magazine spreading sand around the plant help in the case of snails and slugs or handpicking at night because they tend to operate mainly at night. 

You could also treat caterpillars after handpicking with Bacillus thuriengensis (Bt) or drop them in a bucket of soapy water.

Removing dead plants and weeds, which shelter some of these bugs and insects, will be helpful. Also, try growing different varieties of plants and flowers. Doing this will reduce the damage caused by one type of insect. 

Notice insect attack a particular plant more. It will be helpful to replace it with a less attractive or desirable plant and plant flowers that attract more beneficial insects. 

How To Take Care of Plants with Holes in Their Leaves

Holes Caused by Diseases  

  • You could try removing the affected leaves of the plants if diseases cause the holes. By doing this, you would reduce and stop the chances of the fungal infection spreading throughout the plant. 
  • Make use of fungicide treatment or chemicals 

Holes Caused by Pests 

In the case of a pest attack using a less toxic method is advised. There are many ideas to consider before resulting in dangerous chemicals.

  • Firstly, you would want to consider handpicking larger pests like slugs and snails but best done at night because that is when they tend to attack 
  •  Remove weeds that may aid as shelter to destructive insects and bugs  
  • Plants repellent plants that help in driving pests away and encourage helpful insects like ladybugs into your garden 

Natural Holes 

  • Ensure adequate water and sunlight supply to help them grow strong. 
  • Prune the edges regularly to get the desired and perfect shape and size 
  • Ensure the soil is always moist and not wet, preferably with a PH between 5.5 to 7 

Difference Between Holes Caused by Disease, Insects, and Natural Holes 

Holes caused by disease would start in the following manner; 

  • Brown or yellow discolorations around the holes. 
  • Brown spots on leaves. 
  • Holes usually start as tallow, discolored, and wet-looking spots. 
  • Small spots may begin to appear, a clear indication of fungal growth. 

Some holes caused by insects like caterpillars would start in this manner; 

  • These holes would vary in size
  • The edges of these holes are usually rough
  • Holes appear in different locations, both leaf edges, and center
  • You would find several dark fecal droplets nearby

It is not particularly easy for you to determine if the holes on your leaves are natural, but there is a sure way you can find out. 

To determine if the holes on your leaves are natural, you need to search online to see if your plant type comes with natural spots. 


If you are a fan of holly leaves, there are several leaves with natural holes in them. It doesn’t always occur that your plants must be a victim of either a pest or disease infestation when they have spots.

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