There are very few sources of fiber that taste as complex as eggplants. Fried, baked or roasted, no matter how the squishy flesh of eggplants tastes like a very rich protein.
Eggplants maybe are not so famous in our cuisines but it is very easy to grow and very popular vegetable side all through south-east Asia.
The purple eggs that grow on a little tree, eggplants, are members of the same family as tomatoes. Solanum melongena or eggplants are the part of the nightshade family of trees.
Eggplants have a Woody stem and large leaves with a thick fuzzy coating. Eggplants grow up to 4 feet tall depending on various factors.
Many gardeners don’t bother growing eggplants as they can be a little bit challenging. But let us tell you, even though you are a newbie you can easily grow eggplants in your backyard if you follow this article.
There are many problems that can occur while growing eggplants. The problems may result in wilting, twisting and damaging of the vegetables. But the health of the eggplant always depends on the health of the tree. And the health of the tree reflects best on the leaves.
Eggplant leaves give the sign of the plant’s health in various ways. Some of the signs are turning yellow, colour-fading, deforming, the arrival of spots, curling etc.
The most common problem is eggplant leaves turning yellow and curling simultaneously. There are many reasons behind this problem that can leave an amateur gardener perplexed.
Locating the source of the problem may seem challenging. But we assure you, it will be very easy once you go through this article.
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About Eggplant Leaves
Since we are going to focus mainly on eggplant leaves in this article. Let us get to know it better. Eggplant leaves are proportionately equal or bigger than fully grown eggplants.
Eggplant leaves are normally green or deep green. The colour varies on the age of the plant. They have purple or brownish purple veins going through them. Undersides of eggplant leaves are densely covered with woolly hairs.
The upper surface of eggplant leaves is soft to touch and fuzzy. Eggplant leaves usually grow inner bushy formation. The normal shape of a fully mature eggplant tree is 2-4 feet tall and 1-3 feet wide.
Can Eggplant Leaves be Eaten?
Although eggplants are delicious and filled with protein fiber potassium and iron, eggplant leaves are not the same. Like other members of the nightshade family, eggplant leaves are also narcotic and toxic. They are inedible and not digestible for humans.
Solanine, a part of the Alkaline chemical group, is found in eggplant leaves and flowers and it is very toxic for mammals. Solanine can cause nausea, drowsiness, weakness, vomiting and fever.
What Can Eat the Toxic Leaves?
The obvious answer is Pests. There are various types of pests that can eat your eggplant leaves and damage your plant. The most common insect that eats eggplant leaves is the flea beetle.
They leave tiny holes on the foliage of eggplant trees. You can easily control flea beetles by growing companion trees with your eggplant trees that attract flea beetles more.
It is the most efficient way leaving very less carbon footprint. But you can also wrap plastic mulch surrounding the base of your eggplant trees. It will prevent any insect from attacking your tree from the soil.
Some insects that eat eggplant leaves are Aphids, Cutworms, Cucumber beetles, Earwigs, Slugs, Snails and Whiteflies.
Also Read: Chilli Flowers Dropping Off
Why Eggplant Leaves Turning Yellow and Curling?
Eggplant leaves often curl and form spotty green patches. The most common reason behind this is Aphids. But Aphids do not actually cause the problem. The cucumber mosaic virus gets carried by the Aphids.
This virus can attack almost every member of the nightshade family including tomato plants. It causes stunted growth and curly looking leaves.
Organic pesticides are recommended to fight this problem. Once Aphids stop curling on your eggplant tree, you are safe.
Eggplant Leaves Turning Yellow: What Causes?
Usually, any leaf turns yellow when they are not getting enough water from provided resources. When the temperature rises above 29 degree Celsius eggplant leaves may turn pale.
Although eggplant leaves start to form yellow pages and tip when they get infected by verticillium wilt. This fungus gradually turns the entire leaf yellow.
Yellowing is the most common problem faced by eggplant gardeners. The yellowing process occurs both in plants that grow in greenhouses or open grounds. Let’s find the solution for yellow eggplant leaves.
- Due to Change: The most harmless cause behind the discolouration of green plants is a change of place. When seedlings are planted in the garden soil, they may turn yellow. It takes time for them to adjust to the new soil. This problem goes away after a few days.
- Leaf Mosaic: the most common disease found in plants is leaf mosaic. It occurs for many reasons ranging from lack of water to lack of fertilizers. If the plant is affected by this problem, the leaves dry out and become yellow. Eventually, they fall off. The fruits also turn hard from outside and become inedible.
- Soil Type: Eggplants grown in greenhouse often turn yellow because of the soil used. Peat soil turns eggplant foliages yellow and wilt. To avoid eggplant leaves turning yellow apply loam or sand loamy soil.
- Fusarium: Fusarium is a deadly disease. It weakens the vessels of the leaves. It can easily destroy the whole tree if it gets unnoticed. At first, vessels dry up then the leaves. The leaves then fall off and the shoots follow.
- Verticulosis: Verticulosis welcomes wilting and yellowing through the entire life cycle of eggplant trees. As mentioned before eggplant leaves are very sensitive. A little more fertilizer can cause Verticillosis. Eventually, if the nitrogen and organic compounds are not regulated the leaves turn yellow and dry up.
- Fungus infection: Another fungus attacks the eggplant trees that work the same way like Fusarium. But it is a little different than that. This fungal infection first sits on the ground for several days. Then it gradually starts to affect the trees. Moreover, the whole tree including leaves gets covered with yellow spots. This pathogen occurs in open grounds and also in greenhouses. It dries up the whole tree slowly. The tree becomes stunted.
- Burns: Yellowness can also occur from scorching sunbeams. If you live in a very hot climate then you must protect your trees from very hot sunlight.
- Seedlings: If none of the above-mentioned problems is present and still your trees are a little bit discoloured, then the problem occurred from the seedlings. Check thoroughly if your seedlings are fresh and green when you plant them to avoid this.
- Buy seeds from trusted local farmers who supply good eggplant in the market. You can also buy good quality seeds from supermarkets.
- Disinfect the seeds before planting. Choose the right soil for the seedbed. Also, choose a sunny area.
- Apply Trichomerdin to the planting holes to prevent your saplings from fungus attacks. Always remember prevention is better than cure.
- Consult with some experienced eggplant gardeners and apply the right amount of fertilizer to your plant routinely. Use compost and organic fertilizers filled with the right amount of nitrogen.
- Maintaining good irrigation is very important. Eggplant trees should be watered regularly in the morning and evening hours. Use room temperature water for irrigation.
- In a bed of seedlings if even one is infected remove it immediately. Stop the spreading in the beginning.
- Check your plants for disease every day. If any symptoms are found then start to treat it right away.
- Regularly turn and loosen the topsoil. Check for weeds. Remove any affected soil and weeds.
Why Egg Plant leaves Curling?
Leaves can curl, twist, deform and rot due to many reasons. Some of them are very simple. They occur due to lack of essential nutrients. Some of such problems are.
- Inappropriate water: Water is very essential for eggplants. Eggplant trees demand a high amount of water. If the natural water requirement of eggplant trees is not met then several signs occur. One such deformation of the tree along with stunted growth is the curling of leaves. These plants need heavy watering no less than three times a week. Also, topsoil needs regular checking. If the topsoil is dry you should immediately water the plant. Apply settled water stored in room temperature for the good health of the tree. If seedlings are not looking very fresh there must be a water shortage.
- Shortage of lighting: The problem of eggplant leaves curling may also be caused by insufficient sunlight. The seedlings should stay in sunlight for almost the full day. Then it should be moved into a shade. But the plant always needs more than 8 hours of lighting. Insufficient sunlight does not allow the tree to make enough food. So the leaves may start to curl and then die gradually. The flowers die out too for the same problem. Always remember to place your garden bed in a position where the sun shines throughout the whole day.
- More salt in soil than required: If the soil is saltier than required, It becomes hard for the tree to suck the water out of the soil. Trees depend on osmosis. So the salty water welcomes an adverse situation that becomes a problem for the tree.
- Parasites: Spider mites can also make the leaves curl. If your eggplant leaves are curling, check the seedlings very carefully in a good source of light. You may use a magnifier and a flashlight and try to find the mites. If you find the mites don’t worry, the solution is very simple. Just make some soapy water with some added garlic juice. Then apply the solution with a piece of cloth on the leaves. You may also apply drugs on parasites like spider mites.
- Deficiency of minerals: Mineral deficiency might be the most ignored cause of eggplant leaves curling. Among many minerals, if the eggplant tree suffers from a deficiency of nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium, it may lead to curling of the leaves. However, a little bit of fertilizer can fix this problem. But always be cautious, If you apply too much fertilizer the same problem will occur but in another way. Eggplant leaves wilt, curl and dry to remove the excess fertilizer from the plant. so be wary of how much fertilizer you are applying. Try to use compost for fertilizing.
Why Egg Plant Leaves Turn Yellow and How to Stop It?
Growing eggplants is always considered to be the fanciest among all the vegetables. But given the huge fiber content to minerals ratio, it is worth it. Here are some other tips to help you.
- Seeding: Eggplant seeds must be sown in a sunny area devoid of wind. It usually prefers a soil rich in nutrients and food. Consider loamy soil mixed with compost. Apply extra compost to each planting hole. Check the seedlings every day. Remove infected ones
- Saplings: Plant eggplant seedlings while the soil temperature comes to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not plant before 2 weeks of the latest frost during spring. For a jump-start, plant eggplant inside your house 8-10 weeks before placing it in the backyard.
- Caring for the plant: Eggplants are finicky; they need a lot of water and attention. Always keep the topsoil evenly wet. Do not overwater. Do not let it dry out too. Once grown to 1 – 3 feet eggplant trees require a hot temperature of 70-80 degree Fahrenheit. Grow eggplants like a tomato. Provide support to the fruit by setting up a cage. Don’t forget to mulch.
- Harvesting: Harvest eggplant when it is almost full grown. Know the size of your fruit according to the breed and pick the right time to harvest the fruit. You can also gently press the skin with fingertips. If it springs back it is ready to harvest. If not harvested before full maturity the taste and color will flatten out.