Common Disease Problems
Leaf Spots: These are caused by various pathogens. Spots on the foliage may appear in cool, moist weather and plants may become defoliated. Burpee Recommends: Provide sufficient space between plants for good air circulation, avoid overhead watering which can spread the fungus spores, keep a clean garden, remove and discard all diseased plant material and rotate crops. Use a mulch to prevent spores from splashing from the soil onto plants. Contact your Cooperative Extension Service for fungicide recommendations.
Phomopsis Rot: Large, sunken tan or black areas appear on the fruit and leaves may be spotted and eventually turn brown. Burpee Recommends: Remove and discard plants and do not use them as compost. Rotate crops.
Root Knot Nematodes: Microscopic worm-like pests that cause swellings (galls) to form on roots. Plants may wilt or appear stunted. This is a serious problem in many Southern states. Burpee Recommends: Do not plant into infested soil. Grow resistant varieties. Try planting ‘Nema-Gone’ marigolds around your plants.
Verticillium: This fungus causes a wilting of the leaves and stems on several branches. Leaf margins cup upward, leaves turn yellow and drop off. If fruit is produced, it is usually smaller than normal. It will enter the plant through the roots, migrate up the stem and plug a plant’s transport vessels. It is transmitted in the soil. It can also be spread by water and tools. Burpee Recommends: Practice at least a 4 year crop rotation. Remove and burn crop debris. Plant resistant varieties.
Walnut Wilt: Walnut Wilt causes overall wilting of plants, or dwarfed growth, in close proximity to living walnut tree. Some or all plants in a planting may be affected. Burpee Recommends: Do not plant eggplants near Black Walnut trees. These trees exude a toxin from their roots which kills many plants.
Common Pest and Cultural Problems
Aphids: Greenish, red, black or peach colored sucking insects can spread disease as they feed on the undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage that attracts ants. Burpee Recommends: Introduce or attract natural predators into your garden such as lady beetles and wasps which feed on aphids. You can also wash them off with a strong spray, or use an insecticidal soap.
Colorado Potato Beetle: This insect is especially harmful at the larval stage. The larvae are plump, reddish orange soft bodied insects with dark heads and black markings. Adults are large beetles with yellow and black stripes. Burpee Recommends: Hand pick the larvae and destroy. Look for egg clusters on the undersides of the leaves and destroy. Check with your Cooperative Extension Service for pesticide recommendations.
Flea Beetles: These small hopping beetles feed on plant foliage and may spread diseases. Burpee Recommends: Rotate crops with plants in a different plant family. Use floating row covers to prevent damage to young foliage.
Leafhoppers: Leafhoppers cause injury to leaves and stunt growth. They also spread disease. Burpee Recommends: Remove plant debris. Use insecticidal soaps. Consult your Cooperative Extension Service for other insecticide recommendations.
Tomato Horn Worm: Large, green caterpillars which can quickly devour foliage. Burpee Recommends: With sturdy gloves on, hand pick and destroy them. HOWEVER if you see white projections coming from the back of the caterpillar, do not destroy it. These are the egg cases of a parasitic wasp that will destroy the caterpillar. These wasps should be allowed to remain in your garden.
Why are my eggplants yellow? Eggplant come in many colors- one of those colors is yellow. Either the variety is reverting back to another color, or pale eggplants tend to over ripen into yellow. Yellow is associated with a more bitter eggplant but this is because the eggplant is over ripe. A young yellow eggplant tastes as mild as any other eggplant.
Why are my eggplants so bitter? Stressed or over ripe eggplants tend to be bitter. Water and harvest often.
Why are my plants so small and growing slowly? Eggplants are sensitive to the cold. Either a transplant has been planted into cold soil, or a young plant has experienced cold weather, or a transplant that became root bound before being planted may be stunted for a short while or for the full growing season.
Can I grow eggplants in a container? Yes, eggplants are good for containers at least 18-24 inches in diameter and deep. They are beautiful plants that will look great on the patio, even in the flower border.
Why haven’t any of my eggplant seeds germinated when all my tomatoes are up? Tomato seed germinates in 7-10 days while eggplant can take 21 days.