Eggplants belong to the nightshade family along with tomatoes, peppers and potatoes. Like their plant cousins, they can be prolific and extremely tasty. But, like other nightshades, eggplants are also subject to many troubling pests and diseases.
Whether your plant is already sick or you are trying to ward off any problems, it is important to know what problem you are facing. So knowing what pests and diseases eggplants have will help you keep your garden healthy. No time to waste, so let’s dive right in.
- 1 6 eggplant pests
- 2 7 diseases of eggplant
6 eggplant pests
Many eggplant pests are the same ones your tomato or potato plants encounter. If you’ve ever dealt with aphids or hornworms, you know what you’re dealing with.
Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that stick to the undersides of leaves and stems of plants. Their colors vary from green and yellow to pink and brown depending on the host plant. In eggplant, cotton aphid (aphis gossip) and green peach aphid (Myzus persicae) are the most common. The first may be yellow, green, or almost black, while the latter may be yellow or green.
Minor infestations rarely cause problems, but heavy aphid infestations can cause leaves to turn yellow and develop necrotic spots on the leaves.
The real problem with aphids on eggplants is that they secrete a sticky, sugary substance called honeydew that encourages sooty mold to develop on your plants. They can also spread diseases.
Check out our guide to aphids on your garden plants.
2. Colorado Potato Beetle
Don’t let the name fool you; Colorado potato beetle (leptinotarsa decemlineata) are infected more than potato plants (and they don’t just live in Colorado). These pests are a serious problem for all plants in the nightshade family.
Colorado potato beetles feed on the foliage of plants, causing severe damage. Severe infestation completely destroys the plants. These pests are difficult to control as they have developed high levels of insecticide resistance.
to implement bacillus thuringiensis There is a way to control the larvae. It has to be applied repeatedly, but it is not harmful to the environment. Insecticides containing spinosad are effective against the adult Colorado potato beetle.
cutworm (Noctuidae spp.) are a frustrating pest to deal with in your garden, and they love eggplant. They chew on the stems of young shoots, cutting them at the soil line. They are most active at night, so they are easy to miss in your garden.
Cutworms infect more than eggplants; They love having lots of vegetables in your garden. Getting rid of cutworms is possible, but you have to be diligent. You will need to use certain techniques such as hand-picking the larvae at night and spreading diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants to prevent a cutworm infestation.
4. Flea Beetles
Flea beetles are leaf-eating beetles in the Chrysomelidae family, and they are a frustrating eggplant pest. They cause small holes or pits in the leaves that can stunt growth. Seedlings and young plants are most susceptible to these pests. Flea beetles can cause serious damage to plants, and they eventually eat the fruit of the eggplant, ruining your crop.
Plus, they spread diseases!
Covering your young eggplant seedlings with floating row covers is one way to prevent flea beetles from taking over your plants. Many preventative measures work well, so be sure to use them before you find these pests in your garden.
If you end up with flea beetles in your garden, some measures work to control their population. Insecticides containing spinosad, permethrin and carbaryl control these pests best, but other organic methods also work.
Two common types of hornworms can infect your eggplant: tomato (manduca quinquemaculata) and tobacco hornworm (Manduka Sexta) These pests are very large and cause heavy damage to the leaves of your plants. Heavy infestation also damages the fruits.
Most people are familiar with tomato hornworms, but tobacco hornworms look almost alike. They both reach three or four inches in length and have a horn at the end of their body.
It is entirely possible to get rid of these insects. Start by making sure you regularly inspect your plants for any holes in their leaves or insects, as an infestation is quick.
6. Stink Bugs
Most people believe that stink bugs (acrosternum hilare) are annoying little black beetles that emit a foul odor when disturbed. But the stink bug we’re talking about has a shield-shaped back that attacks plants in the nightshade family.
Stink bugs cause dark colored pinpricks that eventually turn yellow on the fruit. They also carry pathogens that cause secondary infection and fruit decay.
Removing weeds near your eggplants helps deter these pests because weeds and debris make room for stink bugs in winter. Introducing insecticidal soap, kaolin clay and natural enemies are different ways to get rid of stink bugs in the garden.
7 diseases of eggplant
If you find yourself facing one of these eggplant diseases, don’t panic. Most of these are treatable and will not kill your garden plants if you catch them early.
1. Anthracnose Fruit Rot
Anthracnose is a fungal disease (Colletotrichum cocodes) which doesn’t always cause symptoms, but when it does, it starts with small, sunken spots on the fruits of your plants. Over time, the spots merge into much larger spots.
Over time, the spores set and circle the wound with an orange or pinky jelly-like patch that covers the sores.
If you suspect this fungal disease, it is important to remove infected fruits from your plants. Here’s our guide to anthracnose in the garden.
2. Blossom-end Rot
Eggplant and tomato are in the same plant family, so it’s no surprise that they can both end up with blossom end rot. You will see small, water-soaked areas at the ends of the fruit where the flowers did not grow. Gradually, the lesions enlarge, becoming black and leathery in appearance.
Blossom-end rot is caused by low calcium concentrations in the fruit that can come from competition with other plants in the garden. However, it is caused by other problems, such as drought stress.
Learn more about blossom-end rot in our guide to dealing with this problem in your garden.
3. Cercospora Leaf Spot
Cercospora leaf spot is a fungal pathogen (Cercospora melongenae) which initially appears on the lower part of the plant and gradually moves up the plant. You may see small circular spots on the leaves that range in color from light to dark brown, and over time, the lesions expand.
Badly infected leaves dry out and curl, eventually falling off the plant. This is one of the problems because the fungus will survive the winter on fallen debris on the soil.
Cercospora leaf spot is difficult to treat, but it is possible to prevent. Proper spacing of plants and space for proper air flow is important, and you should always irrigate at the base of the plants.
If your eggplant plants still end up with Cercospora leaf spots, applying a fungicide can help reduce the fungus on your plants. However, do not expect that the fungal disease will go away completely.
4. Damping off
One of the most common eggplant diseases that infect seedlings. It is caused by pathogens Phytophthora, Pythium, And rhizoctonia Overly infected shoots fail to emerge completely, and shoots may end up with light brown to red soaked roots and stems. Soaking causes the plants to drop, dry out and die.
In most cases it is difficult, if not impossible, to stop getting wet. Check out our guide to soaking in your garden.
5. Early Blight
If you notice premature shedding of lower leaves on your eggplant, you may have early blight. This fungus (alternaria solani) causes brownish-black spots on the leaves covering the leaf surface. They may also have rings of alternating light and dark on the leaves.
Over time, early blight causes large, sunken areas and a dark velvety texture at the stem end of the fruit. The fungus spreads rapidly once the plants bear fruit, but the application of fungicide at the first sign of disease can be effective.
6. Powdery Mildew
Another fungal disease that infects eggplant is powdery mildew. various fungi such as erisife spp and spherotheca spp produces white, powdery spots on leaves, twigs, flowers and fruits. They can also produce yellow, twisted leaves that eventually droop the plant.
Powdery mildew prefers shady conditions with poor air circulation. Take a look at our guide to powdery mildew in the garden.
7. Verticillium Wilt
Verticillium wilt is another fungal pathogen (verticillium dahlia) that appears on eggplant. The first symptoms begin on the lower leaves and spread upward; You will see yellow spots on the lower leaves, rapid yellowing, and rolling of the leaf edges.
One of the biggest problems with Verticillium wilt is that it survives in soil indefinitely. It emerges during cooler temperatures in the spring, and this fungus is hard to control. You will need to solarize the soil to protect your plants.
Here’s our guide to Verticillium Wilt.
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