I've been growing Cayenne pepper plants for a while now on my windowsill. They seem pretty healthy, tall, green and they're starting to flower! But some plants leaves are starting to spot. It's like light speckling, it's not bumpy or anything. And some of the leaves have shrivelled a bit at the tip.

I use liquid plant food (like less than a teaspoon per 500 ml of water) on the plants. Is the spotting due to lack or over nutrients? overwatering? underwatering? Sun bleaching? I don't think it's mites or bugs/ Please help! Thank you :)

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2 Answers 2


Look beneath the leaf. This is usually caused by sucking insects such as white fly, spider mite. Sometimes the insect will poke their proboscis into the top of the leaf to insert eggs into the leaf. Please take a picture of the underside of the leaf. I'd nip those leaves off at the stem if there are only a few of them. Your plants are going to be producing peppers on a window sill? That is amazing. What is interesting is how insects got INTO your home to do this. Have you seen any flies?

You will also have to manually try to pollinate the flowers. Give them a good shake now and then or using a tiny paint brush get some pollen on your brush and swish it around on your flower. Have these plants been outside? I'd take them out and acclimate them to the out of doors...starting with 10 minutes for a couple of days, then 20 minutes for a couple of days and so on...to get them used to the sun. This thickens the epidermal cells so that they don't get sunburn. Insects outside will pollinate for sure and the sun will help your plants make enough food for energy to make better and more fruit.

They most certainly can stay in their pots. By the way, is this soil from your garden? If it isn't sterilized potting soil which I always use for any potted plant, that might be the reason for the insects. There are other options if we find that this is insect damage so please send another picture or two with more information...

The shriveling at the tips and margins is indicative of tap water use or too much fertilizer. Too high of salts.

  • Thanks for the reply! I have considered pests being responsible. I've been looking under each leaf over the past few days and I can't find anything out of the ordinary, no eggs or bugs either. I've been taking them outside like you said and they've really had a boost in their growth. The soil is from store-bought compost, mixed with plant food bits. I suspect that I've over fed them nutrience wise, giving them both the plant food granules and liquid plant feed too! So I'm limiting that to once a week or two. I've noticed white mold growing because of overwatering, could that be a problem? May 11, 2017 at 14:29
  • Shoot, yeah, purchasing soil with fertilizer (it isn't plant food....hate how they give wrong messages to the public, plants make their own food) takes you out of the control seat. Stop fertilizing. In fact if they continue to brown on the tips and margins I would just dump that soil and repot your plants in plain old sterilized potting soil. They should not be fertilized that often, either! Let me know what you are using, brand name and formulation. When you look beneath the leaves you probably will be unable to see the eggs as they would be inside that leaf. Take a picture anyway...
    – stormy
    May 11, 2017 at 18:46
  • The white mold would be because the soil wasn't sterilized or at least the compost they added wasn't sterilized. Too much water would definitely exacerbate fungus being able to grow. Won't hurt your plants but all the more reason to use sterilized bagged potting soil. Could you send another picture of that axil between the leaf and main stem where the flowers are coming from? Need to see that blackened crotch. These flowers need help with pollination and they look too limp. A picture of the entire plant and pot? Water only when the soil is dry down about a half inch. No more fertilizer
    – stormy
    May 11, 2017 at 18:53

Looks like bacteria or fungus to me, might be wrong but that's what it looks like.

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