Growing Eggplant

Ichiban eggplant harvested with tomatoes and zinnia flowers

During the peak summer season, you’ll harvest several eggplants a week.

Growing eggplant is a must if you’re a fan of outdoor grilling! These stately plants grow well and look beautiful in containers, ornamental borders, raised beds, and traditional in-ground gardens. Small-fruited varieties tend to be especially heavy bearers, and you can expect to pick a dozen or more from each Ichiban plant over the summer in warm climates. Larger varieties like Black Beauty and White, which bear more traditional-sized fruits, are equally impressive whether in the garden or kitchen, where they can be stuffed, grilled, or combined with summer herbs and tomatoes in homemade eggplant parmesan.

Soil, Planting, and Care

White eggplant on the plant in garden

White eggplant is a nice, mild-tasting surprise for some gardeners and eaters. Like dark-colored eggplant, the white fruits should be glossy when ready to harvest

Eggplant loves warmth and grows best in very sunny, well-drained locations. Raised beds that have been generously enriched with composted manure are ideal, but any fertile soil with a pH from 6.3 to 6.8 will satisfy the plants. Although their coarse, leathery leaves withstand hot weather in champion style, provide a generous mulch of hay, shredded leaves, or other biodegradable material beneath plants to keep the soil relatively cool and to hold moisture and keep down weeds. Because eggplant really needs warm soil to grow well, gardeners in cool climates often do best growing the plants in large, dark-colored containers. On a sunny day, soil temperatures inside black pots may be 10 degrees or more higher than in-ground soil temperatures. Row covers are also a good option in cool climates, or even to protect plants from cool spells in warm climates. Open the ends of the row covers on warm days to let the bees reach the flowers for help with pollination.

Eggplants grow into tall, angular plants, so they should be spaced 24 to 36 inches apart. Fertilize planting holes by mixing in a balanced timed-release or organic fertilizer, following the rates given on the label. At the same time, mix in 2 inches of compost to help hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil. Set plants at the same depth at which they are growing in their containers, and water well before spreading mulch. To keep plants healthy and well fed, give them a liquid plant food, such as Bonnie Herb, Vegetable & Flower Plant Food, every couple weeks.

In the case of a late cold spell, you may need to delay planting seedlings until cool weather passes. Should this happen, keep the plants in a sheltered, sunny spot outdoors during the day, and bring them indoors at night.

Be sure to keep plants watered or they will be small and bitter. They need a nice, steady supply of moisture but not so much that the soil is soggy. Drip systems or a soaker hose are ideal.

Eggplants are prone to falling over when loaded with fruit, so you may want to tie plants to stakes to keep them upright. If you drive a stake into the ground just an inch or two from the plant at the time of planting, you won’t disturb the plant by trying to do it later. You can also use small tomato cages to support the plants.


Eggplant plants are large and grow well in containers. Stake the stems to support heavy fruit

Eggplants grow into large, stately plants that need plenty of elbow room. In containers, plant one per 18 to 24 inch container. Before fruits form, stake the stems to provide extra late-season support.

The tiny, black flea beetle is by far the worst nemesis of eggplant, but big, healthy plants usually produce well despite tiny leaf holes made by lots of flea beetles. In some areas, a common soil-borne fungus, verticillium wilt, can cause lants to wilt and die. Where verticillium is a common problem with non-resistant tomatoes (they are close eggplant cousins), grow eggplants in containers filled with premium potting mix.

Harvest and Storage

Large eggplant cut in half to show the seeds inside. Small seeds mean the eggplant is less bitter.

Eggplant harvested at the right time will have hard flesh and small seeds. If fruit is over-mature, the seeds will be large and tough and taste bitter.

Fruits can taste bitter if picked when underripe or overripe, so harvesting is part of the eggplant grower’s art. A perfect fruit will stop growing larger, have a glossy skin, and show a sprinkling of soft, well-formed yet immature seeds when you slice it open. Fruits with no visible seeds are immature, and hard, dark seeds are found in overripe eggplants. Use pruning shears to harvest fruit with a short stub of stem attached, because the fruits will not pull free by hand. Rinse clean, pat dry, and store in the refrigerator for several days. Eggplant discolors rapidly when cut open, so work quickly when preparing slices or skewers for grilling. Marinades that include salt, vinegar, and/or lemon juice will keep cut pieces from darkening.

Download our How to Grow Eggplant instructions. They are in .PDF format.

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Where should I plant my eggplant?

This plant despises cold, wet weather. It grows best in warm or hot weather and a very sunny garden. In cool mountain climates, you may need a greenhouse. Some varieties, like Ichiban, do exceptionally well in containers.

Does eggplant grow upright or is it supposed to fall into a vine and grow on the ground?

It grows upright on a shrubby plant, but the fruit can get so heavy that it pulls the plant down. Use a plant stake or cage to hold the plants upright.

Can Ichiban eggplant be grown in a container?

It is great for a container. Plant each plant in a five-gallon or larger pot in full sun.

Does my container-grown eggplant need to be outdoors for pollination?

Yes, it needs to be outdoors for bright sunlight and because bees are needed for good pollination.

What causes eggplant fruit to become distorted and strangely colored?

Very high temperatures and low moisture give rise to poor-quality, misshapen fruits. Eggplants fade in color when they over-ripen. Avoid both scenarios by watering regularly and harvesting fruit early.

How do I know when to harvest my eggplant?

Fruits are ripe when their skin first fails to rebound to fingernail pressure.


Fred Martinson

We have had our eggplant for 2 years. Last year we had 2 nice medium sized eggplants that were delicious. This year we have probably 20 eggplants growing, but they are greenish yellow and have never gotten the purple color like we had last year. What is happening?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Fred,
Lucky you! – Eggplant does not overwinter where I garden. Yellowish fruit is often a sign of stress on the plant. Commonly this would be high temperatures, poor fertility, and even watering issues. Has the plant been fertilized well prior to flowering? – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Fred Martinson

We think we fertilized it adequately. We even have more blossoms coming on it now as well. Will this fruit eventually ripen? Will it change in color? We have tomato supports on it as it was being weighted down by all the fruits. Should we pick some off to take the stress off the plant?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Fred,
You can take some off to reduce the fruit load. Yellowing eggplants do not typically turn to the purple varietal color, but purple fruited eggplant will turn yellow once it is past its prime. If all of the eggplant are yellow, I would try one…usually they are bitter in flavor. If it is, remove them all and let the plant recoup.

Peggy M

Is it ok to plant 2 yellow squash together in a very large patio pot? Thanks

Peggy M

I’m sorry, I forgot this was an eggplant page when I asked about the yellow squash.

Danielle Carroll

Maybe that means you need to grow some eggplant too 🙂

Danielle Carroll

Hi Peggy,
You can plant multiples in the same container, no problem. Just remember squash plants get huge. Usually a 24 inch pot is recommended for one, but you get a pot 1 1/2 times that size and plant both. -danielle, Bonnie Plants


Hello! I bought some ichiban eggplants a few weeks back and am trying them for the first time. It dropped into the low 40’s high 30’s unexpectedly here in Oklahoma and since then one of my plants has a blue/purple tint to the end of its leaves and now it is starting to slightly brown on the tip. Should I expect a low yield since it got so cold and is the discoloration caused by too much water? Any help would be great!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Anthony,
Eggplant is a warm season veggie and grows well in warm soils. So it could very well have frost or freeze damage if it was uncovered. Look for the new growth on the eggplant to come out healthy. Too much water can also cause leaf discolorations and even tip burn, but I bet the cold weather is to blame. Make sure the eggplant is planted in a well draining soil and follow these watering tips. – danielle, Bonnie Plants


I live in upstate NY where I don’t have a yard. I was wondering if I made a raised flower bed and got a grow lamp if the eggplants would grow?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Jamie,
I am not sure I understand…are you making the riased flower bed outside or inside? If outside, just make sure it will receive 6 – 8 hours of full morning sun per day. If you are growing inside, it may be more tricky. Here are some tips on indoor veggie gardening from Virginia Cooperative Extension. -danielle, Bonnie Plants



I was was wondering how much sun the ichiban eggplant needs to grow. I plan on planting mine in a raised container on my deck. It gets about about 8 or 9 hours of sun per day. Is that enough?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Chris,
The full sun will make your eggplant very happy! -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Carol Lewis

Regarding eggplant, if you don’t see any bees around, you won’t get any eggplant. I always hand pollinate the flowers using a small sable makeup brush. After hand pollinating, the flower will die, but you’ll see the eggplant peeking out from it.


Hi. A couple of weeks ago I bought a couple of Ichiban Japanese eggplant plants at Home Depot. Now that they seem to be healthy and growing I am noticing some differences in the plants. One has deep purple stems and veins and the other does not. The leaves seem to be shaped differently as well. The one with purple veins have rounded leaves while the other one have a more jagged shape, as well as having what feels like tiny spikes poking out of its veins. When I bought them, I picked them from different flats and I noticed that on the plastic labels, one says just “Ichiban” in the first line of the label and the other says “Ichiban Egg”. Are these both Ichiban eggplants or was one of them mis-labeled?
Also I know the eggplant likes warm weather but I live in Arizona where it can reach 110+ degrees on some days. Since I have these planted in large containers I can move them to shade if need be. Would you recommend moving them to shadier locations when it gets really hot? And what temperature would you consider really hot?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Jong,
I would consider over 75 degrees at night and 90 during the day a little hot for some veggies like eggplant and tomato. They may drop blossoms at that temperature. These plants still need the sun to produce…morning sun and afternoon shade would help as would a shadecloth. I would love to help you with your eggplant. It may be easier if you could upload a good picture of each plant…you can do this through the Ask an Expert page or on Bonnie Plants facebook page! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Thanks for the info. This is my first year in AZ but I understand that sometimes it does not get below the 80’s at night. Once the temperatures start going above 90 regularly I’ll move them to an area that only gets morning sun.

As for the differences in the Eggplants, I noticed you list 6 different types but not all the pictures have good shots of the leaves so I did a Google search for pictures of each of your eggplant varieties. I’m pretty sure the plant with purple veins is an Ichiban, but the other looks to be a Gretel mini white eggplant. I got a much better picture of this plant at and the leaves look similar.

I actually bought the Ichibans for my Mom since she can’t readily find Japanese eggplant – whenever the supermarkets advertise them she says they are not genuine Japanese eggplant. She lives in a condo and doesn’t have a backyard to grow veggies. Looks like I am going to have to go back to HD to see if I can find another Ichiban. However the description on your website on the Gretels say they are thin skinned and that is what she likes about Japanese eggplant – their thin skins. So I’ll continue to grow it and see how she likes them.

Magenta Crayola

I live in an apartment complex where several 4′ x 8′ garden patches are available to residents. I claimed one 4 years ago and have amended and tended it carefully year round. In trying to make my small garden vertical I use short/small very inexpensive tomato cages. This year I have just planted 1 eggplant for the first time — a black beauty (dreaming of fresh baba ghanoush). Will the tomato cage system work to support these eggplants, which I know can get quite large and heavy? I have full SC sun that can last 12- 14 hrs a day in mid summer.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Magenta,
Yes, you can use the same tomato cage for the eggplants. Since they do not get as tall as tomatoes, a couple of stakes will work to hold the plant up when it becomes loaded with fruit. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Hi! I planted some bonnie transplants about 6 weeks ago, among them 3 Black Beauty Eggplants. My other plants have really taken off (I even have several tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers set already), but the eggplants are growing more slowly. The leaves have gotten really big and the plants look healthy, but there are no flowers or buds.
The temperatures here have been about 50 (at night) and around 75 during the day, with a few colder or warmer days here and there. The forecast for the next week says it will be warming up well into the 80s this week.
When can I expect to see some eggplants?
Thank you!

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kay,
Eggplants require warmer soil temperatures than other veggies to really take off. Eggplant, like tomatoes, are fussy about temperatures. Temperatures in the mid 50s and below for several days in a row, and eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers may not set fruit. Eggplant is an 80 – 95 day plant (transplant unto harvest). Let the temperatures warm up a bit and you will start to see flowers. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I tried growing eggplant last year. Over the course of about a week all 3 of my plants (about 16-18″ tall) disappeared–the WHOLE plant! What would do this? I also lost all of my colored bell pepper plants (whole) and my Cherokee purple tomato plant (whole) along with a few of my tomato plants the same way. What do I do to prevent this from happening again? (I was able to keep all of my green bells, Juliette tomatoes, and Roma’s.)

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kim,
Sounds like you all have a hungry critter roaming about. Insects would not eat the entire plant to the ground (not that quickly anyhow). Excluding hungry animals is a great way to control them…this means building fences around the garden. P. Allen Smith has a great video on keeping these guys out. Also lots of ideas on nettings. Good Luck!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I planted my eggplant plant about 3 weeks ago, It has only grown about 2 inches while other plants in my raised bed planter have grown substantially more are are starting to flower. It is in a good sunny spot and gets plenty of water in well drained soil, any suggestions or is this normal?


Danielle Carroll

Hi Jordan,
I think this is normal. What do you have planted with it? Eggplant grows in very warm soils. If the soil is not warm enough, it will sit and grow slowly. Generally, tomatoes will tolerate a lower soil temperature than eggplant.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


The information is very useful. Thank you!
I live in Mexico and have just planted Ichiban plants for the first time. Last year I had nice fruits from my Black Beauty bushes but this year I could not find seeds anywhere.
I was surprised to see the seeds of the Japanese variety and jumped at the opportunity to try it. Let’s see what I’ll have in May-June.
With best wishes

Danielle Carroll

Good Luck, Val.
I have high hopes for my eggplant too. I love it grilled!
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Lisa Parker

My Black Beauty eggplants are now golden in color. What kind of fertilizer does my garden need to make them purple again?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Lisa,
If the eggplants have turned a golden color, they may be past time to harvest. Eggplant that start out purple will turn brown or straw colored once they are past their prime. Unfortunately, they will not turn purple again. When eggplant is ready to harvest, fruit will stop growing with a glossy purple color. If you did not fertilize at planting, you will want to fertilize soon to keep the eggplant healthy. As you can see from this article on The Basics of Fertilizing, eggplant is a heavy feeder. One of my favorite grilled vegetables.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I’ve had my eggplant in the ground since le=ast spring, lots of flowers but no fruit until this year. I have only one piece of fruit and it’s purple, about the size of a really large egg, and shinny. I live in the Houston area, and we’ve had a particularliy mild winter. How do I know when to harvest…can I continue with this plant or do I need to start over. The plant is very healthy with lots of flowers, but like I said, only one fruit.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Julie,
You can continue with this plant, but I would plant a new one too. Eggplant is usually grown as an annual even though it will overwinter in some climates (like yours!). There are a few reasons that eggplant fail to produce. The first is temperatures – high temperatures in the upper 90s affect eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. In fact, you may notice production of all slow down until Fall when temperatures start to cool off. Obviously, your eggplant was flowering last Fall. I am wondering how much Nitrogen fertilizer was used. Too much nitrogen will encourage the green leafy growth at the expense of flowers / fruit. Keep us informed.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I live in zone 4 in northern michigan and would like to know if i can grow eggplant in this zone. we are putting in raised beds this year and what would be the best variety for me. thank you

Danielle Carroll

Hi Brenda,
Yes, eggplant like Black Beauty and Ichiban will grow in the area. The biggest concern is getting them in quickly after the cold weather leaves. They take about 80 days of warm weather until harvest. The Japanese Ichiban variety is harvestable in about 60 days and may produce more eggplant for you.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


I planted my eggplants in the ground last weekend (I live in Houston) and the bottom leaves are shriveling and curling up. A few are a little brown around the edges. (The top leaves look healthy) I checked the soil and it appears to be moist about an inch down. Do you have any idea what would be causing this? Thank you!!

Danielle Carroll

Hi Kate,
Not sure what the temperature is where you are gardening, but if temperatures are diving into the 40’s, they may need protection at night until the temperatures warm up. Once plants are established, the soil should be moist about 6 inches down. Water deeply, a several times a week. For more watering tips, visit this Bonnie Plants article on watering the vegetable garden.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants


Thanks! I was starting to think it might have been the cold!!

Alisa Desoto

I live in south Louisiana, hot and humid in the summer and have had problems with spider mites on my eggplants. I have had some success with insecticidal soap but not 100% in stopping the mites. Do you have any other suggestions or help for me. I love my eggplants! Thanks

Danielle Carroll

Hi Alisa,
Oh no. Glad to see you have had some success with the insecticidal soap. It may be difficult to control them 100%. The University of Florida, IFAS has great information on two spotted spider mites in the South. Insecticidal soap is one of the safer insecticides you can use. Make sure to control weeds that may host overwintering spider mites .
Happy Gardening,


My young leaves of egg plant turning yellow with buds too.Its not affected to mature leaves yet. What can I do for it.

Mary Beth

Yellowing leaves often are a sign of overwatering…or under-watering. Check to make sure that the eggplant has great drainage (if in a pot) or that the soil isn’t waterlogged. Water about an inch per week. Or, stick your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle. If it’s dry, water the plant well. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Claire Wayner

Hi Kelly (you seem to be answering most of these comments),

I live in Baltimore, MD and I think I’m in climate zone 32 if it helps. It’s definitely hot here during summer and I have a raised bed filled with compost, so I think eggplant should do well here. When would you suggest I plant them? Is there a specific variety I should use? How much do they spread? I have limited space, and I would love to grow these purple beauties, but I don’t have to if they are spreaders like muskmelon or watermelon.

Mary Beth

Hi Claire,
Sounds like you are eager to get started with a full garden this year! Any of our varieties of eggplant will do well for you. Grow several types for various cooking reasons; Japanese for stir-fry and Black Beauty for Italian classics. Your local Cooperative Extension website shares this document on planting eggplants in your region. Also, note from our step-by-step article here, the spacing and growth habits described. They will not spread like melons, but rather grow 2-3′ tall and sometimes benefit from staking. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Mary Beth

It’s a malformed fruit — though perfectly edible — that occurs after irregular flower pollination. No worries — enjoy them! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Hi, I’m planning for my garden later this year. Last year I was thrilled to find your plants. However, I had limited success with the two ichiban eggplant plants I put in. But I’m pretty sure it was because they were too close to my ginormous tomatoes in the raised bed I have and a drip system problem. This year, I’m considering trying the ichibans in 5-gallon buckets. Will that work? Any tips for success in the Mojave Desert (Sunset zone 11)? Thanks!

Mary Beth

Hi Patti. Yes, you can certainly grow those in 5 gallon containers. Eggplants thrive in warm weather and the height of summer, so you should be fine. Keep them watered well and follow our steps above for fertilization and other tips. Let us know how it grows! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I live in Southern California. I planted the Black Beauty and Ichiban eggplants back in May that I purchased at Home Depot. They have both produced tons of eggplants for me. The Ichiban finally died recently. Probably because it has been so cold. But my Black Beauty is still producing. When they first started fruiting, they both gave me beautiful purple eggplants. Then in the middle of summer, they both started giving me some yellow eggplants. They started off yellow. Thought it was because of the heat, but they continued through the fall, and the Black Beauty is still continuing through this winter. Pretty much, half of the eggplants on the plants are purple and the other half are yellow. Didn’t know if they were safe to eat so I’ve been just throwing them out. What are your thoughts?

Mary Beth

Hi Karen. Glad to hear that your eggplants have been such producers, and for so long. The yellow fruit, however, is unusual. There are indeed yellow varieties, as well as striped or green varieties, but this should not be happening on Black Beauty. It could be two things: 1) the fruit was missed somehow in early harvest and aged to yellow, which it naturally (bitterly) does, or 2) you’ve discovered something new. If you are certain they start out yellow, can you snap a photo and send it to our Customer Service line? We’d like to see! I don’t think they would harm you to eat. Try cutting one open to see if the seeds do indicate a younger eggplant and not an older, bitter one. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have 4 eggplants that we planted back in early spring. They are very tall and have lots of leaves and buds but we haven’t had a single eggplant from any of them. They are all black beauty plants. We live in North Texas by the Oklahoma border and we had a hot summer. We thought that might be the reason but now its fall and the weather is so nice and we are still having buds drop after they bloom. I am watering the eggplants at the base so not to get the leaves wet and my husband has tried self pollenating but nothing is working. I even tried plant food made for veggie gardens and all it did was make the plants grow taller. Please help!!!! I really want to eat some eggplant! We grow many other things in our garden and this is the only thing we have grown that has never produced a single thing.

Mary Beth

Hi Lauren,
You might be experiencing blossom drop, the common name when flowers form then drop without forming eggplants. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will drop blossoms when daytime temperatures are above 90 degrees F and/or nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F. Blossoms will also drop when night temperatures drop below 55 degrees F. I’m not sure what temps you are currently experiencing; let us know if this matches your weather.

Stresses on the plant such as excess nitrogen fertilizer (results in plants with extremely vigorous vine growth but little flower production), too much water, and lack of 6 to 8 hours of full sun may also result in a eggplant that drops some of its flowers or blooms very little. If your plant is very green with nice, healthy foliage, cease fertilization until the eggplant starts to set fruit.

I hope that the temps regulate with enough time for fruit development before winter sets in. It sounds like the rest of your garden has done very well, though. Keep us posted and join our Facebook page for year-round gardening fun and advice. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Well it cant be the temps now because we are having really nice weather. It must be the soil. I will have to do some more research about it. Would using mulch or anything like that help in that type of situation?

Mary Beth

Hi Lauren, it could be any number of the other items mentioned, such as too much nitrogen or watering irregularity. If it gets the proper amount of full sun, isn’t over-fertilized and the temps are right, just give it some time. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have two bonnie eggplants that I got Lowes. They are thriving but when I planted them I didn’t realize that there were two plants in the same cup so i planted them right next to each other. Will these be a problem as they continue to mature?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Travis,

These plants should grow fine as is. Are you in a far southern region? Eggplant grows best in warm weather in the summer, so I’m just checking on the timing of your planting. If you’re in an area like south Florida that has very mild winters, you may be okay. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hi Bonnie,

I had 3 black beauty eggplant fruit that never really turned dark and glossy. Maybe I just did not recognize it. Another issue was one of the fruit stayed small so I assumed it had not finished growing. They are all a yellowish green with purple mixed in. I assume they are over ripe now. Can I salvage the seeds from them?

Mary Beth

Hi Andy,
Thanks for writing us. It sounds like your fruits were just undersized and hard to judge when ripe. That happens occasionally. While they are far past the stage you want to eat, you can save the seeds if the variety you are growing is open-pollinated and not a hybrid. Here’s a link to seed-saving: Good luck! And if you pick those from the plant, keep it watered and fertilized for more blooms and another try. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Jackie Satterfield

My eggplants are still growing. The weather is beginning to change. I live in Memphis Tennessee and the highs are around the 70’s and 80’s, and lows 50’s and 60’s. We getting ready for fall. What do I do with my plants? They are still growing and have fruit. This is the first time I have grown eggplants and they did very well. Thank you for your help.

Mary Beth

Hi Jackie,
That’s great news! Eggplants will not flourish or survive when the temperatures drop into the 30s and your area has a frost. If your plants are thriving and doing well right now, just harvest what you can up until that date. Be sure to pick them when the skin is glossy and the fruit is at its freshest. Let us know how it’s going and what your garden looks like on our Facebook page. We love to see what everyone is doing in the garden and we share fun tips and contests. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


My eggplant fruits are yellow. I thought that they were supposed to be purple. I never grew eggplants before. I live inwestern Canada close to the rockies. I seeded 2 eggplants and what a beautiful plant. I keep one in our sunroom and the other in the greenhouse. Have about 8 fruits per plant, they started white and turned yellow and have been for over a month. they are glossy and hard. The plants have lacked fertilizing and water at some point but are picking up again. I was loosing leaves and they looked unhealthy. What caused the yellowing? On cutting one I found some seeds, but not many because not many bees comes into our sunroom.

Mary Beth

Hi Jacinthe,
Eggplants come in many colors, including purple, white/purple striped, all white, and shades of yellow and green. If you have a Bonnie Plant, it will be a purple or white variety. This page shows you all of the varieties we sell. If your fruit started white and turned yellow, you have a Gretel Mini or a White eggplant. Yellowing on those mean that they are overripe and inedible. You pick the eggplants when they are white, very glossy, and slightly firm to the touch. If they are yellow and hard, they are too old. If they are white and soft, they are too old. Cut those off, watch for new blooms and see how long it takes the new fruit to form. You don’t need bees to pollinate eggplants; they are self-fertile. However, bees are always helpful. Since you are growing in a sunroom, it is a good idea to help with pollination. You can take a Q-tip, fingertip or paintbrush and simply brush around within a bloom to ensure good pollination. Hope this helps! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Sandy Johnson

I have a purple egg plant in a pot on my deck. This is the first one I have ever grown. It is growing by leaps and bounds. I have 19 purple egg plants on it and also several more blossoms. Some of the eggplants are the size of eggs and some are smaller. I still have lots of blossems. Do I need to pinch some of them off so the larger ones can grow better? I am excited to see such a beautiful plant and count them every morning looking for more. How many should they have…..and what should I do. Will too many egg plants keep them from getting to the right size? I live in Wisconsin and the weather have been exceptionally warm this summer.

Scott Poole

I also would like to know the answer to Sandy’s question. Are eggplant like other fruiting plant in that the fruit size benefits from a reduction in the total number of fruit?
I have a second year Ichiban eggplant that has 20+ spent blooms that did not fruit. Do I cut them off? They are still very much attached even three weeks later when the real fruit has started (6 – 8 currently). Thank you.

Mary Beth

Hi Scott,
Our Ask An Expert agent couldn’t find any research to corroborate reducing the blooms yourself. In our experience, the plant will produce what it can manage and the fruit size is dictated by watering conditions and proper pollination. The blooms will “self-abort” if the plant cannot support them. This has been in our queue for some time, so you may have your own experiences from which to share feedback by now. I hope you continued to have a great eggplant harvest. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Charles Dart

My plant is growing well but the problem I am having is that the flowers will sprout and start to look like eggplants only to have them fall off all the time. What can I do to correct this problem?

Mary Beth

Hi Charles,
Nature seems to be taking charge here, whether the plant’s blooms are not pollinated properly due to extreme temps or another factor, or other plant stressors like inconsistent watering. If the plant is stressed and thinks it cannot successfully produce that fruit, it will not form. If you aren’t seeing any fluctuations in watering or temperatures, try gently shaking the plant to knock the pollen around in the bloom to aide in pollination. Or, you can use a Q-tip or paintbrush to move the pollen around within the flower. If it’s been really humid where you live, that could be the culprit. Pollen gets sticky and less viable when the humidity levels are high. I bet with a little patience and time, you will see eggplants begin to form if the weather cooperates! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

bonnie hoyt

I to have green egg plants the plant has 14, all green. I live in Va. Beach. Bonnie

Mary Beth

Hi Bonnie,
You are one of a handful who have shared a similar story. I’m beginning to wonder if a few seeds have crossed with a green eggplant in the seed collection process. If it’s not too much trouble, you can email a photo to our Customer Service folks with “Green Eggplant” as the header as we’d like to see. If not, that’s okay, too. Thanks for letting us know. Whether white, green, purple or striped, it should still taste great! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Will my Eggplants regrow after winter,if yes do i have to prune them and will they bear fruit againg.I live in South Africa.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Trevor, Hello in South Africa! I don’t know specifics about your climate, but eggplant is typically grown as an annual. You could certainly try to keep it alive if you have very, very mild winters, but I think you’ll likely need to replant again next year. Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hi Kelly

My plants have started to regrow after winter will they bear fruit again?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Trevor,

I see you’re in South Africa, so have you just gone through winter? How interesting that gardeners around the world are experiencing completely different seasons! Eggplant is a perennial that’s typically grown as an annual. So yes, if your eggplant lasted through winter then it may very well fruit again. It will be a fun experiment. Let us know how it grows!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Scott Poole

Hi, I can proudly confirm that they really do bear fruit the second year. I am in Lake Havasu, AZ. and my hanging, indoors eggplant went dormant so I pruned the arms down to 4 inch stumps and waited for the weather to cool off. It came back and now has 7 or so fruit.


I live in NJ and purchased Cloud 9. The fruits get to 4 inches, then turn bright yellow. What’s wrong?

Mary Beth

Hi Pam,
It sounds like the eggplants are not growing to full size before maturing. Don’t wait until the fruit is the expected inches in length to harvest if you notice this; go by the shine of the skin instead. Perfect picking time is when the skin is glossy, whether a white or purple eggplant. If you leave it on there too long, it will turn to yellowish-green. Sometimes eggplants that are not shaded by leaf coverage may “sunscald,” or get bleached out by the full, hot sun. Cut this fruit off so that the plant will then put energy into a fresh, new bloom. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


in my comment below, if that image link doesn’t work, just copy/paste the address.

Dalia Castello

My eggplants are huge actually beautifully grown up but no blooms. Will they bloom at all or is it too late, my peppers are unbelievable producers, jalepenos, tai, and bell. these all sit in the same area.

Mary Beth

Hi Dalia,
Oftentimes plants won’t form blooms or have fewer blooms if they’ve been given more nitrogen or higher dosages of fertilizer. Or, it’s just taking slightly longer than your hot peppers who are thriving in this heat. Give it a little time and make sure it’s getting 6 hours of direct sun per day. Keep us posted. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Dalia Castello

Well Mary Beth made some adjustments and wow!!! just harvested some of the most beautiful eggplants and have actually pinched some extra blooms so that there aren’t too many fruits because of a weight issue. I also noticed that the flavor profile is very mild prepared one for dinner it was delicious.


inga kowalchuk

Why is one of my eggplant not bearing fruit? it produces lots of blossoms but that,s where it ends. The plant nxt to it has several growing. Sun reaches the area from about 1pm till sunset. Could it be that the 1 gets more sun? I do,nt know what should be done?
Thank you , Inga

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Inga,

It’s hard to say why one plant is setting fruit while the other next to it isn’t. Are they the same variety of eggplant? The best thing you can do is keep both plants healthy, watering well and feeding regularly. For ideas on how to use the eggplant you are harvesting, be sure to check out the eggplant recipes on our website. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Mary Beth

Hi Marisa,
This is interesting…we are a little perplexed. Could the eggplants have been left on the vine too long, and turned from purple to green/yellow? Old, inedible fruits often turn yellow and the seeds inside are brown and bitter (instead of clear/white). You can cut them open to see if the seeds are brown, which would indicated old fruit. However, if you think these began as green eggplants and were never purple, it may just simple be a “freak of nature.” We have heard another customer say something similar so we’ll continue to look into it. Be sure you are picking the fruits glossy, shiny and purple no matter the size — don’t wait for it to get the expected size or it may age. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Vicki Hogan

I planted 1 Black Beauty at the beginning of May and have harvested 25 eggplants off 1 plant. I thought we were done and now it is loaded with blossoms again. Is it too late for them to develop? I live in North Carolina.

Mary Beth

Hi Vicki,
You should be able to get another harvest from this plant. And it sounds like quite the happy producer! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I have had the most unbelievable luck with my black beauty. I have now picked 42 and have sixteen on the plant of which 4 are ready to pick. This morning I have a dozen new blossoms! Have you ever heard of such a prolific plant? With the day’s much cooler and shorter I really don’t expect much more from this plant, I wish I could figure out what I did right. Could it be the coffee grounds I add to the soil?

Mary Beth

Hi Vicki,
Congratulations! That is great to hear. What a huge harvest. Be sure to leave a review on the variety’s page so that other gardeners can learn from your experiences. It sounds like you’ve given it the very best growing conditions from sunlight, soil and nutrients. We do cover the beauty of adding coffee grounds to your garden soil in a recent blog post. A very smart gardening habit, indeed! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Hi, I am growing two of your eggplant plants (one japanese and another regular eggplant (i can’t remember what it is called). Anyways, I have been having a lot of problems with them lately and I need your advice. They are in seperate containers, and they were all fine until recently. When they started to flower up, they got a bunch of little white bugs all over both plants. I read many articles about these bugs and I keep spraying the plants with soap water. It doesn’t work, it seems that everytime I do so, more bugs keep coming back. It is getting on my nerves, especially since the two blossoms fell off of the plant. The japanese one has very young blossoms , at the end of july. So am I going to get eggplants ? What should I do ? Should I throw away both plants = Wasted Money on Soil, Pots and Plants ? Are the bugs going to attack my other plants ? (They are all the way on the other end of the balcony from the other plants) I’m freaking out, what should I do ? Thanks so much ! 🙂

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Austin,

I’m not sure what white bugs you’re seeing on your eggplant. What were they identified as in the articles you’ve read? If you can, send a photo to our Ask an Expert service to get the best answer!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hey !
Thank you for the reply 🙂
I threw out my two eggplants because they were heavily infested but I had other plants (two peppers, one tomato, rosemary, oregano and chives) but they didn’t attack those ones – only the eggplants 🙁
But yeah, I think they were aphids or mealy bugs , do you know what I can do to prevent this again next year, because there’s always a second chance 🙂 Thanks !

Kelly Smith Trimble

Keep your plants healthy, well watered, and fertilized. If you see the aphids starting to attack your plants, you can spray the plants with Neem oil, which is safe for beneficial insects. You want to be sure not to spray anything that kills beneficials such as lady bugs, because they actually feed on the aphids! If you have lots of beneficials in your garden, they help take care of the pests for you. Happy growing!

Scott Poole

Does dusting plants with diatomaceous earth harm beneficial bugs? I used it to get rid of white flies.

Mary Beth

Hi Scott,
Yes, diatomaceous earth will kill all insects, including beneficial ones, if they come in contact with it. While it is considered organic, it’s not pest-specific. This page from Virginia Cooperative Extension gives additional ideas for integrated pest management. Good luck! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


I planted six black beauty eggplants. All are producing but one is producing green eggplants. What are green eggplants? They are the size of the purple ones 6-8 inches nicely bell shaped . Are they safe to eat? Thank you

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Donald,

Did these start out green, or were they purple and turned to green? Also, are they dark green or light green? If they started out purple and turned to darker green, these eggplant fruit may just be past their prime. See Racquel’s recent question and my response. If they have been green the whole time, that’s another story. Let me know and I can help you further!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Donald, I have the same question! We planted one eggplant plant. Right now it has 5 eggplants on it — 2 are the normal purple color that I expected to see — the other 3 are green!! In fact, the first one that appeared is quite large, and healthy-looking. They did not start out purple and then turn green — they started green and are staying green. Any ideas about these green eggplants? Thank you.

Mary Beth

Hi BA,
This is strange to us, and to the Extension Experts with whom we work closely. We’ve had three or four customers comment on the same sighting — green eggplants that stay green. We can assure you that it’s not intended to be that way! Can you by chance send us a photo to the Customer Service link and tell them I sent you? If they are new, glossy fruits that are indeed green, we’d like to see! Stay tuned… ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Im growing your Black Beauty eggplant and currently have 4 fruits on the plant. They started out a deep purple but they’ve now began turning green. I didnt think they were ripe when they were purple because they were very small, no bigger than my fist (and I have small hands!) I thought maybe they would turn back purple but they’re only getting greener. Also, my leaves are yellow as well. Its very possible I have been over watering bc I have a soaker hose set up throughout the garden that I usually turn on every night for about 10 minutes. Im in Tx where the temp is about 103 everyday, so Im afraid to skip a watering. Any advice?! Thanks!!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Racquel,

It does sound like you should’ve harvested when the fruit was dark purple and still glossy. While Black Beauty eggplant can produce fruit up to 6 or 8 inches, the ripe fruit may also be smaller. It’s more important to look at the skin color and shine than the size when determining readiness for harvest. Go ahead and harvest the current eggplant fruit (they are still edible, though you might remove the skin to avoid bitterness) and fertilize your plant well. Watering daily might be okay in your situation but it’s better to water in the morning than at night. (Watering at night, when temperatures are cooler, can make plants more susceptible to some diseases.) Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


We have three white plants and each has a couple eggplants on them. The problem is that the fruit keeps getting longer but it doesn’t “fatten” up. Should we be cutting some off to allow one to get the nutrition?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Sue,

Which white eggplant variety are you growing? We carry two. One is the Cloud Nine variety and it grows larger to about 7 inches long and a few inches wide (though it can be ripe at a smaller size). The fruit of this variety grows one fruit per stem. The other white eggplant variety is called Gretel. This variety grows in clusters and each fruit is long and thin. Perhaps you’re growing the Gretel variety? If so, you should harvest when fruits are about 4 inches long. If you’re growing Cloud Nine and the fruits aren’t fattening up, as you say, you might increase the water and fertilizer you’re applying to increase the size of the harvest. Look at skin texture more than size to determine ripeness. Skin should be glossy and should make an indentation when you press with your thumb. Let me know if this helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I just bought 3 transplants from a local big-box store. I have one White, one Ichiban, and one Black Beauty.

Two of the three already have a bloom on them but the plant itself is quite small (about 6″ tall).

Should I leave the blooms and allow them to go into fruit, or pinch them back until the plant is larger?

I’m in zone 8b in southern Alabama.

Mary Beth

Hi Emily,
As hard as it may be, you will have more fruit and a better harvest in the long run if you pinch off those blooms. Thus, the plant will put more energy into setting deeper roots and a healthier structure on which to flourish. If you keep that one bloom now, you may have an 8″ plant at the end of the season and one eggplant to show for it! 🙂 Happy growing, Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants


Hi Bonnie Plants!

I have four Black Beauty plants that seem to be doing very well. I have no less than 7 eggplants growing right now, but the first one to form seems to have stunted in growth. It has been the same size for over 2 weeks now…it is about 5-6 inches long and very round…I am waiting for it to elongate to harvest, but might this be the biggest it’s going to get? It is glossy, but also seems too firm to harvest. Is there something I can do to promote the growth? We are in Northern GA, full direct sun and plenty of watering. The plants are very healthy with the exception of some flea beetle evidence on the leaves, but it’s not bad. Thanks!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Monique!

It sounds like your eggplant is ready to harvest. The fruit should be large, shiny, and uniformly colored. When the side of the fruit is pressed lightly with your thumbnail and an indentation remains, the fruit is ripe. Eggplant fruits can taste bitter if picked underripe or overripe, so harvesting is part of the eggplant grower’s art. A perfect fruit will stop growing larger, have a glossy skin, and show a sprinkling of soft, well-formed yet immature seeds when you slice it open. Fruits with no visible seeds are immature, and hard, dark seeds are found in overripe eggplant. With the right amount of fertilizer and water, eggplant fruit of Black Beauty can reach 8 inches in size, but not all fruits will get this large. Eggplants do need about 2 inches of water per week in the warmer parts of summer. So harvest that baby and let us know how it tastes! You might also read our recent blog post about growing, harvesting, and eating eggplant. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Ali Asim

My Eggplant are getting yellow in color, plz advise what to to.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Ali,

When you say they’re getting yellow, are you referring to the fruit or the plant leaves? I am assuming the plant leaves because that’s a common indication of overwatering or nutrient deficiency. Have you fed your plants lately? If not, try giving your plants a dose of liquid fertilizer for vegetables, such as our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food, and see if this helps. Also, make sure you’re not watering too much. For more info on watering, see our article on how much water vegetables need. If what you’re seeing is a different problem, please send your question, preferably with a photo, to our Ask an Expert service. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


This is my first garden. I planted eggplants and they are growing with several blooms. They wont produce any eggplant. What is the problem or what am i doing wrong.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Tammie,

This sounds like blossom drop, a very common problem with peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Flowers form then drop without forming eggplant or form small eggplants that drop. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will drop blossoms when daytime temperatures are above 90 degrees F and/or nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F. Blossoms will also drop when night temperatures drop below 55 degrees F.

Stresses on the plant such as excess nitrogen fertilizer (results in plants with extremely vigorous vine growth but little flower production), too much water, and lack of 6 to 8 hours of full sun may also result in an eggplant plant that drops some of its flowers, blooms very little, or drops small fruit. If your plant has nice, healthy foliage, cease fertilization until the eggplant starts to set fruit.

I hope this helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

GreenThumb Verdad

I have the same problem, it does reach 100 here daily. Any tips on keeping some from dropping?

Mary Beth

Since blossoms are dropping due to intense heat and high temps, the only way to prevent that is to hope for cooler weather. They will pick up production again when the weather drops off. If you would like to experiment with assisting pollination, you can rub your finger or a paintbrush tip all around within a fresh, open flower to see if that helps. Check our Bonnie Blog tomorrow for a fun lesson on hand pollinating cucurbits, too. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

GreenThumb Verdad

Learned about assisting pollination because my pepper plant wasn’t producing. Hopefully cooler temps bring fruit. Thank you.


Should you pinch the flowers from new plants purchased from a store or leave them on?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Vic,

It’s up to you! Pinching these first flowers can help the plant focus on establishing a strong base before producing fruit, but it’s not necessary to pinch them. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I live in West Michigan and have an eggplant in a container. The leaves have plenty of those tiny beetle holes, but worse, every time a few purple flowers open, after 3 or 4 days I wake up and they’re lying on the ground. The stem seems to have a been “clipped” by something. This has happened twice. There are plenty more buds ready to open. Any suggestions?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Dale,

This almost sounds like a squirrel or some other critter (or maybe wind?) is knocking over your eggplant. Is that possible? You might stake your plants to keep them upright and see if this helps. To prevent the damage from flea beetles, you can spray with a pyrethrin, neem, or insecticidal soap product as soon as you see them. Apply as directed on the product label. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Steve Pushak

eggplants are self-fertile but not necessarily self-pollinating. It would be better to have more than one plant and to also have flowers which attract bee pollinators. Mason bees might be an option depending upon the season and climate.

Dana Coughlin

We have an ichiban eggplant that has gotten about 4 flowers on it but they have dried up-still on the plant and no sign of fruit. It does seem to be growing fairly slow compared to when I’ve grown it in the past.

We live in SW Idaho-near Boise; the weather has been windy/cool/very hot all within a few days.

Any ideas would be appreciated.


Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Dana,

Ichiban eggplant typically has mature fruit in about 50 days from planting. However, the blossoms could be dropping due to the heat, slowing the fruiting process. This is common in tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. Keep the plants watered and fed and hopefully they’ll start producing soon. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


my eggplant is getting flowers on it and then they die so do we need to still wait for the eggplant to grow? How long does it take for it to produce eggplants?


I have several Ichiban eggplants growing in pots on my patio. I notice that some of the fruit turns brown after a while. Does that mean I waited to long to harvest those? Is there a “best time” to pick the eggplant? They range from brown to deep purple in color, although the brown ones are a big smaller. Thanks!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Patsy,

Click on the Harvest & Usage tab above for tips on when to harvest your eggplant. The skin should still be glossy and nicely colored when you harvest, and you should pick Ichibans when they are no more than 10 inches long. Have you fertilized your plants this season? If not, you might give your plants a boost and see if this helps with the browning problem. We recommend our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food or any liquid plant food labeled for vegetables should help. Apply according to label instructions. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Connie Runyon

How long will it take for my egg plant to grow, we have the flowers for now, but they are just sitting there. We live in Fl. and water daily. Thank You, Connie

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Connie,

The lack of fruit on your plant may be due to poor pollination in high temperatures. Just keep your plants healthy and eggplants should form soon. You might fertilize your plants with a liquid fertilizer such as our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food to help your plants along, too. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


Hi Bonnie plants! Live in Arizona and it is 112 today. My Ichiban eggplant is in a large pot with a sun screen. I water it in the morning and, when I am home, in the afternoon. It has been in the planter for about 3 weeks, has set a blossom which I knocked off by trying to pollinate it, and has set another blossom. It is a tough environment here in Arizona and I would like to give this plant the best chance possible. I read up on fertilizing and it is recommended that a 10-20-20 fertilizer be used. I grow orchids with success (indoors!) and use a bloom food that is 6-30-30. Can I use the same food but well diluted to fertilize this plant? And, dealing with Arizona summers, I would appreciate any suggestions that you might have. Thank You in advance! Gwen

Kelly Smith

Hi Gwen,

Ichiban eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables! I hope we can help with your growing challenges so you can enjoy them too. Here are a few answers to your questions from our Ask an Expert service and from our website.

• I recommend using a liquid fertilizer specifically for vegetables. Follow label instructions on rate and frequency of application. Apply at the base of the plant. (You might try our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food.)

• It’s best to water in the morning, like you are doing, at the base of the plant, keeping the foliage dry, to prevent some disease problems. Water whenever the top inch and a half or so of soil gets dry to the touch. Read more best practices in our Watering section.

• You might have some trouble with blossom drop in the heat. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant will drop blossoms when daytime temperatures are above 90 degrees F and/or nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees F. Blossoms will also drop when night temperatures drop below 55 degrees F.

• Stresses on the plant such as excess nitrogen fertilizer (results in plants with extremely vigorous vine growth but little flower production), too much water, and lack of 6 to 8 hours of full sun may also result in a plant that drops some of its flowers or blooms very little.

I hope this advice helps with your eggplant! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

kimberley casey

What happens when the temps drop below 60* as is the forecast here for the next few nights? Same question for tomatoes.

Kelly Smith

Hi Kimberley,

Your tomato and eggplant plants may slow down a bit when temps are in the 50s but they won’t be hurt in any way. Just wait for the temps to pick back up again to see more growth. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


I put my Bonnie plant into my garden last week and something’s wrong. The leaves are multiplying but they are turning white and going limp. It the white of a sheet of paper with a little bit of yellowing as it meets the still green part of the leaf. I live in Utah and I am not aware of any soil fungi in my area and I don’t see beetles in the garden. Last year we did get earwigs, and I do see lady bugs. Could they be causing this?

Kelly Smith

Hi LE,

It sounds like your eggplant could be suffering from sun/wind burn. Do you get lots of wind and harsh sun in your part of Utah? If this is the case, don’t worry. The plant should grow out of it in a week or so. However, if the white comes off like baby powder, it may be powdery mildew. Click for info from the University of California Extension Service on this disease. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


It’s been a month of no registerable moisture in Utah. The white leaves fell off and some green leaves took their place, but now there are little holes in them. Our garden is infested with earwigs. Do you think they are eating it? If not, what could be eating my eggplants?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi LE,

Sorry to hear about your trouble this hot summer. The problem with your eggplant leaves could be caused by flea beetles. They can feed on the foliage, making small shot holes, or on the roots. The easiest way to identify this pest is by their tiny size and their jumping. To control flea beetles, spray with a pyrethrin, neem, or insecticidal soap product as directed on the product label. One way to help prevent flea beetles is to clean up the garden. Don’t leave dead plants or plant debris in the garden as they can harbor new generations of flea beetles. If this doesn’t seem to solve your problem, please send your questions with a photo to our Ask an Expert service for more help. Keep those plants (and yourself!) hydrated. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


my newly transplanted eggplant are not thriving. they are just sitting there and not really growing. they are inside our greenhouse. the soil is warm and the moisture is controlled but there seems to be little holes in the plants, like some bug is eating them. i can not see the bugs though. also the plants have poor color even though we have organically feed them a low nitrogen (so they will not burn) fertilizer. does anyone have any ideas?

Kelly Smith

Hi Steve,

Sometimes, eggplant leaves get chewed up a bit by flea beetles, but the damage isn’t a big problem as long as the plants are healthy. You mentioned that your plants are in a greenhouse. Are you opening the greenhouse up to bees and other pollinators so the plants can be pollinated? Your eggplant plants need to be pollinated in order to thrive and grow fruit.

Kelly, Bonnie Plants


If you have enough of those little holes in your plants it will kill them. I was told to sprinkle baby powder on the leaves. It cuts the external shells of the pests & kills them. Works like a charm.

Ralph Caso

For some reason in the morning sun the leaves get limp. Is this normal?

Kelly Smith

Hi Ralph,

Yes, this is just a natural response to the temperatures rising during the day. Your plants perk back up after watering or when temperatures drop, right? Just be sure you’re watering enough and your plants should be fine. Read our article on hot summer watering for some tips.

Happy growing!
Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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