How to Prevent Eggplant Flowers from Dropping

Overview

Eggplants have both been celebrated as an aphrodisiac in some countries and feared in others as a poison that can may cause insanity because of their relation to the nightshade plant family. They make a great addition in Greek moussaka, Middle Eastern baba ganoush, and numerous Italian dishes (including eggplant parmesan). Eggplants are sensitive to temperature changes. After all your hard work you may find flowers dropping instead of forming new fruits. You can take several measures to keep this from happening.

Step 1

Make sure your eggplants are not planted outdoors until the soil temperature reaches at least 60 F degrees. Eggplants are very sensitive to cold temperatures and prefer a long warm season.

Step 2

Give your plants soil with good drainage. Add a 1-inch layer of compost mulch around your plants to help retain water and to nourish your plants.

Step 3

Add a side-dressing of 6-6-8 fertilizer around your plants when they are about half their full-grown size.

Step 4

Give your plants an inch of water each week. Make sure to water your eggplants to a depth of two inches during hot periods to prevent flowers from dropping.

Step 5

Hand pollinate your flowers when humidity is high and temperatures are hot. Flower pollen may be too sticky to fall to the pistil on its own, otherwise. Use a paintbrush to brush the inside of each flower for a few seconds in the early morning hours. Each flower has both male and female parts, so that will help to fertilize your flowers so that they are not aborted.

Things You'll Need

  • Compost
  • 6-6-8 fertilizer
  • Paintbrush

References

  • Botanical Interests: Eggplant Facts
  • University of Illinois: Watch Your Garden Grow
  • Ohio State University: Growing Eggplant in the Home Garden

Who Can Help

  • AVRDC: Eggplant Seed Production
  • Genetics for Seed Savers: FAQ
  • Michigan State University: Pollination
Keywords: hand pollination, prevent flowers from dropping, watering eggplants

About this Author

Based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for over 15 years. Coe is the former publisher of the politics and art magazine Flesh from Ashes. She has worked to protect water and air quality. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University.