My bird's eye chilies have started having these white spots, starting with the upper leaves.

These plants are grown indoors.

What is causing this?

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1 Answer 1


At first glance we might think that someone wetted the leaves slightly and scattered either salt or fine sugar on the leaves. But this does not work since both salt and sugar are hydrophilic (mix easily with water and oils) so within a few minutes the crystals of sugar and salt would disappear.

What we are looking for is crystals that are hydrophobic, that do not mix with water. And a quick way to achieve this is to cause the leaves to sweat out excess sap and allow the sap to evaporate leaving crystals of whatever as the water content reduces.

From the photos we can see that your pepper leaves are lush and green, and there is a distinct lack of any flower formation at this stage of growth. That could be quite normal, but could also indicate that the plants have been well and generously fertilized. If this is the case, then the fertilizer will contain carrier salts that will be taken up by the plant into the cells. When humidity rises this can cause the excess sap in the leaves to be pushed out over the leaf surface, and if evaporation takes place then crystals of hydrophobic materials will form.

It might be informative to examine the crystals under some magnification; smartphones often have a magnification app which uses the camera to zoom in on small things.

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