Eggplants have increased in popularity in the home garden in the past several years. Many gardeners who grow this vegetable have been frustrated when an eggplant has flowers but no fruit due to the fact that the eggplant flowers fall off the plant.
This odd looking but tasty vegetable is closely related to tomatoes and are in the same family -- the nightshade family, and many of the issues and pests that affect tomatoes also affect eggplants. One of these issues is when the eggplant flowers fall off the plant without producing fruits.
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.
Eggplant Blossoms Drying Out from Lack of Water
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 inches (5 cm.) of water a week, more in very hot weather.
The majority of that water should be provided in one watering so 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 find water deeper in the ground and even out its water needs so it is less likely to drop a single eggplant flower..
Eggplant Blossoms Drying Out from Lack of Pollination
An eggplant flower is normally wind pollinated, meaning it doesn't rely on insects like bees and moths to pollinate it. A pollination problem can occur when the weather conditions are very wet, overly humid, or excessively hot.
When the air is very humid, moisture 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.
Eggplant Flower Hand Pollination
If you suspect your eggplant flowers fall off due to a lack of pollination, use hand pollination. Eggplant flower hand pollination is easy to do. All you need to do is take a small, clean paintbrush and move it around the inside of the eggplant flower. Then repeat the process with every other eggplant flower, finishing with the one you started with. This will distribute the pollen around.
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Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.
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