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I have six or seven eggplant plants that are growing marvelously. They have been in the ground for about 3-4 months and are each about a foot, foot and a half tall. They all have plenty of purple flowers but I have had no fruit yet. Why? Is it:

  1. Seasonal - I'm in Brisbane, Australia and we are only just now coming to the end of Winter, start of Spring.

  2. User error - do I need to be hand-pollinating these babies?

  3. Nutritional - a lack of food?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Pollination is essential. Check to see what the area has pollinating insects like bees, butterflies or flies. The insects may not be out in full force considering that it is winter, but you would know better than I. If you are fairly certain that you have active pollinators, water may be an issue. If the plant does not have weekly deep watering, the flowers will drop. Make sure that the soil is wet at least 6 inches deep. Mulch to preserve moisture. Water deeply on a weekly basis, more if the climate is dry.

If you have both pollinators and adequate moisture, you could always try pollinating by hand using a fine paintbrush or some cotton swabs. Just lightly transfer pollen from the flower of one plant to the flower of another. Let us know what happens. Often wnd can be a good enough pollinator for these plants. (If there is enough wind)

I think as spring starts to arrive and things warm up, this plant will take care of it self.. (patience)

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I suspect it is a lack of pollinators, very few insects in Brisbane over Winter. I shall just keep watering and wait another month for the bugs to arrive! –  rohan Aug 22 '12 at 22:18
    
So what happened? Did they eventually flower and fruit? –  BlueStar Mar 14 '13 at 15:41
    
From six plants I got maybe five small eggplants. –  rohan Feb 18 at 22:23
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Advice for aiding pollination is to gently tap the flowers two or three times a week until you see they're pollinated, repeating this if necessary. Either that or use a Q tip or old eye make up applicator to lift pollen from the stamens (the filaments in the middle of the flower) and apply it to the tip (stigma) of the pistil in the centre. The flowers are 'perfect', meaning there aren't separate male and female flowers - each flower, if pollinated, has the capacity to turn into a fruit, and each individual flower can pollinate itself, it does not need to be another flower's pollen.

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