Holes In Cactus | Solution For A Serious Problem |

If you come across holes in cactus, it could be due to several reasons. For example, insect / pest attacks, over watering, lack of sunlight exposure are some significant reasons which could result in this condition. 

Besides, it could also be due to diseases that have been caused by high humidity levels. So, if you have ever come across this kind of situation and are wondering how to overcome it, this article would be useful for you.

However irrespective of the root cause for this condition, it is important that you put some extra effort and treat this condition as unless it would make the plant look unpleasant. So, from this article we are going to discover what could cause this condition and how you should get rid of them as well.

Holes In Cactus

What causes holes in cactus?


To elaborate further on these, over watering would be one of the most common reasons to have holes in cactus. 

This is quite visible during winter especially when the leaves cannot absorb the moisture from the soil. As you may know already, the moisture absorption is quite slow when compared to summer. Besides, it would make favorable conditions for other bugs and pests’ types to invade the cactus.

Lot of plants 

Additionally, if you plant cactus in too compact a location, it will also cause the cactus leaves to form holes. For example, if you put two or three cacti in just one planter, it would lead to holes in cactus.  

Literally if the other plant is having spikes or thorns, they would damage the other cactus and form holes in the leaves. So, to sum up, less spacing may also cause the cactus to form holes in leaves.

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Lack of sunlight

In addition to these, lack of sunlight also would also result in holes in cactus leaves. If you have cultivated the cactus in your house, make sure that they can gain sufficient sunlight. 

Having said that, the required sunlight level would vary depending on the cactus species. Hence you need to expose them for proper sunlight depending on that. 

Generally speaking, cactus need to have at least 5-6 hours of full sunlight preferably in the morning hours. So, failing in they would tend to develop holes in the plant leaves. On the other hand, too much heat would also make them form holes in the leaves too.


Finally, the breeding of the insects and pests may also cause holes in cactus. For example, grease mite, snout weevil  have a tendency to breed on the cactus and ultimately it would result in cactus holes in the leaves. 

It is important that you rectify issues at the very moment you spot unless it would be a major problem and create further severe repercussions. Further chances are that you may even lose your precious cacti.

Holes In Cactus

What bird makes holes in cactus?

African blue tit birds , Charles Darwin’s finches are some bird species which would make holes in cactus. Even the cacti spines cannot stop them invading the plants as they are not scared. 

Having said that , birds would be only invading the outdoor grown cactus and forming holes. It is very unlikely that they would invade the indoor grown cactus. 

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If you could spot a hole within a short period, it could be most probably due to a bird attack.

What is eating my cactus?

In addition, the bird species , pests such as scale mealybugs and root mealy bugs would tend to eat the cactus a lot

Moreover, animals’ species such as snails and slugs would also tend to eat major chunks of your cactus and damage them. they would be quite active during the nighttime.

Apart from that, spider gnats and fungus gnats would also tend to eat the cactus a lot too. Furthermore, woodrats, rodents’ camels, iguanas’ tortoises , beetles, tortoises  jackrabbits would tend to eat your cactus. 

They have defensive mechanisms to safeguard themselves from the spines of the cactus. Further they also have mechanisms to protect them from toxicity as well. 

Many of these animals have behavioral strategies and anatomical features to protect them from harmful cactus effects.

Holes In Cactus

How do you fix a hole in a cactus?

If your cactus has developed holes due to over watering, you can first let the plant wither. 

As aforesaid, once the cacti absorbed more water than they require, it would result in the holes in cactus leaves. So, once you let them dry it would allow the plants to recover soon.

Next you need to place the plants in a spot where they can gain bright indirect sunlight. if you had supplied water in abundance and placed them under the scorching sun, it would worsen the situation. 

In fact, it would result in sunburns instead of recovering the plants. If you figure out that over watering has caused your plants to form holes, you need to first stop panicking and start to act instead. 

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Monitor your watering schedule and water them moderately when their soil is dry. If you practise these issues, you may never come across these issues.

To prevent this occurring, you could stick to a watering routine and water them. Ideally, you need to observe the plants well and see when you need to water the plants or when not. 

Simply if you could spot your cactus is mushy you need to suspend watering the plants. Most importantly chose a well-draining soil mix to plant them.

If the plants are infected from pests and if it has caused the holes in the plants, you need to first separate the infected plants and start treating them with pesticides or with mild insecticides

However, if there are severely holed cactus leaves, best would be to get rid of them.  Next you can apply the insecticides  and the mild pesticides to treat the remaining pests.

Further as aforesaid, inadequate space between the plants would also make the plants develop holes. 

Hence you need to make sure that you provide adequate space between all the plants so that they can grow freely without damaging the other cactus. 

Finally, you may consider propagating the healthy plant parts to make new plants too. You could consider doing that if the cactus is severely damaged.

Credit to : DIY Pinto
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About author

Alec Spain is a self-employed content creator with a passion for all things succulent and cactus. With years of experience in succulent and cactus care, Alec is an expert in helping others learn about and properly care for these unique and beautiful plants.