Does anyone prune eggplant like tomatoes??

dancinglemons(7B VA)June 26, 2010

Hello folks,

I have decided to snip out some of the 'suckers' on my eggplant plants this year. I do not know if this will hurt the plants production. I have observed (in the past) that when the eggplant is maturing fruit the plant is also putting out several suckers. My thought is the excess suckering will slow down the fruit production/ripening.

Anyone have this experience??


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All the eggplants I have grown behave like determinate tomatoes and I treat them like determinate tomato plants. This means I don't prune them at all. Same goes for peppers too, sweet and hot. The only pruning I do for eggplants and peppers is pulling off diseased or yellowing leaves.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:40PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

Wow, I must be growing indeterminate eggplant types. I grow ROSA BIANCA and Listada De Gandia . They behave exactly like indeterminate tomato and produce all season until frost kills the plants.

Perhaps someone posting here has had this indeterminate eggplant experience and can speak about pruning the suckers on their eggplant plants. Anyone???


    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 2:19AM
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DL - I have not noticed any slow-down in production, and I only prune an eggplant if it gets damaged. The suckers are what will produce more fruit later in the year.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 7:09AM
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Eggplants produce until the frost and so do peppers but their shape is like determinate tomatoes meaning there isn't a main leader (or a few) with fruits and suckers growing from that leader. Rather, they will branch like a tree and the fruits are borne where branching occurs. If you prune off the "suckers" you are pruning off fruits. In my experience, eggplants and peppers need no pruning except for removing diseased leaves. They are quite capable of controlling the balance of leaves and fruits on their own. And the disease pressure isn't as high on them as on tomatoes. I grew Rosa Bianca last year btw.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 3:20PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

ikea gw,
Thanks for that detailed explaination. I think I misunderstood your initial post. I'm still wondering about pruning eggplant plants. I will do one of my wacky experiments -- prune some and leave others to their own devices. Sometime in September I will decide what path to take in 2011! :))

Cheers one and all,

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 4:40PM
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I planted my first garden; only 4'x4', but I have asian eggplant, tomatoes, cucumber, and peppers - shishito and bell. So far so good. Deer netting seemes to be keeping the little critters out. The cucumber is climbing a home-made trellis, and the tomatoes and egplant are staked. Thanks for the eggplant tips. I will leave everything alone except bug watch and dead leaves.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 3:10PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

How do you reconcile the advice given in this thread about eggplant leaves and suckers with the advice found on the following site which states the opposite:
"Cut suckers from the base of the plant as soon as they occur, to prevent them from competing with the main stem and fruits for nutrients. You can pull off suckers by hand if you catch them early, otherwise a pair of pruning shears or scissors is needed to cut them.

"Trim off any suckers that originate in the joint between the main stem and lateral branches of the eggplant. Cut or pull them off as they occur at the point of origin on the main stem."
[end quote]

Here's the link:

How to Trim Eggplant

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:00PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Sorry forgot to add:

The author on that site also writes:

"Remove lower leaves from the plant to keep the plant open, allowing better light within the plant and increased air circulation."

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 9:03PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Just finished a little more reading. Hmm, i'm in a quandary. It seems some reputable sites recommend pruning eggplants while other reputable sites don't.

Here's what says:
"Watch the eggplant plants as they grow taller and larger. The stems of eggplants grow similarly to tomato plants, with suckers appearing between the main stalk and the side branches. If you do not prune away these suckers, they will divert plant energy and you may have fewer and smaller eggplants.

"Position the pruning shears so the blades are flush with the main stem and clip off the suckers flush with the stem."

But MotherEarthNews says:

"Eggplant requires no pruning beyond removing old, withered leaves. As the plants grow tall, numerous side shoots will form along the plantâÂÂs main stem. These side shoots will bear flowers and fruits later in the season. In long-season regions, eggplants can be topped back by half their size in midsummer to stimulate the growth of new fruit-bearing branches."

I'm beginning to think properly growing eggplants is like "properly" managing an economy. Reputable PhD experts diametrically disagree on the right actions to take. Some are Austrian School and some are Keynesians.

This post was edited by ZoysiaSod on Sun, Jul 21, 13 at 22:20

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:03PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Oops, forgot to include this from Ehow:

"Some gardeners choose to remove all but three branches on an eggplant to direct plant energy to the production of eggplants. If you choose this approach, wait until the eggplant plant blossoms and leave the three most prolific branches on the plant, removing all the rest."

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 10:07PM
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ZoysiaSod(6a/6b St.Lou TranZone)

Here's what OnTheGreenFarms says:

"Once you have three or four fruits set, it will be time to start removing any further side shoots as they develop. This helps to divert the energy of the plant to where it is most needed.

"Pinch off blossoms 2 to 4 weeks before first expected frost so that plants channel energy into ripening existing fruit, not producing new ones.

Eggplants are heavy feeders, but avoid feeding too much nitrogen. It will encourage lush foliage growth at the expense of fruit."

    Bookmark   July 21, 2013 at 11:48PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I agree with OnTheGreenFarms advice.
After certain time, any new growth or flower will materialize any harvestable fruits.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 12:33AM
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NEVER prune eggplant!

Zoysia, just ignore those websites that tell you to prune eggplant. It's a load of steaming manure. There is nothing to be confused about - take the advice of eggplant growers on this forum.

Every sucker or shoot you prune away is costing you eggplant fruit. Secondly, there is a perennial misconception about eggplants needing to ripen. Eggplants should never, ever be allowed to ripen. They are not tomatoes. Ripe eggplants are inedible.

Why are indeterminate tomatoes pruned? Well, because if you're an intensive grower with limited space, you'd stake them, train them vertically, and cram as many tomato plants as you can into that space. You're basically converting horizontal space to vertical space, with a significant drop in production per plant, but this is compensated for by increased production per square foot.

When space is not an issue, and fungal problems are minor, pruning is unnecessary at best and deterimental at worst. A healthy, bushy plant, whether that is a tomato, eggplant, or pepper, will yield you the most fruits.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2013 at 2:15AM
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