Holes in Your Calathea Leaves? Here’s What Could Be The Cause

Calathea is an easy-to-grow, free-flowing vine and one of the most popular plants in the world.

This tropical vine is known for its beautiful flowers and stunning leaves, which grow in clumps and cascade along the branches.

But have you ever wondered why your Calathea has holes?

In this article, we’ll look at why calathea has holes and how to fix this problem. We’ll also give you some preventive actions that will help you stop this issue from happening again.

Let’s get started!

Why Does My Calathea Have Holes?

When calathea has holes, it is probably because of a bug infestation. Many bugs can cause holes in the leaves of this plant. The most common include aphids, spider mites, whiteflies, caterpillars, and thrips.

Bugs attacking plants and creating holes

However, there are many other reasons why Calathea leaves can get holes in them. For instance, the culprits can be leaf-eating birds like warblers, tanagers, and finches. Additionally, sun damage and diseases can create holes in the leaves of the calathea plant.

Let’s go over each one of the factors mentioned above and see how it causes holes in the leaves of calathea:

Bug Infestation

If your calathea plant has holes in its leaves, this could signify insect infestation. These insects are known to feed on the plant’s sap. They also tend to suck on the plant’s leaves which can cause holes to develop.

The most common bugs that may cause holes in the leaves of calathea are:

  • Aphids.
  •  Spider Mites.
  •  Whiteflies.
  •  Caterpillars.
  •  Thrips.

Leaf-eating Birds

Leaf-eating birds cause holes in the leaves of calathea plants by pecking at them. Calathea plants are beautiful houseplants, so their leaves are attractive to birds. When birds attack the leaves of calathea, they leave behind a round hole.

Sun Damage

Sun damage can also cause holes in the leaves of the calathea plant. In fact, when the leaves of calathea get sunburned, they start to develop rashes. In extreme cases, the rashes may become holes. This happens because the plant is trying to protect itself from sun damage.

Generally, Calathea is native to subtropical and tropical areas where it grows under shade and is covered by the leaves of other plants and trees. As a result, this plant does not do well when exposed to direct and intense sunlight.

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Calathea plants are usually infected with bacterial and fungal diseases. These diseases affect the plant leaves, causing holes and many other issues.

Several diseases can cause holes in the leaves of a calathea plant. Some of these diseases include Fusarium Wilt, Powdery Mildew, and Anthracnose. These diseases are caused by the presence of fungi.

A prevalent disease that causes holes in the leaves of the calathea plant is the fusarium leaf spot. This disease is caused by a fungus that attacks the roots of calathea. The most common symptoms of fusarium include small dark spots on the plant.

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How to Get Rid of Holes on Calathea?

To get rid of leaf holes on calathea, you should start by checking for the source of this problem. If the holes are caused by insects or diseases, you will need to isolate your plant and start a treatment that is adequate for the type of disease or insect you have. Generally, Insects are treated using insecticidal soaps, and diseases are treated using fungicides. 

If the holes are caused by leaf-eating birds, you should use decoys to keep those birds away. Finally, if the holes are caused by sun damage, you should immediately take the plant to a shaded area.

Here is a breakdown of every solution suggested above and how to implement it.  

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How to Get Rid of Holes in Calathea when They Are Caused by Insects?

When the holes in your calathea are caused by insects, you can use organic and safe pesticides for your plants and pets. If this method does not yield the desired results, you should use insecticidal soaps to treat your plant.

Insecticidal soaps act as a pesticide and are harmless to the plant. There are different insecticidal soaps, such as pyrethrin-based and neem oil-based. These products have a long history of protecting plants from insects without causing harm.

How to Get Rid of Holes in Calathea by Keeping Leaf-eating Birds Away?

There are many ways to protect your calathea from leaf-eating birds. The best one is to use plant decoys. This method consists of putting plants that birds love to eat next to our calathea. This will help to confuse birds by encouraging them to eat the decoy plant instead of our calathea.

You can also repel leaf-eating birds by adding bird repellents to the soil. Bird repellents that can be used in soils include citrus oil, citronella, marigolds, and garlic.

Citrus oils are an excellent choice for birds and most pest insects because of their unpleasant smell. Marigolds are also very effective in keeping birds at bay because of their scent.

Garlic is also very effective in repelling birds and some insects like ants, beetles, and earwigs. Finally, citronella is an excellent bird repellent that can help to repel crows, woodpeckers, and other birds.

Another way to keep birds away from your calathea is by using bird netting. These are usually used as decorative items, and they come in a variety of designs. They can keep birds and domestic pests away from your plants.

How to Get Rid of Holes in Calathea by Stopping Sun Damage?

The first thing you should do if you realize that holes in your calathea are caused by sunburn is to move the plant to a shaded area. Then, you can put a tarp or shade cloth over the plant to prevent the sun from damaging it further.

How to Get Rid of Holes in Calathea when they Are Caused by Diseases?

Getting rid of the holes caused by disease is one of the most challenging tasks. In fact, before starting any treatment, you should determine which condition is causing holes in your calathea and choose the remedy accordingly.

For example, to get rid of Fusarium Leaf Spot, you must take out all the affected leaves and dispose of them. After that, you will need to spray the leaves with fungicides containing tebuconazole, azoxystrobin, and folic acid.

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How Do I Prevent Holes in Calathea?

To prevent getting holes in the leaves of your calathea, you should keep insects and leaf-eating birds away from your plant. Additionally, you should protect your plant from sun damage. Finally, it would help if you prevented diseases from infecting your plant, especially fungal infections. 

A bug and a bird create Holes in a Calathea plant

How to Prevent Insects from Creating Holes in Your Calathea?

To keep insects from getting attracted to your plant, you should maintain it healthy. However, insects can always find a way to reach your plants. For example, insects can get to the plant quickly if the plant has a leaky pot or an open window nearby.

In addition, it is essential to keep your calathea away from other plants that can transmit pest infestation. In fact, some plants may attract insects and stay healthy. Those plants can transfer pest infestation to your calathea and cause it to become weak and unhealthy.

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How to Prevent Leaf-Eating Birds from Creating Holes in Your Calathea?

There are several ways to keep leaf-eating birds away from your calathea plant:

  1. You can cover the plants with netting. Bird netting will help you protect your plants from birds and other flying insects. It’s also straightforward to use and comes with many designs.
  2. You can place a cage around the base of the plant to keep birds from nesting in it.
  3. You can build a bird feeder near your plant.

How to Prevent Sun Damage from Causing Holes in Your Calathea?

The best way to prevent calathea plants from being damaged by the sun is to keep them watered regularly. This is especially true if you live in a dry area.

You should also keep the calathea plant in a shaded environment or give it partial shade, especially during the hot summer. The plant does not always have to be in a shady environment.

How to Prevent Diseases from Causing Holes on Your Calathea?

The best way to prevent the development of diseases in calathea is by maintaining a high level of air circulation around your plant and avoiding moist soils. Also, regular maintenance of the soil by removing any dead material is essential.

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Should I Worry If I See Holes in the Leaves of My Calathea?

Unless your calathea is experiencing severe damage, you should not worry about holes in the leaves of this plant. Generally, your plant can produce more foliage easily and quickly. However, taking action against the causes of those holes as soon as possible is a must.

If the problem of leaf holes does not get treated immediately, it may cause the leaves to start dropping. For example, when the problem is caused by aphids, the plant will often drop leaves because it doesn’t have enough chlorophyll to support the production of new ones. Mites can also cause leaves to settle because they suck on the plant’s tissues.

When the problem is caused by a fungus, calatheas could fight themselves against this kind of disease in the beginning. Generally, most plants have developed spines on their leaves that help them resist the fungus’s spread.

The spines are formed from a substance called phomopsin. During the infection process, the phomopsin becomes concentrated on the infected part of the plant. In the end, the plant will look like a net of spines around the area where the disease has attacked.

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