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Eggplant Growing Problems: Troubleshooting

Eggplant grow in warm temperatures
Eggplants demand rich soil, even consistent water, warm temperatures, bonus side-dressings of nutrients, and little or no wind.

They can be difficult to grow without these ingredients.

Here is a troubleshooting list of possible eggplant problems with control and cure suggestions: (More eggplant growing success tips are at the bottom of this post.)

Eggplant Growing Problems and Solutions

• Seedlings are cut off near the soil surface. Cutworms are gray or brown grubs that hide in the soil by day and feed at night. Handpick grubs from the soil around plants. Keep the garden free of plant debris. Place a 3-inch cardboard collar around the seedlings stem and push it 1 inch into the soil.

• Leaves roll downward but there is no yellowing or stunting. Physiological leaf roll, not caused by pathogen; it may be a reaction to temperature or weather. Keep plants evenly watered. No action needed.

• Leaves deformed, curled, and discolored; plants are stunted. Aphids are small soft-bodied insects–green and gray–that cluster on undersides of leaves. Aphids leave behind a sticky excrement called honeydew; black sooty mold may grow on honeydew. Spray away aphids with a blast of water; use insecticidal soap; aluminum mulch will disorient aphids. Aphid predators include lacewing flies, ladybugs, and praying mantis.

• Leaves wilt, turn yellow, then brown. Whiteflies are tiny insects that will lift up in a cloud when an infected plant is disturbed. These insects suck juices from plants and weaken them. Spray with insecticidal soap. Trap whiteflies with Tanglefoot spread on a bright yellow card.

• Leaves appear scorched and wilted. Leafhoppers are green, brown, or yellow bugs ⅓-inch long with wedge-shaped wings. Leafhoppers suck juices from leaves and stems. Spray with insecticidal soap or dust with diatomaceous earth. Cover plants with floating row covers to exclude leafhoppers.

• Shoots are white or yellow stippled; thin, fine webbing appears on underside of leaves. Spider mites suck plant juices causing stippling. Spray with water or use insecticidal soap or rotenone.

• Tiny round, shot holes in leaves; lower leaves are affected more than top ones. Flea beetles are tiny black beetles that feed on leaves and jump when disturbed. Handpick beetles and destroy. Keep the garden free of plant debris. Cultivate the soil deeply to destroy larvae in early spring and interrupt the life cycle.

• Leaves are eaten and plants are partially defoliated. Blister beetles and tomato hornworms eat leaves. Handpick insects and destroy. Keep the garden weeds and debris. Cultivate in spring to kill larvae and interrupt the life cycle. Pick off beetles by hand. Spray or dust with Sevin or use a pyrethrum or rotenone spray.

• Leaves and shoots are stripped. Colorado potato beetle is a yellow beetle ⅓ inch long with black stripes and an orange head. Handpick off beetles. Keep the garden free of debris. Spray with a mixture of basil leaves and water.

• White, frothy foam on stems. Spittle bugs are green insects that can be found beneath the foam. Handpick and destroy. They do not cause significant damage and can be tolerated.

• Lower leaves wilt; leaves on one side of plant wilt; yellow patches on leaves. Fusarium wilt or eggplant yellows are a fungal disease which attacks plant roots and spreads into the plant’s vascular system. Plant in well-drained soil. Rotate crops. Remove and destroy infected plants; older plants may be harvested and then uprooted and thrown away.

• Lower leaves yellow and die; stem is discolored with brown streaks when the stem is split lengthwise; plants wilt and die. Verticillium wilt is caused by a soilborne fungus. Plant verticillium-resistant varieties. Rotate crops and avoid planting in soil previously planted with pepper, potato, tomato, or cucumber family members.

• Leaves are mottled and streaked yellow and green; leaves curl and crinkle. Mosaic virus has no cure. It is spread by beetles. Plant tobacco mosaic virus-resistant varieties. Destroy infected plants and keep weeds down that host cucumber beetles. Wash your hands if you are a smoker.

• Leaves turn yellow then brown; brown to nearly black spots appear on leaves and lower stem. Early blight is a fungal disease spread by heavy rainfall and warm temperatures. Keep weeds down in the garden area; they harbor fungal spores. Avoid overhead watering.

• Galls or knots on plant roots; plants wilt in dry weather; plants become stunted. Root knot nematodes are nearly microscopic, translucent worms that inject toxins and bacteria into plant roots. Plant resistant varieties labeled VFN varieties. Feed plants with fish emulsion which seems to counter nematode toxins. Rotate crops. Companion plant with marigolds.

• Leaves and stems have irregular greenish water-soaked spots; whitish-gray growth appears on the underside of leaves; fruit takes on a corrugated look. Late blight is a fungal disease brought on by a rainy period followed by heat and humidity. Keep the garden clean and free of weeds. Remove infected plants. Improve soil drainage.

• Plants have lush foliage do not fruit or have little fruit. The soil may be nitrogen rich and lack phosphorus. Add aged compost to the planting bed before planting and side dress plants with aged compost. If night temperatures are cool place a wire cage around eggplants and drape the cage with plastic at night. Increase pollination and fruit production by lightly tapping plants to make sure pollen is distributed.

• Blossoms fall without producing fruit. Blossoms may fall if the temperature drops much below 60°F or rises above 75°F. Plant early varieties or varieties recommended for your region. Plant in warmer weather.

• Plants do not grow, appear stunted; blossoms drop off; fruit does not develop. Temperatures are too cool, below 40°F. Set out the plants when the air temperature remains above 65°F, or protect plants with plastic jugs with the bottoms cut out or other protective devices. Plant when the weather is warmer. Plant varieties recommended for your region.

• Buds and blossoms have holes; young fruits may have holes or drop; mature fruit can become misshapen and blotchy. The pepper weevil is a dark beetle ⅛ inch long; the larva is a white, legless grub found inside fruit. Handpick weevils and grubs. Nightshade plants host the pepper weevil; destroy infested plants after harvest. Cultivate the soil to interrupt the pest’s life cycle.

• Fruit is normal-colored but small and flattened; there are few or no seed inside. Pollination was poor or incomplete. Plant when the weather has warmed and insects are active. Attract bees and other pollinators to the garden. Increase pollination and fruit production by lightly tapping plants to make sure pollen is distributed.

• White spots on fruit; leaf tips are distorted. Thrips are tiny insects, yellow, brown or black with fringed wings. They scrape plant tissue as they feed leaving a scar. Keep garden free of weeds. Spray with insecticidal soap or sprinkle diatomaceous earth on leaves.

• Sunken, water-soaked spots develop on blossom end of fruit; spots can turn black and mold may appear; patches may appear leathery. Blossom end rot is caused by irregular watering or the irregular uptake of water by plants; this can happen when temperatures rise above 90°F. Keep soil evenly moist; mulch around plants. The soil may have a calcium imbalance that inhibits the uptake of water; add limestone to the soil if the pH is below 6.0.

• Sunken water-soaked areas on fruit and stems; fruit may become watery and collapse. Anthracnose is a fungus disease that over-winters in infected seed and the soil. Destroy rotting fruit; keep fruit off soil. Spray or dust with a fixed copper- or sulfur-based fungicide every 7 days. Do not collect infected seed.

Eggplant Growing Success Tips:

Planting. Grow eggplant plant in full sun sheltered from the wind. Eggplant prefers well-drained soil rich in organic matter; add aged compost to each planting hole.

Plant time. Plant eggplant when the soil temperature is at least 60°F, not sooner than 2 weeks after the last frost in spring. To jump start the season, sow eggplant indoors 8 to 10 weeks before setting it into the garden.

Care. Eggplant is finicky; there’s no getting around it. Keep the soil evenly moist, not too wet. Do not let the soil try out. Grow eggplant in organically rich soil and side dress plants with aged compost or compost tea 2 or 3 times during the growing season. Eggplant demands warm temperatures in the 70°s and 80°s. Growing eggplant against a stake or in a small tomato cage will ensure it does not fall or break when fruit is set and ripening.

Harvest. Pick eggplant when it is one-half to one-third its full size at maturity; make sure you know the variety you are growing–a mature eggplant can be anywhere from 2 to 10 inches long. If you press the skin with your finger and the skin springs back, the fruit is ready for harvest. A fruit fast its peak will lose its shiny color.

More tips: How to Grow Eggplant.

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107 Comments

    • My black beauties are tennis ball size. If I let them get any bigger, they get green streaks and get dull. It has been in the mid to high 90s up to 108 over the last month. I use a shade cloth over the bed. Is it the heat?

      • It is almost certainly heat-related. If you can keep the plant going until temperatures moderate you should have better success. Feed the plant a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days in the meantime.

    • Brinjal plants–also called eggplants–are sensitive to stress; cold temperatures, high heat, and water stress–too little or too much–can cause plants not to form fruits. As well, too much nitrogen in the soil can cause leafy growth and lack of fruit.

      • Hello Steve
        My Japanese eggplant are developing brown areas on the skin. What is the cause? Is it ok to peel and eat. That is what I have been going.
        Hedy

        • If the spots look like a scab, then it is a fungal disease called scab; the spot will be dry and corky looking; this is usually caused by too little water. if the spot are brown or gray and develops a tanned ring around the spots, this is likely bacterial fruit rot; this cannot be cured. If the spots looked scuffed or chewed then pepper maggots (larvae of a fly) or Colorado potato beetles may be feeding on the fruit; spray with insecticidal soap or sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the leaves and fruit. Diseased fruit should not be eaten; insect-damaged fruit might be edible if the interior of the fruit is not affected.

    • Fruit will only follow pollinated flowers. Make sure bees and other pollinators are visiting your garden. If you get flowers and then they drop, your eggplants may be stressed by temperatures too chilly or too hot. If your plants are healthy be patient; they will flower again.

        • If the eggplants on the branch are glossy, not dull-colored, then you can go ahead and use them. If they are small or dull-colored and not near maturity, they will not continue to grow off the plant, even in a glass of water. Next season, you can protect brittle eggplant branches by enclosing the plant in a tomato cage early in the season. Eggplant fruits grow heavy and the branches are brittle and are easily broken.

        • Check the variety you are growing to be certain it does not bear white fruit.; there are several white hybrid eggplant varieties. If the variety does bear purple fruit, be sure you are not over or under watering–keep the soil just moist. If the sun is intense in your area, give the plant midday shade by placing shade cloth directly above the plant. Feed the plant with a dilute solution of fish emulsion or kelp meal every 10 days.

  1. My eggplant didn’t grow at all. If I didn’t know better I’d think it was a fake plant. No height, No new leaves, no flowers, no fruit. I’ve had it for 1-2 months. 1 leaf got eaten by a slug, but other than some root growth nothing has changed since I planted it. Any advice?

    • No eggplant growth in 4 to 8 weeks–but the plant is still alive: could it be that the weather and temperature are not cooperating. Eggplants thrive in warm weather, optimal about 80F. If the soil or nighttime temperatures are 60F or less, then the plant would simply be hanging on, not thriving. Secondly, make sure there are plenty of nutrients in the soil–adding aged compost to the planting bed is essential. Once the season is on, give the plants a fertilizer higher in phosphorus and potassium than nitrogen– 5-10-10 or thereabouts.

    • I have only 1 eggplant in my garden that germinated and after it grew just past the seedling stage it was the same as yours for about 4 months no growth and just stayed the same size. I kept watering it every other day and recently as the weather became scorching hot it started to grow wider but not taller and is now producing about 5 eggplant It’s the long purple variety but so far they are only about 4 inches long and quite skinny and are not growing very fast. It’s a wait and see situation. These eggplants like to keep you guessing and waiting.

  2. adding that the disease often occurs in eggplant crop is rotting fruit.
    just to share the experience, to organic fertilizer problem that I normally do is organic fertilizer spread evenly on the soil during tillage, the goal for the circulation of oxygen in the soil to be good. especially if the use of organic fertilizers combined with the use of biological agents, the results can gradually be good, both in quality and productivity, and most importantly, the farmers want to be patient and painstaking care for the plants.

  3. I have growing some brinjal, it have a disease of lays eggs around the buds and also fruits by black ants. So tell me how to protect from this.

    • Ants are attracted to the excrement of many pest insects. If you can control the pests insects attacking your brinjal (eggplants), the ant will go elsewhere. Spray your plants with insecticidal soap–spray the undersides of leaves and the tops of leaves–this is one way to control pests. You may also knock pest insects off the plants with a stream of water. You can surround your plants with diatomaceous earth–this will keep crawling insect pests from getting to your plants.

      • we got healthy eggplants night shadow fruit has no seed over 5 different planting and the others are the same no seed the fruit stays small and miss shaped we have got ahold of other eggplant growers in the state of Florida and they have the same problems very odd for this time of the season but willing to try anything to help the problem real question is what can I do for the egg plant so produce seed or size up properly ????

        • Plant eggplants in compost-rich, well-drained soil with a pH range of 6.2–6.8. Start your seeds indoors 6–8 weeks prior to planting outdoors. Sow seed ¼” deep; maintain soil temperature at 80–90°F (27–32°C) until emergence and 70°F (21°C) thereafter. Once true leaves form, thin to 2–3″ apart in flats or transplant into 2–3″ pots. To harden plants before setting in garden, reduce water and temperature to about 60°F (16°C) for about a week. Transplant outdoors once the weather has thoroughly settled–no chilly nights without protection; cold weather can weaken young eggplants. Use row covers if the weather is unsettled; remove covers when blossoms first appear. Space transplants 18″ apart in rows 30–36″ apart–plant into black plastic ground cover–to insure the soil stays warm. Too much nitrogen can result in large, bushy plants that produce few fruits.

    • I use an herb called tansy to repel ants. Tansy has leaves and small yellow or white flowers that look like a small chrysanthemum. I plant tansy in areas of my garden and around my house where I do not want ants. The tansy leaves may be dried and crumbled or ground into powder and sprinkled as an ant repellant around your foundation and around doorways, but you must be careful to keep it away from children, pets, and livestock. You must use a separate mortar and pestle reserved only for grinding the tansy, because tansy contains pyrethrum, which is poisonous, and pyrethrum is used in several commercial insecticides in the U.S.

  4. I am a first timer, experimenting with a self watering system, using sealed 4 inch sq plastic fence posts. Using potted plants from the Happy Face place. Mostly tomatoes, bell peppers, & hot peppers with one EP for a friend. Started with a healthy plant, within 2 days the leaves began to split, I tried some (unknown) dust that a friend gave me, but no change. Help

    • Insufficient water and nutrient uptake can cause leaves to split. Make sure your potting or planting mix is well draining–rich in organic materials and aged compost is best. Water uptake should be even, not in fits and starts, so keep the soil evenly moist, not too wet, never completely dry.

  5. I have two eggplant one black beuty and a white in 3 gallon containers . I put they seem to be doing ok , I have them in my green house with the ceiling windows open and more of the time the door is open also. The problem is that the flowers fall off both. Is it to hot for them we have had a heat wave here in MI. 90° they get watered each morning before the heat of the day.

    • Eggplant blossom drop can be caused by stress or lack of pollination. Temperatures too hot or too little or too much water can cause plant stress and blossom drop. Keep the soil evenly moist; when the temperatures moderate the blossoms will not fall due to stress. Lack of pollination can also result in blossom drop. Eggplant flowers are “complete” meaning they contain both male and female parts and so are self-pollinating. Usually wind causes pollen to drop from the male to female part of the flower. You can give the plants a little shake to encourage pollen drop.

    • I have a Black Beauty with 6 small fruits. One is dark purple & elongated like normal. The others are round and greenish purple. What is wrong with them? I have the plant staked and well watered. It is Palm Springs, Ca so it has been hot lately.

      • An eggplant with six fruits is working at max capacity to support and grow the fruit to maturity. If the plant is stressed fruit maturation or yield may suffer. Very hot weather is a stressor. Keep the soil evenly moist until a week before harvest. Feed the plant with a dilute solution of fish emulsion. If temps persist very hot, shield the plant from mid-day sun by placing shade cloth directly above the plant.

  6. Hi
    My black Beauty eggplants are now 1′ to 1 1/2 foot tall and developing flowers already. In fact so are my bell peppers, cantaloupe, and calabasa. My corns are about 3 feet tall and already have tassels. All my plants are in 5gal. containers , the’re nice & healthy, but I don’t know what to do about this problem. This is the second time growing anything & it doesn’t look too promising. Need help please, please.
    Thanks

    • Your vegetable plants have different stages of growth; first comes root development and leaf initiation. After that stage, the plant enters into a period of stalk or stem elongation — cell expansion near the bases of the internodes at what are called the intercalary meristems. Stalk and stem elongation is influenced by a number of factors– light and shade relationships, daylength, and temperatures. Cold temperatures, for example, can increase the rigidity of basal internode cell walls, thus limiting cell expansion and internode elongation. Physiological circumstances likely account for what you see–there is little you can do to change the course of Nature; next year may be different. Your harvest may be impacted but probably not dramatically.

  7. Leafs on some squash and all my eggplant are green and yellow. Yellow like they got over spray from paint
    Overspray.speckled.best i can describe it. Eggplants 6 are growing.one has an eggplant. The affected squash plants aren’t growing much and small. Ive pulled some. Not fusarium wilt . You got some idea ? Fresno CA

    • Yellow speckled leaves may be an indication that the plant is suffering from mosaic virus. Viral plant diseases can not be cured–and the virus may spread. Watch your plants for a few days, if they continue to decline, it would be best to remove them from the garden. Viral diseases will leaves planted stunted and sickly looking.

  8. My Ichiban grows and produces fine but now noticing fruit with more white color then purple. Is it the age of the fruit as small ones still have the purple

    • Is the white in patches or in lines? White patches may be a sign of sunburn; if the fruits are exposed to intense sun their skins can burn and turn whiteish. Protect fruits during very intense summer heat from burn. If the white is in lines, this is a physiological characteristic called corking or corkiness which can be genetic in peppers; meaning it just happens. Corking occurs as pepper fruits mature–during intense periods of development. Corkiness does not affect flavor or use.

      • Steve, Thanks. The white was about half of the whole fruit. It was still good – cooked it last night- but of the four on the plant it was the largest and not sure why most was white. Heat? Well it is hot and sunny here outside Houston Texas. I’ll watch the others as they mature

        • I’m here in Virginia and having the same issue. This is my first time growing them and the largest on the plant (which I probably should’ve picked already) are over half way solid white. I’ve been on here trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong and when to pick them… as they aren’t for me to eat but for my pot belly pigs lol.

  9. My black beauty eggplant look healthy , have lots of fruit but the fruit grows to s certain point and stops . The fruit never matures to where it should be. What would cause this? This is 2 years in a row .

    • Insufficient pollination can cause fruit to not fully form–usually the fruit stops growing when less than 2 inches long. Eggplants are self pollinating, so giving the flowers a light shake should do the trick. If the fruit stops growing when it is longer than 2 or 3 inches, then the plants are likely stressed–temperatures too high or too low (wait until temperatures moderate to the high 70sF) or there is too little or too much water. Add plenty of aged compost to the planting beds before next season. Give the plants an all purpose fertilizer low in nitrogen and high in phosphorus — such as 5-10-10; also look for a fertilizer that has calcium and magnesium added.

        • Yes, eggplants need a full day of sun — eight hours to mature. Like most fruiting vegetables, full sun is a requirement for fruit to mature. Grow your crop where it gets plenty of sun. If the weather has been cloudy and overcast, eggplants will take longer to mature.

    • First check the variety of eggplants you are growing to be certain the color at maturity. Next, check the number of days to maturity–if you are about at harvest time, harvest one and slice it to see if it is ready; if it’s not, the days to maturity may be delayed by temperatures and weather. Past maturity, eggplants can move past the expected color. Sunburn can bleach out skin color–typically plant leaves will protect fruits from sunburn, but it it’s been very sunny and hot–shadecloth over the plants will protect them.

  10. I have black points on my plants they are soft and do not seam to be growing very good I weed it and water it every day this is the first time I have grown it what can I do

    • Are the “black points” on your eggplants insects, insect eggs (if so you can crush them with your fingers) or are the “points” in the tissue of the plant? Spray your plants with an insecticidal soap–this will kill insects on contact. If the points persist, they may be the sign of a fungal or bacterial spot–spray the plants with compost tea or a commercial fungicide for vegetables. Feed the plants compost tea or an organic low-nitrogen fertilizer such as 5-10-10.

  11. Hi. I planted my eggplant a week before Mother’s Day. We live in a zone 7. Long Island, NY.
    I’m growing them in beautiful, elevated, large container gardens my husband built for me to grow vegetables. I have all the right companion plants together. The soil is a rich organic potting. I also topped it with some organic mulch and tilled it in. I’ll till it lightly around on occasion too so it’s not too compact.
    We’ve had a lot of consistent rain.
    The eggplant are just not growing. No leaf or stem discoloration or insect problems that I can find. There are mushrooms growing on & off in the beds- which if I understand correctly from the damp weather.
    I’m not sure what to do to help them thrive. I have organic vegetable miracle grow. Might give the beds a dose of that.
    Any help is appreciated!
    My red cabbage, Basil, and beets are grueling well. The tomatoes and peppers are slow growing too. Banana and bell.
    Thanks so much!
    Lisa

    • The rain and overcast weather probably account for the struggle your eggplants and peppers are having. Both of these crops want warm, sunny weather to thrive. There’s little you can do to change the course of weather; however, you can protect the eggplants and peppers. Place a tomato cage around each pepper and eggplant; wrap the cage with clear plastic wrap. Leave the top open during the day, but if temperatures dip below 65F at night, place a plastic flat across the top of the cage; also do this on very rainy days. This way your eggplants and peppers will stay warm and mostly dry; this should help them to thrive. Give them a weekly boost of compost tea; this will give them the vigor needed to deal with the weather. Your planting beds sound well drained; but if they seem too wet, place plastic sheeting on the beds when heavy rains come–that will allow the water to drain away.

  12. Thank you!! I noticed the eggplant leaves, one to two on each plant, the lowest leaves are yellow. Do you think this is from the damp weather? We had more rain Sunday, & Monday. What is a compost tea? I can google it but you’re so informative and helpful. Thank you

    • The lowest leaves are the oldest leaves. So they will almost always drop first in the natural course of the season. Yellowing can be caused by too much moisture in the soil–and on the flip side by the soil being too dry. If the weather continues very wet, you can place plastic trash bags around the stems of the plants so that the rainwater runs away from the plants and does not continue to soak down. You can see the recipe for compost tea if you go to the Index and then to Compost Tea. Place a few handfuls of aged compost in an old sock and let it soak in a 5-gallon bucket of water for several days until the water looks like tea; feed your plants compost tea. You can substitute an organic planting mix (get a bag at the garden center) if you don’t have aged compost.

    • If eggplants are growing pithy, the uptake of water may be insufficient or irregular. Keep the soil evenly moist for the best fruit development.

    • The color of the brinjal or eggplant skin will begin to fade when the plant is overripe. If the fruit skin is growing light you can save the fruit for seed (if it is not a hybrid); it will not be flavorful if overripe.

  13. Hii,, my eggplant fruit has opened up a cleavage on the other end of the branch where it holds off. I don’t if it’s still be edible.

    • If the fruit has cracked, fungal or bacterial diseases can enter the fruit and cause it to rot. If you notice a new crack, the fruit is likely edible if it is near maturity. If the crack forms and you notice or suspect rot and you have not visited the garden in several days, do not eat the fruit.

    • If you suspect that particular fruit was attacked by pests, you may want to not eat it. If the fruit looks healthy, then it is likely good to eat. The light coloring might be the result of sunburn.

  14. Hi. I accidentally broke the main stalk of the plant. Will the plant survive?
    I am in Zone 7, and have been trying to grow seeds since April, finally they are about 6 to 8 inches and I broke the main stalk 😔.
    Will the new stalks emerge from the sides?

    ThAnk you

    • When the main stalk or stem of a plant is broken the water-conducting vessels which carry water and nutrients to the plant is disrupted. It is likely that the part of the plant above the break will begin to turn yellow, wither, and die. But you can hope for the best. Place a stake next to the stem and tie the stem in place. If the water-conducting vessels were not damaged, the plant will continue to thrive. It is unlikely that new growth will emerge from the lower part of the plant. If your summer is long, plant another seedling right away.

  15. Hi, For the past three years, we’ve had good success with eggplants, but this year, it has been a bust. Whenever, the plants grow leaves that look fairly good, they fall off. The stem remains and will possible grow more leaves, which will again fall off when they reach a certain point. I haven’t seen any bugs, with the exception of flea beetles. I’ve been using EM-1 as a soil additive, and am wondering if there might be a connection with what is happening with the eggplants. Most everything else in our garden is growing well. Any advice would be appreciated.
    Thank you.

    • EM1 microbial inoculant adds a broad spectrum of beneficial microorganisms, enzymes, vitamins, and various organic acids to the soil supporting the growth of beneficial organisms including mycorrhizae, earthworms, and insects already in your soil. It is also a compost accelerator. If applied in excess or too close to plant roots it is possible EM1 could stress the plant. Leaf drop is one of the first signs of plant stress. Determining that stress is important. Reduce the amount of EM1 you apply (half a dose is best when trying any new additive). But also look at too much or too little water, too much nitrogen in the soil, and wide fluctuations in temperature. It will take some detective work to get to the cause of the stress.

  16. I have snowy eggplants and they look healthy with lots of flowers and small round white eggplants about the size of a tennis ball. Seed pack says 7” long but they are turning yellow before they are getting that size. When can I harvest them?

    • Harvest all eggplant varieties when the skin turns from dull to glossy. As well the fruit will go from hard when your press with a finger to a slight give. Dull to glossy tells you the eggplant is ready for harvest. (Yellowing indicates the fruit is overripe.)

  17. I live in CA and am growing a large and healthy Japanese eggplants that has given me a large harvest. However, I recently have noticed large round deep holes in the fruit of some of them. Thy are about dime to nickle sized. There is no signs of rot and I have no holes in the leaves or any signs of disease. Do you know what this may be?

    • The dime-size holes in your eggplant fruit are likely a sign that critters are feeding on the fruits; perhaps birds or rodents who are thirsty late in the summer. Place bird netting over your plants to exclude critters. In time you are likely to see rot develop as the interior cells are exposed to the air.

  18. why do i keep reading about the leaves ??? i have asked why does a lot of my peppers them selves curl and also why is my egg plant fruit starting to curl ?? and my leaves on both peppers and egg plant are fine==== its the fruit on both not the leaves,

    • Pepper and eggplant fruits can curl or become malformed for several reasons. Common reasons include: (1) insufficient pollination at flowering time; the flowers are complete, so be sure to give flowers a gentle shake to pollen drops; (2) insufficient soil moisture or irregular watering; plant cells need regular, even moisture t develop normally; erratic moisture can affect plant cell development; (3) air temperatures to chilly or too hot (less than 60F or greater than 90F) can result in stunted or irregular growth; (4) too much nitrogen in the soil.

  19. I have black beauty eggplant that is developing well but about 20% of the fruit is separating from the cap and dropping when they are medium size for that variety. Any ideas what would cause that?

    • The separation of the eggplant fruit from the cap can be caused by (1) too much or too little soil moisture–which stresses the plant; (2) air temperatures too chilly or too hot (less than 60F or greater than 90F); (3) too many fruits on the plant; the plant will naturally abort some fruits so that others can survive.

  20. Hi there,
    Thanks for the wonderful work that you do to share the knowledge.
    My eggplant fruits are dry and a bit leathery at the blossom end. It is not blossom end rot. It looks like something in the link below.
    http://akitchengardeninkiheimaui.blogspot.com/2010/07/growing-eggplant-in-kihei.html
    Fourth picture showing the issue I have on my eggplants and here they mentioned it as fruits “with dry, leathery blossom ends”.
    I need to know what could be the resolution to the issue for future fruits on my plants? thanks again

    • The dry, leathery spots on your eggplant are likely sunburn–exposure to intense sun. Eggplant fruits usually find some relief from midday sun underneath leaves, but sometimes the blossom ends of maturing fruits will extend beyond the cover of leafy growth. Be careful not to prune away any leaves that protect fruits. You can also place stakes at the corner of the planting bed or around the plant and then place shade cloth on top. That way the plants will get morning and afternoon sun, but not direct sun overhead in the hottest part of the day. The dry, leathery spots can be cut away when you prepare the eggplant for cooking.

  21. My eggplant leaves are infested with fuzzy white lice particularly on the underside of the leaves. I also found a thick cocoon of webbing in a curled leaf will check if there is a carterpillar or moth inside. Help!

    • Use soapy water to wash away the insects on the undersides of leaves or get an insecticide that contains Spionsad and spray the pests. These are two organic pest control methods. You can also remove and crush the cocoon.

  22. One of our eggplant plants looks like it is bolting… they all have nice large purple flowers as expected, but one plant is growing much faster than the others and bunches of small white flowers have sprouted off very long side shoot branches.

    Do eggplants bolt? What should we do about it? Do we cut these branches off? The plants still have the large purple flowers.

    • Flower stalks simply mean the eggplant has the strength to set additional fruit. You can allow some of the flowers to set fruit, or if the plant already has several fruits growing, you can nip the new flowers and stem off–this will concentrate energy on the fruits already growing.

  23. Hi, I have an eggplant in a large container, it has been growing well and producing flowers but once they start to wilt they “fall” off. It’s not just the blossom that falls off though, it’s the whole flower and stem that I find laying in the soil just after the blossom starts wilting. I thought it might be ants biting it off because they attack the wound where the stem broke off from but I used a ring of baking soda at the base of the main stem to ward them off and it’s been working for that. Still just had another flower fall off, still with it’s stem. Any advice?! Its the 4th one lost like this 🙁 hoping to save the others so it actually has a chance to produce the fruit.

    • The flowers could be falling off for a couple of reasons: (1) air temperature is greater than 88F; you will have to wait until temperatures drop into the mid-80s; (2) the weather is humid and the pollen is not dropping; (3) related to #2, insufficient pollination; if temps are right and its not humid, give the flowers a gentle shake; this will help the pollen drop from the male to female part of the flower; (4) the soil lacks magnesium and calcium; add 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and feed the plants this formula every 10 days.

  24. I am growing eggplant for the first time this year and this was so helpful and informative! Thank you. One question: I have two long purple eggplant plants, both started from the same seed packet. The plants are about 1 foot from each other. The strange thing is that one plant is only producing green eggplants and the other is producing purple eggplants. I have a 8-9 inch green eggplant that just won’t turn purple. Is there something wrong with the plant?

    • It could be that seeds from two different varieties were packed in the same packet. Purple eggplant fruits left on the vine too long–past maturity–will turn from purple to green. In this case, the fruit never turned purple. No matter the color, once the fruit turn from dull to glossy, they are ready for harvest.n See this link: https://harvesttotable.com/harvest-store-eggplants/

  25. The egg plants are large and healthy and producing egg plants,but the fruit is not turning black and becomes soft. I live in Arizona in the valley. What’s wrong?

    • The likely cause is environmental; it could be high temperatures or too much water. If temperatures average greater than 85F, the fruit’s maturation process may have been interrupted. Let the plant continue to flower and as temperatures moderate new fruits should succeed. You can also protect plants with shade cloth. Keep the soil moist, but not overly wet.

  26. I live in North Texas. I planted 2 eggplant transplants last May. One is Black Beauty and the other is Patio Baby, Each plant produced just one fruit that grew about 1 1/2 inches long and then started changing color from purple to gold & brown and quit growing. The plants did not grow much at all but stayed otherwise healthy. Both plants finally started growing again in July and are now flowering and fruiting. The Black Beauty has two 3″ fruits and another blossom that looks like it might fruit. The Patio Baby has about 15 new baby fruits growing at various stages. The largest is about 3 – 3 1/2″ and looks like it is starting to turn a greenish brown. The rest are all still purple and range from 1/2″ to 2″ and there are several more blossoms that look promising. This is my first time planting vegetables. What causes the color change? Should I cut the gold/brown/greenish fruits off and are they edible? What do I need to do to get edible eggplants? Plants are in a raised bed with new, amended soil. I feed them weekly with an organic foliar spray containing compost tea, molasses, seaweed and apple cider vinegar, and they are watered regularly.

    • It is likely some of the fruits failed due to high temperatures–greater than 87F. When the weather moderates, the fruits should grow evenly to maturity. Feed the plants with a dilute solution of fish emulsion every 10 days to maintain their health and keep the soil evenly moist. When a plant is stressed it will abort small fruits; stress can be caused by temperatures too high or too low, uneven watering, and too much nitrogen. The miscolored eggplants will not be edible; you can remove them and allow young healthy fruits to grow on.

    • The likely split of eggplant fruit is erratic uptake of water; the soil going dry, then heavy irrigation or rain. Plant on mounds so that the soil is well-drained; add compost to the soil and mulch to avoid the soil drying out too quickly.

    • If the weather has been hot and the sun intense, black eggplant fruits can suffer sunburn; place stakes at the corner of the plant and drape shade cloth over the top so that the fruits do not get midday sun.

  27. I am growing ichiban eggplant and seeing lots of small brown spots covering the leaves at the top of the plant and new leaves starting to curl. I have been spraying with dawn, oil, water mixture weekly to get aphids off and dont see any other bugs. In So. California temps in high 80’s. Plants are about 2 feet tall in a hydroponic garden. Lots of blossoms and some small fruits
    Any ideas on the cause?

    • The soap solution may be too strong. Dilute the soap solution and do not apply until late in the afternoon when there is no direct sunlight; sunlight through the soap make refract and cause the leaves to burn. You may want to wash the leaves with clear water on both sides of leaves to remove heavy soap or insects.

    • Depending on the variety eggplants can turn almost all shades of purple–from lavender to nearly black; some are white at maturity and a few can be green at maturity.

  28. Hi and thanks for this site to ask questions! I have grown 7 Ping Tung eggplants bushes this year and had marvelous production – over 100 fruits so far. One plant produced an exceptionally large fruit, which I decided to let stay on the plant to save its seeds. I noticed that a few beige colored spots with dark centers appeared a few days ago. Now the lower third of the fruit is solid with them and is soft. Can I still use this one for seed, or is it a spreading disease that will affect the next generation? I’m in New Jersey. Thanks!

    • The beige spots are likely an indication the fruit is past ripe and beginning to rot. Cut open the fruit; if the seeds are black and well-formed, and the plant is open-pollinated, not a hybrid, they should be good for replanting next season. In nature, fruit rots and drops seed; this is the natural course of things.

    • There are several possible reasons: (1) too much nitrogen in the soil; (2) temperatures greater than 88F/31C; (3) sunburn–place shade cloth directly above the plant to keep midday sun off of the plant.

    • Make sure the plants are getting full sun, 10-14 hours per day. Do not overwater; keep the soil just moist, but not wet. Feed the plants a 5-10-10 fertilizer following the label instructions; do not overfertilize.

  29. I have planted eggplant but many of the fruits are without spines. This type of fruit appears where flowers are in clusters of 3 or 4 and the main problem is such brinjals are not accepted in the Market. Kindly suggest how to get rid of this

    • You can nip off some flowers so that only one fruit matures. Be sure to feed the plants with a high phosphorus fertilizer, such as 5-10-10.

  30. my POTTED eggplant flowers were beautiful, then they started to shrink and get brown. we have had rain everyday for over 1 1/2 weeks. off and on. what could cause them to look rotten?

    • If the soil is very wet, the roots, crown, and stem can rot. Allow the soil to dry out. If the plants do not recover, plant again. When rain threatens, pull the plants under cover so that the soil does not become wet or soggy.

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