Plant Care

5 Reasons Why are Holes in Money Tree Leaves? [How to Prevent]

Do you have a Money Tree at home and noticed holes in the leaves? There are many reasons why there are holes in the money tree leaves and we will try to explain in this article all of them and how to combat it.

The Money Tree is a green houseplant that is also known as Pachira aquatica or Lucky Chestnut. There aren’t many pests that really bother a money tree. 

The most common cause why holes appear on the money tree leaves is due to a presence of pests infestation like Spider mites, Aphids, Mealybugs, Leaf miners and Caterpillars.

Why are Holes in Money Tree Leaves

Why are Holes in Money Tree Leaves:
1. Spider mites
2. Aphids
3. Mealybugs
4. Leaf miners
5. Caterpillars

1. Holes in Money Tree Leaves due to Spider Mites

Spider mites are very small insects with a round shape and a color ranging from red to brown and yellow. Due to their size, they cannot be seen with the naked eye, but their presence is noticed because spider mites chew the money tree leaves and create small holes.

Spider mites can be recognized by the small, very fragile webs that are also found on the undersides of the leaves and the shoots. Small red dots on the leaves can be seen with the naked eye .

The attacks of the red spider are, on the upper face of the leaves, yellowish or grayish spots appear, all over the leaf.

The presence of the red spider is due to the permanence of the plant in a dry and warm environment , therefore a great way to prevent its appearance is to water the money tree plants regularly but without exceeding, to avoid root rot, and remember to also water the stem of the plant.

How to treat Spider Mites

The simplest and least harmful method to get rid of mites from money tree leaves is to clean the money tree plants well: wet the plants and wash the leaves of the indoor plants with water (possibly lukewarm with a little very mild soap ). A cloth soaked in isopropyl alcohol can also be used , rubbing it gently on the underside of the leaves.

If the problem is more extensive, specific natural-based or chemical insecticides can be sprayed, taking care to choose the most suitable one for the type of plant to avoid damaging it. 

In any case it is important to eliminate immediately the money tree leaves that are infested, cutting the leaves that have been attacked by the parasite and removing those that have already fallen.

Also remember that some types of insects, including ladybugs , are predators of these parasites and it may be helpful to encourage their presence.

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2. Holes in Money Tree Leaves due to Aphids

Aphids are insects that are usually seen on the most tender parts of the money tree , such as leaves, shoots, flowers and buds as their intent is to puncture, create holes and suck the sap of the money tree.

Aphids infestation are quite serious , since they can cause holes in the money tree leaves which, in turn, lead to the death of the affected part leaving them covered with non-removable encrustations. Money tree affected by aphids loses energy and withers very quickly, along with the holes in leaves and falling off. 

Aphids are parasites commonly known as ” leaf lice “, they are very small and bright green in color and are particularly feared for the speed with which they reproduce. 

Aphids appear when the money tree plant is in flower. Mainly from April to August. 

They leave a shiny, sticky liquid (honeydew) all around. Ants cultivate this kind of insects. So if you have ants popping up from somewhere they weren’t and heading towards flowering plants.

How to treat Aphids

If only a few leaves are affected, it will be sufficient to wash the money tree plant and restore the damage, or wash the leaves well with soap and water (soap kills aphids and can be applied once a week or so). 

It can also be useful to use natural methods with ingredients hated by these parasites, such as garlic that has been shredded and left to soak in water, in order to have a liquid to spray on the plant. 

If the problem is very extensive it will be necessary to proceed with specific insecticides asking for advice from an expert in choosing the right one for the plant.

The aphid can also be controlled well with biological pesticides. This can be done with larvae of lacewings, gall midges or ladybugs.

To defeat them, an excellent ally are ladybugs who can eat up to 100 per day; if you notice an area rich in these insects, do not hesitate to approach the plant infested with aphids.

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3. Holes in Money Tree Leaves due to Mealybugs

This is a common pest to the money tree plant. Mealybugs loves to settle down on the roots and in the axils of the leaves, eating plant tissues and creating holes in the money tree plant. In addition, it also spoils the appearance of plant, covering the greens with mealy secretions resembling cotton wool.

Mealybugs can be recognized by the small white webs that are deposited on the leaves when they are infested. In addition, lice leave behind a sticky substance that, in severe cases, also drips down.

Mealybugs live at the expense of the host plant as they feed on the money tree’s sap by releasing honeydew and whitish fluff, which could become the habitat of molds and fungi.

How to treat Mealybugs

When the infestation is in the early stages, it is sufficient to use, for example, a cotton swab soaked in alcohol, an old toothbrush or a toothpick to eliminate them manually by squeezing them or removing them from the plant.

Pests cannot be collected by hand. Spray the money tree with a hard jet to remove most of the lice. After that, the plant must dry well so that the roots do not become too moist.

Since you cannot fight mealybugs with soft soapy water, you only have the option of purchasing the appropriate means in gardening shops.

They are administered as granules, sprays or plant sticks. These agents contain toxins that are carried through the substrate to the leaves and poison the lice when they suck.

4. Holes in Money Tree Leaves due to Leaf Miners

The leaf miner is not a single type of pest. It is a generic term that refers to all insect larvae that live in a leaf. The larvae nest in the leaves and eat the leaves, ruining their appearance. Leaf miners are usually spread by bringing home infected plants or cuttings from infected plants. 

Leaf miners cause very specific damage to leaves. The larvae bore tunnels into the surface of the leaves causing holes in the money tree, as their name suggests. Sometimes the damage is not in the form of a tunnel but rather a hole. It happens when several larvae live in a leaf and their tunnels connect.

Leaf miners can be visible from the top, bottom, or both sides of the foliage. The hole areas of the leaves may completely or partially fall out (currant iridescent moth, elm leaf miner).

How to treat Leaf Miners

At any garden store you will find synthetic pesticides to control leaf miners and other pests. We prefer to use a natural approach so as not to cause unnecessary damage to the plants.

Some insects are beneficial because they can fertilize crops and clean up waste. Ground beetles and ladybugs, as well as praying mantises, lacewings and soldier bugs are all examples of insects capable of eliminating leaf miner pests.

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5. Holes in Money Tree Leaves due to Caterpillars

The final insect pest that can cause holes in the Money Tree leaves are caterpillars. They occur in nature in many sizes and shapes and attack many plants , from trees and shrubs, to grass and vegetables.

Some caterpillars not only make holes in the money tree leaves, but move inside the stems where they are more difficult to control. This is the case, for example, of the geranium butterfly.

If you see butterflies or moths hanging around plants that aren’t in bloom, look for eggs under the leaves and remove them.

If you can’t get rid of the caterpillars eggs in time, you can look for young and old money tree leaves with irregular holes starting at the edges. Sometimes whole leaves are devoured.

How to treat Caterpillars

We have to look for the caterpillars , they usually have nocturnal habits, so they are sometimes difficult to locate. Failing that , droppings in the form of small black balls will reveal their presence.

For its control , manually eliminate the caterpillars and the laying of eggs that are located on the underside of the leaves. If the infestation is severe use an insecticide .

Bacillus thuringiensis, neem oil (can be combined) or natural pyrethrins (In this order of use, pyrethrins spray only in serious cases, since they do not kill the auxiliary fauna) can be used to treat caterpillars.

How To Prevent Holes in Money Tree Leaves

Prevent Holes in Money Tree Leaves by Using Neem Oil

It is one of the most widely used biological pesticides, and for good reason. It repels most money tree pests and is safe for beneficial insects.

Neem oil can be dissolved in water and then sprayed on the affected areas. To make two tablespoons of oil for every gallon of water, simply add 2 tablespoons of oil. 

It can be used in water or in the ground pot. It is taken up by money tree leaves and distributed to the tissues of insects. Neem oil is also a powerful fungicide and can be used to treat root rot.

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Prevent Holes in Money Tree Leaves by Using Tansy

Tansy repels all sucking (aphids, whiteflies) and biting (caterpillars) insects and is effective against downy mildew . To make the decoction, you need dried tansy. You can collect it in the wild or plant it in your own garden.

  • Take 100 grams of dried tansy, strip the leaves from the money tree stems and cut off the flowers.
  • Put the whole thing in a saucepan and add 1 liter of water.
  • Let the mixture boil for half an hour. This releases essential oils and bitter substances that drive away many pests.
  • After cooling, pour the brew through a sieve. The brew will keep for several months in a mason jar.

How To Keep Money Tree Healthy

Temperature: The money tree can be cultivated at room temperature all year round and should not be placed below 59°F (15°C) for long periods in winter. The ideal temperature is between 64-80°F (18-27°C). It also tolerates 50°F (10°C) for short periods.

Location: The money tree does not tolerate direct light well. They prefer bright, indirect light they also do relatively well in low light. In the summer it can stay outdoors, in a shady and sheltered position indoors as soon as temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C).

It is advisable to place it in a room where there is a lot of light and the sun’s rays are filtered by a curtain or tent.

Watering: Money tree can also be grown in hydroponics, although it does not need frequent watering. In fact, it is sufficient to water it only when the soil is dry to the touch. It is a drought-resistant plant, but it should be watered abundantly from spring and throughout the summer.

Therefore, give a large splash of water once every 3 weeks. Because the money tree plant stores water in the trunk, the soil must be dried out before watering again. Pour the water into the soil and not over it from above.

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Fertilizing: No fertilization is required for the first year after purchase or repotting of the money tree. Then from April to September every 4th to 8th days liquid fertilizer or commercial flower fertilizer can be administered once each in spring and summer.

Substrate: Normal potting soil mixed with sand, clay granules or lava chippings is suitable as a substrate for money tree. It ensures better permeability and increases airflow in the floor. It is important that large drainage holes with covered shards of pottery guarantee drainage at the bottom of the pot.

Repotting: From time to time it is advisable to change the substrate and give the money tree new impetus. Repotting should not be neglected, especially in young, fast-growing years. Every three years, the interval is recommended in the first 10 years, later repotting is only necessary every five years.


This plant is a bit different from other houseplants in the care so it is important to know how to do this exactly. You can therefore try to avoid holes in the money tree leaves cause by pests by occasionally spraying the leaves with water. Especially in winter it is recommended to spray enough, because the plant also receives less water.

In this article we have presented which pests determine the money trees leave to have holes and what remedies to use to save your plant.

Andreea Tapu

Andreea TAPU is a passionate gardener with over 5 years of experience in cultivating a wide variety of plants and flowers in her garden. As the author and creator of, she is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others, providing practical tips and advice to help gardeners of all levels achieve success and enjoyment in their gardening pursuits.