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Holes In Cannabis Leaves: Causes & Treatments

holes in cannabis leaves

Are your marijuana plants looking more like garden mesh lately? Holes in cannabis leaves are always a cause for concern. A few things could generate them, but the main culprits are bugs

Read on as we tell you more about the hungry critters to look out for and their munching preferences. We also share the easiest ways to eliminate them. 

Let’s get started.

Weed leaves with holes

Pests and bugs: The main reason for holes in cannabis leaves

If you spot holes in weed leaves, don’t blame the neighbors. It’s likely the work of hungry garden critters munching on your precious foliage and buds. 

When growing outdoor cannabis seeds, your plants are part of a rich ecosystem. They have various requirements to help them grow healthier, like proper nutrients and adequate sunlight. There are also villains out to get them, such as pests and mold. 

Its relatively easy to spot insect holes in marijuana leaves. Here are some signs from our cannabis pests chart

  • Irregular holes
  • Tunnels in the soil 
  • Nibbles in the roots 
  • Slimy trails or fecal matter 
  • Pooling water

Many insects could cause this crime to your plants, but these are the top suspects:


Caterpillars are cute, but don’t let that fool you. They’re always hungry, and cannabis is one of their favorite snacks. They’re usually no more than 5.6 inches long and have 10 legs, crochets on their prolegs, and 12 eyes.

A caterpillar on a weed plantcan damage and potentially kill your flora. These insects create tiny holes in cannabis leaves, especially on the large fan ones.

The best way to get rid of them is to come out at night with your garden gloves and pick them off. Spray neem oil to prevent and chase these critters away, but avoid using it during the flowering stage.

Holes In Cannabis Leaves


You don’t have to spot crickets to know they’re responsible for small holes in cannabis leaves. These nocturnal bugs make a loud chirping noise.

Some cricket species form tunnels in the soil and damage the roots. They also attract other prey that pull the plant apart when trying to dig for snacks.

You can try to pick the crickets up with your hands, but they’re fast. Using pesticides and setting up traps is the best way to deal with them. 

Holes In Cannabis Leaves


Grasshoppers are similar to crickets in appearance but significantly larger. They’re one of the oldest known species of herbivorous bugs and have decades of experience making holes in cannabis leaves. 

Grasshoppers can cut off your plants circulation of nutrients by destroying weed leaves. If you can’t spot them but suspect they’re around, look out for wildlife species that hunt them, like cats, birds, and foxes. 

If you spot holes in a cannabis leaf, you can pick the grasshoppers off, but they’re fast, jumpy, and somewhat horrifying. Your best option is to use pesticides if your plants aren’t flowering. 

Alternatively, use the help of natural predators. Put your cat outside or leave bird food around and let mother nature take its course. 

Slugs and snails

Slugs and snails are easy to spot; it’s not like they can run away from you. These slow, slimy critters leave a sticky trail wherever they crawl and chew irregular holes in weed leaves. 

If they’re on your plants for a while, they cause cannabis leaf problems. Some species enjoy stems and roots, which could immediately kill your flora. 

Getting rid of snails that are creating holes in marijuana leaves is easy. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Go out at dusk when most slugs come out.
  1. Put on a pair of gloves and grab any snails you spot. Check under the leaves and deep in the foliage. 
  1. Place them in a container and take them to a pond or vegetation with other slugs. 
Holes In Cannabis Leaves

Are there other reasons for holes in marijuana leaves?

What if there are holes in cannabis leaves but no bugs? Other options are more likely with indoor weed seeds where insects can’t get in. Alternative reasons include:

  • Light burn: Intense lights can burn holes into tender foliage and typically affect upper leaves.
  • Mold: Some forms of mold may cause holes with black rims and musty layers.
  • Frostbite: A sudden intense drop in temperature may cause frostbite, which sometimes appears as holes in cannabis leaves.
  • Viruses: Certain viruses cause symptoms that look like tiny craters. 

Stop hungry bugs before they eat your plants

Nine out of ten times, what causes holes in cannabis leaves is insects. Getting rid of them is easy but dealing with the damage they leave is more challenging. Its essential to act fast to prevent fatal munching

Growing high-quality cannabis seeds is crucial to a healthy harvest. Shop our top-shelf seeds to start your cultivation journey on the best foot.

About the author: Derek LaRose

Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.

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