Why is my eggplant not setting fruit?

Ispahan Zone6a ChicagoJuly 6, 2011

I have two 'Fairytale' eggplants growing in containers. They are happily growing, large and lush plants with dozens of blossoms at at time, but neither of my plants has yet to set a fruit after several weeks of flowering. I have tried gently shaking the plants daily to help the flowers pollinate as well hand pollinating the flowers with a paint brush, all with no success. Not only that, I have never noticed any pollen being shed from any of the anthers during all of my pollination attempts. There are no pests or disease in sight, and the chiles I have growing along side them are setting fruit like crazy, so I don't think I have too much nitrogen preventing fruit set. What gives?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

What have your temperatures been - day and night range? Eggplant, just like tomatoes, experiences tacky non-viable pollen and blossom drop during especially warm periods. The FAQ here on Blossom Drop explains the viable temp ranges for successful pollination.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 6, 2011 at 11:42PM
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CC_balconygardener(7)

I agree with Dave, my ichiban eggplant was doing OK early in the summer but when it started to get really hot the flowers started to drop. When I moved the container to a shaded area it started to fruit again. On the balcony the temperature was above 90F during the day, while in the shade I think it stays around 80F. I also have a fairytale eggplant and it is doing well in the shade.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 12:56AM
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chaman(z7MD)

I agree with Dave and baconygardener.During higher temps. eggplant loses water faster by transpiration which reflects in heavy wilting of leaves of eggplant on warmer days.If you can not relocate the plants as balconygardener has done then feed the plant heavily with water on hot days.Thick mulching will help too.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 11:51AM
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PRO
little sur farm

Sound crazy but try a 5.00 umbrella stuck in the planter as shade. It can actually look neat.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 2:36PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

Humidity can play a role too...did you try pollinating/tapping the flowers at a drier time of day? If you've been attempting pollination at the same time every day, try a different time of day and see if it works better.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 3:11PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Thank you everyone for wonderful answers! I really appreciate it.

My plants are located on a balcony and get sun from roughly 1 pm to 8 pm. Maybe they are being cooked by afternoon sun?

I have tried pollinating flowers both morning and evening, so I am not sure it is a humidity problem.

We have had a few days above 90, but generally temps have ranged 80-85 during the day and 60-65 at night.

I suppose that even if I never harvest fruit, the plants themselves are beautiful ornamentals. But...sigh...I really, really happen to have a taste for eggplant this season, LOL!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 6:26PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Just an update. After reading the thoughtful responses posted here, I have tried making some modifications to my container-grown eggplant. I now leave water in the saucer most of the time. The result? The plant still looks healthy, happy and beautiful with plenty of blossoms but now I have lots of little eggplants forming! Woohoo!

Watering more often is the only modification I have made.

Thank you so much everyone for your help!

Cheers,
Ispahan

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 8:32PM
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1dahlia4me(7a (NoVA))

Interesting! Congrats and thanks for the update.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2011 at 9:20PM
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Ispahan Zone6a Chicago

Update #2: I have now harvested several dozen little 'Fairytale' eggplants and my plants are now loaded with dozens of blossoms and ripening fruits. These are quite productive once they are happy! Such beautiful plants too.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 3:18PM
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ikea_gw

I always find that eggplants endure very hot humid weather just fine if they are watered generously and fertilized with a well-balanced fertilizer. They are commonly grown in southeast Asia and India so I think they should be able to handle quite a bit of heat.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2011 at 5:15PM
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TobeyToo

Is the information true for summer squash?

TobeyToo

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 8:51AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

TobeyToo, see this FAQ question from the Vegetables forum:
http://faq.gardenweb.com/faq/lists/cornucop/2003081901015268.html

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 9:26AM
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