Return to the House Plants Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Posted by PothosOwner none (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 13, 11 at 3:17

Hi, I have a question please, I am a new pothos owner, it's been doing good so far since I bought it, it had curled leaves next day I brought it home, but I dusted around it and cleaned the leaves with wet cloth and it was looking much better next day. I watered it after a little more than a week and it's done great, after I watered it a second time I am afraid I watered it a little too soon, it was just a week, I had 2 yellow leaves and today I saw little holes on the leaves, I am afraid it's some kind of a bug. What can I do to protect it from being eaten,I didn't see any bugs on the leaves, this is just my guess, because I am not sure what else it could be?I would appreciate your help,I don't want to loose my plant,it is really beautiful.Another thing there is no direct light in our living room, the tall building that faces our building blocks it, so the most light it gets is from another room window, which is about 4 meters from the plant.I wonder if it needs a lot of light, I read it doesn't,but I am not sure now.I does look healthy, other then 2 small holes and 2 yellow leaves,that I cut off.Would like to hear your thoughts on this,thanks so much.


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Oftentimes, new plants undergo an acclimation process whereby they adjust to the usually poor lighting in their new homes. This is normal. Pothos are generally known as low-light plants, unless they are heavily variegated. Those varieties will need some more light than the all green ones.

However, the watering schedule cannot be formulated by a calender but by YOU poking around in the soil to see if it is still moist or not. In other words, we should water our plants when they need it, not according to what day it is or how many days have gone by. Watering should be a full drenching session and not little sips...then the plant should be allowed to dry out (somewhat) until the next time.

The frequency of your watering will depend upon lots of factors: type of potting medium, size of plant in relation to the amount of soil, type of container (clay, plastic), temperature and humidity of the room, amount of light, time of year, etc.

I wish I could guess at the holes in the foliage, but without a picture I can't take a stab at it.


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Thank you very much for your reply, I greatly appreciate it, I will try to make the picture of the leaves with holes and post it here, I will need to borrow the camera from my son. I learned in the flower shop how to water them, I test with my finger the soil about inch and a half to see if it's dry before watering and then water under the sink and wait till water drains, the pothos I have has green leaves. It just I really worry about me able to take care of plants, I love flowers, but my violets have died because I over watered them,as I understand now, so this time I made sure I learned how to water and I really don't want to loose this plant. I will definitely take into consideration everything you wrote and try not to panic.


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 13, 11 at 15:38

It could easily be light-related, and I'll explain that in a sec. You are watering correctly, but some soils aren't conducive to ALLOW us to water correctly. IOW, if your soil is so water-retentive that it stays wet for a week after you water, that's an issue. The reason is, if you only water a little at a time so you don't flush the soil, you ensure a build-up of salts that makes it difficult for the plant to take up water. High salt levels OR too much water in the soil can cause spotty spoiled foliage by two mechanisms. One is through oedema, the other is through the plants inability to supply water to all parts of the leaves. Tissue the plant has most difficulty moving water to dies first. This is most often on leaf tips and margins, but when it's light-related it can occur in the center of the leaf, too. Both high levels of salts in the soil AND too much water/to little air affect root function and metabolism, making roots much less efficient.

You can help things out by inserting a wick in the bottom of the pot to 'fool' the excess water into 'thinking' the pot is deeper than it actually is. The excess water will move down the wick after watering, 'looking' for what it 'thinks' is the bottom of the pot. Water isn't too smart, so it gets pushed off the bottom of the wick (if you let it dangle after watering) by additional water moving down behind it. You can make this work even better if you have/make a drain hole through the bottom at the side and insert the wick there. After watering, tip the pot @ 45* so the wick is at the lowest point & you'll be draining most of the excess water and making your plant happy in the process.

Light - leaves are only able to adapt to a range of light levels. Let's say light is graded from 1-10 by brightness, with 10 being the brightest. If leaves are formed at a light level of say 5, they can't adapt to levels beyond say 3.5 or 7.5. They can adapt a little better to high light than low light, but if the light changes outside the range of their adaptability, the plant will shed the leaves and grow new ones ..... or possibly not. The plant 'harvests' everything it can in the way of nutrients from the leaves it 'knows' will be shed, BEFORE they are shed. This doesn't always occur evenly over the leaf surface, so some tissues can die before others in leaves that are in the process of being shed, so dead spots or holes in foliage that is in the process of being shed aren't uncommon in plants like pathos, with very herbaceous foliage.

Of course, it could always be an insect or something fungal attacking the leaves, especially if the plant is stressed/weak - a picture, as suggested above, would be very helpful.

Al


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Thank you for such a through explanation, I'll have to re- read it a few more times to grasp everything. But I have good news the plant actually had a wick when I bought it, I didn't know what it was and was thinking to remove but didn't yet, I am so glad now I kept it, now I understand why it was put there :). I am charging the batteries on the camera and will post the pictures as soon as they are charged :).Thanks again for your help.


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Here are the pictures, I have counted more holes since yesterday,it's 5 leaves now that are affected :(.And another one started yellowing again, I have lots 3 leaves to yellowing in total. What do you guys think I should do?
I would greatly appreciate your help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pictures of the pothos in Photobucket album


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 14, 11 at 11:08

It looks like mechanical injury to me, not like insect damage or disease. There are a few burned leaf tips, suggesting perhaps some over-watering or a high level of soluble salts in the soil.

It looks like your plant is suffering a mild nutritional deficiency - probable N, Mg, or Fe. You should probably flush the soil thoroughly the next time it needs watering and fertilize immediately after flushing the soil with a 3:1:2 or 1:1:1 ratio soluble fertilizer. Examples of 3:1:2 ratios are 24-8-16, 12-4-8, and my favorite - Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, which has all 12 essential nutrients in favorable NPK %s AND in a favorable ratio to each other. 20-20-20 is the most commonly found 1:1:1 ratio soluble fertilizer.

I assume your pot has a drain hole. Inserting a wick will help drain excess water if you water thoroughly, so that at least 10-15% of the total volume of water you applied exits the pot. If you can't water this way w/o being fearful of the soil remaining saturated for an extended period & possibly causing root rot, you should probably consider an alternate soil with better drainage/aeration than what you're using. The quality of the soil is very important to plant health and is reflected in the number of issues you're likely to have to deal with subsequent to potting your plants.

Al


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Thank you very much Al, I am thrilled that you don't think it is the insects or disease, I was very worried. I will buy the fertilizer you have mentioned.
I do have one at home it's called YardPro 15-30-15 indoor and outdoor flowering plant food.What do you think about this one? Can I use it before I find the one you mentioned?


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 14, 11 at 17:12

There is no need to be in a super rush to flush/fertilize. Your plant actually looks pretty darn good. I think though, that it's very difficult to make a factual case for using any fertilizer for containerized plants that has the middle number, (P)hosphorous, higher than either the first or third numbers, (N)itrogen or potassium (K). Plants use on average about 6X more N than P, so after factoring for the fact that the P in fertilizers is reported as P2O5 (a factor of .43) we can say that in relation to the amount of N being supplied, 15-30-15 supplies about 5.2X as much P as the plant can or will use. We all basically fertilize as a function of N because it's the nutrient plants use the most. The excess P in 15-30-15 builds up in the soil, making it difficult for the plant to take up (especially) Fe and Mn, as well as other nutrients, or it is simply wasted. It also contributes unnecessarily to the level of soluble salts in the soil and raises pH.

You can actually get in some serious trouble with high P fertilizers in containers. A couple of things high-P fertilizers cause are A) they compete antagonistically with primarily Fe (iron) and Mn (manganese), but with other nutrients as well. One of the symptoms of an Fe or Mn deficiency is chlorosis (yellow leaves). Most growers see the light foliage and think "Ahh - needs fertilizer." So they fertilize again, adding still more excess P and causing an even more severe Fe deficiency, which makes them think the plant needs MORE fertilizer ....... the spiral. At the same time, the excess P raises the pH of the soil solution. This also contributes to the precipitation (unavailability) of additional nutrients, including more Fe.

Even 1:1:1 ratio fertilizers are high-P fertilizers as related to N usage. To be ideal, a fertilizer would supply about .17 part of P for every 1 part of N, and 1:1:1 ratio fertilizers, after factoring, suppliy .43 part of P for every part of N, which is about 2.5X more than the plant requires.

Plants use very surprisingly close to exactly the same ratio of nutrients. Some just use more nutrients than others, but still roughly in the same ratio. The best way to keep soluble salts levels at their lowest w/o risking nutritional deficiencies (and the key to unspoiled foliage) is to use a soil that allows you to flush the soil thoroughly when you water, and to fertilize frequently at low doses with a fertilizer that supplies nutrients in the same ratio in which plants use them. After factoring for the way P and K are reported, 3:1:2 ratio fertilizers come the closest to providing nutrients in the same ratio plants use them.

As noted, my favorite is Foliage-Pro 9-3-6, because it has all the nutrients plants normally get from the soil in the right proportions, which is a considerable + for the grower. It also supplies most of its N in nitrate form, which is easier on plants and helps keep them compact and bushier/fuller.

I know this may seem a little technical, but if there is anything you don't understand - just ask. I don't mind taking the time to explain exactly how or why certain approaches work better for plants in containers than others. ;o)

Al


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

I think I get it :)))), thanks a lot for taking time to explain, I didn't know of course anything about that, I am so glad I do now, thank you for sharing your knowledge with me :), it feels good to actually know what you are doing when taking care of plants, so glad I have found this forum :))).
I won't use this fertilizer now, will try to find the one you mentioned, hopefully it won't be a problem here in Canada. Thank you very much.


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 14, 11 at 20:05

You're very welcome.

I know they make Miracle-Gro in Canada. I'm guessing you can find 24-8-16 in yellow & green boxes labeled 'All-Purpose Fertilizer'. You'll need to check the label carefully, as the NPK %s will be in fine print somewhere. You should also be able to get Miracle-Gro in 12-4-8 liquid - probably in a yellow liter-size jug and also labeled 'All-Purpose'. Neither will be expensive.

Good luck!! Let me know if there's ever anything else you think I might be able to help you with.

Al


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Thank you again very much, I just found the two you mentioned at the Homedepot :). Just a few questions, do I just follow the instructions on the package when diluting them with water, is there anything specific I need to know about the process itself? Thank you :).


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 15, 11 at 9:31

Nothing hard about it - just flush the soil VERY thoroughly the next time it needs water. The more you flush it, the better. Saturated the soil & let it set for a few minutes, then flush with room temp water - estimate how much water the pot holds & flush the soil with 5-10X that volume of water, then fertilize with a 1/2 the recommended dose. After you fertilize, more water will run out the bottom. If you hold the pot at eye level & lower it quickly toward the sink (downward), then reverse the direction (upward) you'll see a lot more water exiting the pot. Do that several times until no more water exits the pot, then put the plant in bright but not direct light. Be careful not to water again until it needs it. Check for moisture with a wood skewer stuck deep into the soil - if it comes out damp/cool/dirty, wait to water.

Good luck!

Al


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

Thank you Al for all the help.


 o
RE: Pothos - small holes on the leaves and leaves yellowing :(

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 15, 11 at 21:36

My pleasure. Photobucket

If you have other questions .......

Al


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the House Plants Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here