Gritty substance forming on leaves

Asked June 10, 2019, 8:37 PM EDT

I keep getting what feels like sand on the back of my leaves and peppers. It does form on the front side of leaves but not as much. Some of the peppers themselves have this substance forming on them. I have zoomed in and it it does not look like bugs. It looks like a form of dirt but feels gritty. The leaves seem to suffer. Holes in leaves and with time they seem to have issues. It is stunting the growth I believe. Pepper plants with no substance on leaves are a lot bigger. I have included some pictures of some. I do not have sand in my dirt. I had a bunch of dirt delivered and this is the dirt everything is planted in. The leaves that are effected are pretty close to the ground. Plants are not big enough to remove. I do not water above. I use a weeping hose on the ground and I have not used it much. We have been getting rain so they have been watered from above by mother nature. I have tomato plants growing and they also had a similar substance on them. Once they got tall enough I took off the bottom leaves and now don't seem to have any issues. I am hoping it just dirt splashing up from ground and the leaves just need a good washing. I have been considering a insect soap. If this is a pest what should I do?

St. Mary's County Maryland

3 Responses

This does not look like a pest or disease issue. It looks like soil particles that have splashed up from the rain -- nothing to worry about. You can wash off the residue with a gentle spray of water and continue to monitor your plants. Your peppers actually look nice and healthy!


I did go through and clear off all the leaves with stuff on them. All the lower leaves of every plant had stuff on them. I will see what happens in a few days. Another question for you. I did not listen to the experts and people's advise on-line when I started my Habenero plants. I started them in January instead of March. Now they seem to be growing super slow. They are not dieing. I put them in the ground about 5 weeks ago and they are still about two inches tall. They grown new leaves but at a snails pace. Some of my other peppers are 2 feet tall, including the one in the picture with the pepper. I now realize that I started them way too soon and that may stunt their growth. I believe that is the case. Is there anything I can do to get them bounce back and start to grow at a normal pace or just wait and see? Habeneros are my favorite pepper and would hate to get no peppers this year. I am trying new habeneros I have not tried before so that is even more reason to hope for growth and peppers.

In general Habaneros grow slowly and need warm weather to take off. They also suffer slow growth during cool periods. They may not start producing fruit until September. Pull the blossoms and early fruits off the plants to put energy into the root system. See our page on peppers and look at the video on pepper pinching for more information