Holes in Iris Petals and Leaves

Iris are popular garden flowers that come in a variety of colors. They are known for their showy petals and perky blooms. But did you know that some Iris flowers have holes in them?

Holes in Iris flowers are actually quite common. It’s something I’ve personally dealt with in my own garden. Luckily, this means I have some tips and tricks to share with you all!

Why Are There Holes in Iris Flowers?

Pests are the most common culprits when it comes to holes in Iris flowers. The most common and notorious Iris pests are Iris Borers, but other pests like aphids, thrips, and Japanese beetles can cause damage as well.

Iris Borers are moths that lay their eggs on the Iris plant in the fall. The larvae then hatch and burrow into the plant, eating their way through the leaves until they reach the rhizome (root system). This feeding can cause the plant to become stunted and weak, which in turn results in fewer and smaller blooms.

As the Iris Borer makes its way into the roots, it’s hard to know they’re there until you see the damage they’ve done. Digging up the rhizome is the only way to be sure and even then, they can be difficult to spot.

Other pests are easier to find and treat. Aphids, thrips, and Japanese beetles are all surface pests that feed on the leaves of the Iris plant. This feeding can cause holes and other damage to the leaves.

Iris Borer
Iris Borer

How to Remove Pests from Iris Flowers?

Rhizomes with Iris borer caterpillars and tunnels should be destroyed. This will help to prevent the spread of these pests and keep them from damaging other plants in your garden. Then, apply a pesticide to the soil around the base of the plant to help kill any remaining larvae.

To remove surface pests, start by spraying the leaves with water to remove any loose aphids, thrips, or Japanese beetles. Then, apply a pesticide according to the label directions. Be sure to cover the entire plant, including the undersides of the leaves.

Neem oil is a great organic option for treating pests on Iris flowers. It’s safe to use around children and pets and is effective against a wide variety of common garden pests. Plus, it doubles up as a fungicide!

I like to mix a teaspoon of neem oil with a teaspoon of dish soap and a quart of water. I then put this mixture into a spray bottle and apply it to my plants every few days as needed. This has helped to keep my Iris plants pests-free and looking their best!

How to Keep Pests Away From Iris?

Remember, the best way to deal with pests is to prevent them from becoming a problem in the first place. There are a few things you can do to help keep pests away from your Iris plants.

Inspecting your plants regularly is the best way to catch pests early. Check the leaves and stems for signs of damage and look for any insects or larvae that might be present. This way you can apply pesticides as needed and nip the problem in the bud.

It’s also important to keep your garden clean. This means removing any dead leaves or debris that might be present. Pests love hiding in these areas, so keeping your garden clean will help to deter them.

You can even add beneficial nematodes (roundworms) to your garden. These helpful critters feed on common garden pests like Iris Borers, aphids, and Japanese beetles. They need moist conditions to survive, so be sure to water your garden regularly if you add them to your pest control regimen.

Holes in Iris Leaves
Holes in Iris Leaves

What Else Causes the Holes?

While Iris Borers and other pests are the main culprits when it comes to holes in Iris flowers, there are a few other things that can cause this problem as well.


Rabbits, deer, and other animals can cause damage to Iris plants by eating the leaves or stems. This type of damage is usually more prevalent in areas where these animals are present in large numbers.

If you suspect that an animal is responsible for the holes in your Iris flowers, you can try using a fence to keep them out of your garden. Be sure to make the fence tall enough and buried deep enough so that the animals can’t simply dig under it.

You can also try using a repellent spray on the plants. This won’t keep all animals away, but it might help to deter some of them.

High Winds

Strong winds can also cause holes in Iris flowers. This is because the wind can cause the leaves to rub against each other, causing abrasions and holes.

If you live in an area with high winds, it’s important to take steps to protect your plants. One way to do this is to build a windbreak. This can be as simple as putting up a fence or planting some tall shrubs.

Fungal Diseases

Fungal diseases can also cause holes in Iris flowers. These diseases are typically caused by too much moisture, so be sure to water your plants at the base instead of overhead to help prevent them.

Some common fungal diseases that can cause holes in Iris flowers include rust, powdery mildew, and botrytis. If you notice any of these problems on your plants, be sure to treat them right away with a fungicide.

Should I Prune Iris Flowers with Holes?

There is no need to prune iris flowers that have holes. This won’t help to get rid of the pests and can actually make the problem worse.

The only time I like pruning my iris plants is when a fungal disease is spreading. In this case, I remove any affected leaves or stems to help prevent the disease from spreading to the leaves and flowers.


I hope this article has helped you to better understand the cause of holes in Iris flowers. Remember, the best way to deal with this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Inspect your plants regularly and take steps to keep pests away. If you do find holes in your flowers, there’s no need to panic. Simply tackle the cause and your plants will be back to normal in no time.

Have you ever noticed holes in your Iris flowers? What worked best for you in dealing with this problem? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Comment