What is causing my houseplant to have holes in the leaves?

Asked August 28, 2015, 6:38 PM EDT

I've had a plant for about three years but new leaves barely grow. When they do, they come out really, really dried up and curl up on themselves and have holes in them. I've tried watering it more and putting it closer to the sunny window this last couple of weeks but I don't see any change. Any suggestions?

New York County New York horticulture

4 Responses

When the leaves first start to emerge, before they unfold, check closely for insect pests such as spider mites, thrips and mealy bug. If you do not see any of those, then it could be a bacterial infection.
Also, before watering, check the moisture in the soil. If you feel moisture at the top two inches of the soil, you do not need to water.
When was the last time you repotted the plant?
New soil may help if you tend to have hard water in your area.
Also, find out what your plant is and search for it online to get an idea of its normal habitat. You may want to keep it out of a south- or east-facing window if it likes shade.
Check with your local Extension office to see if they have someone who can take a look at the plant. Sometimes a close look at the plant will show something that a picture does not show.

Hmm.. I used to have mealy bugs on my other plants but I don't see anything on this one. I used to hardly water it so I don't see it as a moisture issue. I haven't repotted the plant for about three years. I live in NYC but don't know how the water is. It was sort of in the shade for a while although the windows face south it was in a corner.

How do I get in touch with the extension office?
Also, how do I stop a bacteria infection?
Should I repot?



Repotting might be a help. You will need to search on line for your local extension office contact. Usually if you search for your county and follow it by CCE or reverse CCE and then your county, you will find the contact information.
They may know the water quality and other information which will help you.
Shade is probably good on a south window.

You can not do much about bacteria other than eliminate the source.
Before you try that, contact the Extension people and try changing the soil to see what happens.
Try to find out the species of plant you have so you can get a better understanding of needs of the plant.

Great. Thank you.