I noticed this on some on my Carolina Reaper plants. A lot of the leaves have this kind of spots surrounding the midrib and the veins.

The plants grow indoors in 5l pots but I kept them in the garden for a period of about half a year when the temperatures were higher.

brown spots next to the midrib and veins of a chili pepper plant's leaf

Some of the spots can be seen on the underside of the leaf as well.

Here's a picture showing the distribution of the spots on a leaf's upper surface.

What am I dealing with here? Some kind of pest? A disease? Or maybe the plants are lacking something?

enter image description here

Bacterial leaf spot comes to mind but I;ve never actually seen it and the pictures I can find online look somewhat different.

  • Are the pots transparent, by chance? Jul 8, 2020 at 4:29
  • @Brōtsyorfuzthrāx that was 3 years ago but no, I wasn't using transparent pots. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:47

2 Answers 2


It's a sap sucking pest of some sort, which is why the damage is largely along veins - but it looks like whatever it was has gone, because your first photo only shows evidence of damage where they've been, rather than the insect itself. I can't see the black specks clearly enough in the second image to determine whether they're insects or not - use a magnifying glass and check. If whatever they are is sitting on top of the leaves, do the marks beneath correspond with their position? If so, and insects are present, then that's likely the result of their sap sucking activities. Hopefully, they have not introduced or caused a fungal or bacterial infection to set in, which is always possible from such activity.

  • I can't see any bugs on the leaves, if there are any, they're extremely small. I have moved these plants away from my other ones and I'll keep monitoring them. Nov 25, 2017 at 17:43
  • It later turned out I had had a problem with thrips gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/41997/… I ended up throwing the plants I was keeping indoors. The ones brought from the outside for winter were not affected. Jul 21, 2019 at 15:44
  • Nice, clear photo of a thrip insect n the question you link to...
    – Bamboo
    Jul 21, 2019 at 15:50

Came here to add to this answer - I got the exact same brown spots on my Carolina Reaper plant and I am not convinced it's a pest. I grew two of them from seed along with around two dozen of other chilli varieties. They all have been growing very close to each other and only the Carolina Reaper is showing these spots. I have been looking very carefully around for bugs and there are none to be found. Furthermore, one of my Reapers was transferred to the windowsill of an office a month or two earlier and it ended up also developing the exact same brown spots along the veins.

I find it very unlikely that there's this very hard to spot insect that ONLY affects Carolina Reapers, hiding in the soil to strike when the plants reach a certain age. Given that it seems so isolated to only this variety, I'm at this point keen to attribute it to genetics of this variety. Might be wrong of course.

Attaching images for reference. enter image description here

enter image description here

  • I hope you're right. I ended up discovering thrips on that plant later on gardening.stackexchange.com/questions/41997/… and this kind of damage seems to fit their feeding habits. The scarring didn't appear on all of my plants initially but I eventually had to throw out all of the plants I had been keeping indoors at that time. Not just reapers but a couple habaneros and a cayenne too. Thrips are really small, almost transparent and they stick very close to the veins. Makes them hard to notice. Jul 7, 2020 at 9:52

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