The Q&A Archives: Established eggplant plant

Question: My eggplant has been getting flowers for a couple of months now but there are no eggplant growing. What can I do? Do they require a special fertilizer? I also have the same problem with my cantaloupes.

Answer: When an eggplant has flowers but no fruit, this is due to one of two issues. The first thing that can cause eggplant flowers to fall off is a lack of water and the other is a lack of pollination.

When an eggplant plant is stressed, its blossoms will dry up and drop off without producing fruit. The most common reason a eggplant gets stressed is due to a lack of water. Your eggplant needs at least 2? of water a week, more in very hot weather. The majority of that water should be gotten in one watering so that the water goes deeper into the ground and is less likely to evaporate quickly. Deep watering also encourages the eggplant to grow deep roots, which helps it to find water deeper in the ground and even out its water needs so it will be less likely to drop a single eggplant flower.

An eggplant flower is normally wind pollinated, meaning it does not rely on insects like bees and moths to pollinate it. A pollination problem can occur when the weather conditions are very wet or very humid or are very hot. When the air is very humid, this causes the pollen eggplant flower to become very sticky and it cannot fall down onto the pistil to pollinate the flower. When the weather is very hot, the pollen becomes inactive because the plant thinks that it cannot support the stress of an additional fruit along with the hot weather. In a sense, the plant aborts the blossom so as not to stress itself further.

If you suspect your eggplant flowers fall off due to a lack of pollination, then you can hand pollinate. All you need to do is take a small, clean paintbrush and move this around the inside of the eggplant flower. Same goes for your cantaloupes.

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