Holly: Red leaf spotting

categories: Holly Holly Diseases Ornamentals Shrubs

revision date: 2022-12-02 12:00

Holly red leaf spotting.
Holly red leaf spotting
Photo by: J.W. Pscheidt


Red leaf spotting of holly is a general category which includes physical or pesticide damage, nutritional deficiency, and disease symptoms. Damage from the holly’s own spines can cause leaves to develop red or corky marks where the leaf was scratched or punctured. Also, boron deficiency causes spotting of leaves. English holly (Ilex aquifolium) may develop a disease called scab, which causes swollen, red to black, corky spots on the leaves. The spots usually are on the underside of the leaf, but may appear on the upper surface. The toxicity of copper in fungicidal sprays may cause holly leaves to develop purple spots or blotches on the lower (and sometimes upper) leaf surfaces. Finally, insect damage to the leaves may result in red spots.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Determine the actual cause of leaf spotting before taking corrective or preventative measures.
  • Your WSU Master Gardeners can help you make an accurate diagnosis.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • None recommended