I'm growing some eggplants in a raised garden bed. They have been fairly productive over the last month or two, but have recently begun growing small tubular "bits" instead of large green leaves. I don't know what to call them instead of "bits", add they're not leaves, but more like short stems.

large view

This next picture really shows the mass of growth coming from the main stem at the bottom of the plants. These little tubular bits don't turn into normal leaves!

tubular leaves

close up

I have a feeling there is a nutrient deficiency, add they plants have stopped growing fruit and instead lots of this "stemmy" growth. I've attached a few pics that I hope will clarify things.

For your information, I live in Brisbane, Australia. So we're in winter at the moment, which is quite mild but with occasional light showers.

Cheers Dave

  • 1
    Have your temperatures dropped below 60degF, day or night? Check the leaves for aphids, thrips or any other invaders - otherwise this looks physiological or almost viral, but I'm not seeing any yellow mosaic or streaking patterns. Have you sprayed weedkiller anywhere recently, could be herbicide damage. Have you grown anything in the raised bed before?
    – Bamboo
    Jul 16, 2017 at 8:58
  • 1
    Thrips are tiny and quite hard to see - looks quite like thrips damage, but rather more like some kind of physiological disorder than shortage of nutrients. 50F is a fair bit lower than they like too. How long have they been growing in the raised bed for?
    – Bamboo
    Jul 16, 2017 at 11:18
  • 1
    Bamboo I think we have a great example of virus, don't you?
    – stormy
    Jul 16, 2017 at 20:30
  • 1
    Gosh, I forgot to ask why you are using that white mesh over your beds.
    – stormy
    Jul 16, 2017 at 22:56
  • 1
    I just love accents from Aussieland, England...southern U.S. Us Northerners are so bland...
    – stormy
    Jul 16, 2017 at 23:04

1 Answer 1


This looks like a viral disease to me. The plant looks healthy in terms of color. Not a nutritional excess nor deficiency. I am almost sure this is a virus. Where did you get your soil? Do you compost?

What did you use for soil? Did you use any compost? Are these really eggplants? They look like tomatoes but barely. I guess they could be eggplant but boy howdy these plants are done DONE. I'd pull them and put them into trash bags and carefully. There is not a miracle around that could make these plants produce egg plants.

What did you use for fertilizer? If your fertilizer was higher in NITROGEN than the Phosphorous and Potassium, that would be one reason you are getting only vegetative growth. That might also be the reason your plants were susceptible to this disease, and I am thinking viral.

Pull them up carefully, slowly, include as much soil as possible and you are not going to be able to plant any of this family in that same soil for 2 years; includes eggplant, tomato, potato, peppers...Best to plant these plants in pots with POTTING SOIL sterilized soil that won't have virus or fungal or bacterial vectors.

Very unhappiness, David. This is how we learn to be gardeners. The hard way. What soil did you put in your raised beds? Any other amendments? What did you do to the soil beneath this bed before you put this on top?

The fact that one of your plants has always had these symptoms is a huge flag. All the other plants will end up with whatever this disease is.

  • 1
    This is WINTER for you and you are out growing vegetables. Arghhhh! This doesn't look like any winter with which I am familiar. Been thinking to move to Kiwi Country...I think we might be a bit late getting going. What a wonderful place to live...Australia, New Zealand...great people, great soil, great climate. Great place to learn to be a gardener.
    – stormy
    Jul 16, 2017 at 23:00
  • 1
    Whoa, super solution! I love Possums, I love wild Turkey, I love bunnies...I love animals period. We have rabbits as well as raccoons, ravens, bob cat, fisher, cougar, porcupine, feral cats and lots of ants.
    – stormy
    Jul 16, 2017 at 23:03
  • Such a shame that it's probably a virus! :( But I guess these things happen. I'll avoid any of the same family in these beds for a couple of years :( Thanks for your help though!
    – David_G
    Jul 19, 2017 at 2:44
  • 1
    I am sorry. Use pots and potting soil. I have a huge green house and there is no way I'd be able to grow what I want without pots and sterilized potting soil.
    – stormy
    Jul 19, 2017 at 5:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.