Note: I have posted a previous question regarding my chilli plants, its details may help in diagnosing this new issue. You can see it here: White, fur like strands and spots on underside of chilli plant leaves.

Some leaves on one of my cayenne chilli plants have begun to show dry brown patches, some of which have tiny black dots covering the affected area.

Can anyone help diagnose the problem?

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  • In the third picture, there seems to be a green bug (middle-top right). Is it really a bug?
    – BYJ
    Aug 10, 2014 at 17:09
  • 1
    @J.Musser it can be Empoasca spp. check the small black spots (maybe feces) on the underside of leaves and necrosis at the edges.
    – BYJ
    Aug 10, 2014 at 18:46
  • Thanks for the replies. @ondoteam: I don't believe there are visible bugs on the plant, I think these marks are caused by over watering (a problem identified by yourself on my other issue!), I will double check when I am at home. These brown marks appeared very quickly, I didn't notice the problem until a number of leaves were displaying the symptoms. I have been growing the plants for roughly 4 months without issue.
    – Dean_0
    Aug 11, 2014 at 12:06
  • Not my answer, I just did a +1 with a note :)
    – BYJ
    Aug 11, 2014 at 14:05
  • Can you get a close-up of the tiny black spots? A magnifying glass would help.
    – Ingmar
    Aug 12, 2014 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


Any time you are growing in a container, you have a higher chance of running into nutrient lockouts, nutrient deficiency, and nutrient overloading. Depending on the severity (and this looks pretty minor), drenching the plant with water and letting it dry is usually recommended to help clean the root area out. This is usually only recommended if you have been adding more nutrients than what was already in the soil.

What I would recommend is capturing the run-off water from a normal watering (maybe more than normal just so you can a decent amount of run-off to test) and then checking the PH and PPM to narrow in on a possible issue. Sometimes the PH is out of whack and that results in some nutrients in the soil being unusable by some plants.

The trouble with diagnosing it based on pictures alone is that both nutrient deficiencies and excess nutrient symptoms are usually very similar.

Have you been adding any additional liquid fertilizer when watering? What was the soil originally (NPK)?

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