How To Grow Eggplant

Like this article? Share it!
Print Friendly

Eggplant is a very unique plant for most home gardens and probably one of the lesser grown vegetables. The most famous recipe is in making eggplant parmesan, but they can be breaded and fried, baked, grilled, stewed, or used in dips.

Eggplant is often substituted for meat in vegetarian dishes, and is a main ingredient for Baba Ganoush.Eggplant

One popular home garden cultivar of eggplant is ‘Black Beauty‘. This is the same cultivar I choose for my vegetable garden.

It produces large, plump, glossy eggplants that are very tasty. Eggplant is ready to harvest typically in 80-85 days.

How to Plant & Care for Eggplant

You can direct sow eggplant in hot climates. In northern climates, start seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last frost date and transplant at least 2 weeks after the last frost date. Use black plastic to keep the ground warm before planting in cooler climates.

Eggplant does best in rich, slightly acidic, well-draining soil with compost added. Eggplants need to be spaced about 24″ apart in rows at least 12″ apart. Eggplant can be either grown from seed or transplanted. Normally, I buy transplants from my local nursery due to the long growing period.

How to Grow EggplantEggplant thrives in hot, humid conditions.

Grow them under row covers in cool climates to increase the temperature around the plants. The plant will not set fruit where nighttime temperatures get below 65° F.

It is a good idea to mulch around the plants to help keep moisture and heat in the soil around the plants. Take care while weeding around young plants, so that you do not disturb the roots.

Eggplant is a very heavy feeder, so side-dressing the plants with well-rotted compost or manure twice a month is encouraged.

I also use fish emulsion for feedings. It’s some stinky stuff, but is an organic fertilizer that will not burn plants.

Some varieties of eggplant may become very large, and thus heavy. You may need to give the plant some support.

How to Harvest Eggplant

Cut fruits from the plant when they reach full cultivar color and are firm and glossy, about 60-90 days after transplanting ( could be longer or shorter depending on the cultivar you are growing).

Make sure to cut the fruits with shears to avoid damaging the plant. Clipping fruits regularly will help promote new ones to grow. For more information on harvesting eggplant, please read How and When To Pick Eggplant.

Pests & Diseases of Eggplant

Have Fun Growing EggplantPick off any beetles, worms, and caterpillars you may find on the plants. Watch for the Colorado potato beetle in the western areas of the U.S.

Shake them off onto a sheet of paper then dispose. Protect young plants from flea beetles by covering with floating row covers.

Try to choose virus-resistant cultivars for your garden. Following clean growing practices can help to avoid blights.

Eggplant is very easy to grow and makes for a wonderful garden addition. They will also add excitement and color to your vegetable garden; not to mention a delicious item on the dinner table.

Enter your name and email address below to grab a free copy of my e-book, 101 Tips for Growing Amazing Organic Vegetables.

Inside you will find 101 tips that will help you grow a better vegetable garden. You will also receive my weekly newsletter packed with helpful information!

Like this article? Share it!
Print Friendly

Comments

  1. I love growing the white eggplant the best!! Not only is it tastier, the plant itself gets huge. Last year I had 3 white eggplant plants. They grew as tall as my 4th grade daughter and where almost as wide as they were tall. Each plant produced a range of 80-100 fruit each. Yes folks I got about a total of 250-300 eggplant off 3 plants. :) The plant itself was so strong I didn’t even have to cage or stake it off.

    • I will use black plastic to warm the ground here in Southern Ohio this year. Once it’s hot here (July) I will remove the plastic and just rely on lots of compost. I’ve never had more than 6-8 eggplant fruit per plant so you’ve set a new goal for me. What variety did you use? Black Beauty is dependable and very tasty but it’ll never reach four feet tall and four feet wide here.

    • u must be the eggplant queen ive been growing for years and never saw more than 8-10 fruits per plant i’d love to hear your method and see pictures thanks

      • Hi!
        I’m hoping you can help with info about growing my 4 eggplant plants.
        A few days ago I noticed two purple flowers on one of my plants and today I noticed that they have turned brown and shriveled up.What’s up with that!?

        • superman says:

          Im not sure if anyone replied i didnt continue reading. But I’m growing black beauty and Itchaban. when the flowers die then they are gonna start growing fruits. Most if nto all plants will produce flowers before they fruit and I think most maybe all die for the next step in growing which is the fruit to take its spot. For a cheap tip I use old grass clippings to increase areartion of the soil and so far i gotten 5 eggplants on one with other just growing as we speak

  2. Good read. I have a garden myself, and I just found your site.
    Will be visiting more often :)

  3. greg valcante says:

    My two eggplant plants are growing tall in Florida and gave us 3 delicious eggplants but now they are covered with flowers but no fruit. Any ideas why?

    • Hi Greg – It could be heat related if you are having very high temperatures currently. You may need to be just a bit more patience. If the temperatures are too high then they will set fruit.

    • superman says:

      this is what i do. I have bunches of flowers myself but since they are where frutis will grow. My opinion you should take off and leave mayb 5 to 8 tke or give of the flowers to increa the quilty of hte fruit and not focus on growing so many at once. It will also help the remaining fruits grow quicker. At least I tried it this year and have had success and surprising been doing great .

  4. Josi Silverman says:

    Hi Tee! I enjoyed browsing through your website. I have a herb garden, but I’ve never grown vegetables before. An acquaintance gave me 4 eggplants from her garden. I love eggplant!! I have one left wich is mushy and wrinkle. Would I be successful planting it? I live in Marietta, GA. Thanks!

    • Hi Josi – You mean planting the eggplant itself? It might work, but I think you would have better success starting it from seed. Good luck!

  5. Josi Silverman says:

    Hi Tee! My 10 year old son planted some watermelon seeds in a pot. It is actually growing!! What should I do about it? Where to transplant? Is watermelon annual or perenial? Help…!

    • Hi Josi – You probably should transplant the seedlings in an area that gets at least 8 hours of sunlight per day. It needs to be a pretty large area – watermelon vines can spread out 8 – 10 feet. Make sure to water it well each day in hot weather. They are annuals.

      Good luck! I hope you grow some nice melons!

    • TAMMY MICHAEL says:

      HI ! I DONT KNOW THAT WATERMELLON IS A PERENIAL BUT I HAVE QUITE A GARDEN OF THEM. I HAVE 5 GROWING BEAUTIFULLY, REALLY NO MATENTIENCE AT ALL. REMEMBER THEY ARE VINEY, SO THEY HAVE TAKEN OVER 1/4 OF MY LAWN FROM THE GROWING AREA.

      I USED COMPOST I MADE OUT OF GRASS CLIPPINGS, PEAT MOSS AND YES DOG POOP. A KEY INGREDIANT. WE ARE SO SADDENEND AS MY BEAUTIFUL GERMAN SHEPHERD PASSED AWAY ON AUGUST 18TH 2012. IT WAS UNEXPECTED. SHE WAS MY COMPOST MAKER. TRUST ME SOME PEOPLE USE MANURE, DOGGIE DUNG IS THE BEST., TIS ALL WHAT YOU FEED THEM. AND SHE GOT THE BEST FOOD., HENCE THE GREAT GARDEN.

      I HAVE MANY VEGGIES. MY WATERMELON WILL HARVEST SOON. I CANT WAIT FOR THAT FIRST JUICY BITE! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A LOT OF BUMBLE BEES TO FERTILIZE THE YELLOW FLOWERS. THATS WHAT MAKES THE WATER MELLONS. HOPE EVERYTHING TURNSA OUT GREAT AND YOU CAN EMAIL ME, TAKE CARE TAMMY MICHAEL……

  6. Katherine Fanelli says:

    We live on a farm with ready access to compost and manure. I went a bit overboard with them when beginning our garden this year. Much of the garden is doing really well but our big bushy eggplants and pepper plants are giving us next to nothing in flowers and veggies. Yes, I know…too much nitrogen! But how do I balance it out at this stage? Is it even possible?

    • Hi Katherine – You must have had a high amount of fresh manure. If adding compost (without any manures added) you can usually add as much as you want, or have available. Manures , especially fresh, can contain high levels of nitrogen and ammonia. That’s why I recommend composting most manures at least 6 months before adding them to garden soil.

      The thing about nitrogen is it doesn’t stick around long. It dissipates pretty quickly due to rain and other factors. By next season the nitrogen levels should be low enough for planting eggplant and other vegetables. Leafy greens like cabbage, kale, collards, or lettuce will benefit from a little extra nitrogen. If the nitrogen is still a bit high there then you could plant some cole crops.

      I would suggest getting a soil test kit (from Lowe’s or Home Depot) and test the N-P-K and pH of your soil to get an idea of exactly what your soil has.

      If you have too much of a particular nutrient then the best thing to do is add and mix in compost (without any added manures). Adding copious amount of compost is the only way to balance your soil.

      • TAMMY MICHAEL says:

        LADIES, THE ANSWER TO YOUR MANURE QUESTION IS NOT MANURE , ITS GOD OLD DOG POOP. YES DOG POOP! I MIX PEAT PEAT MOSS, LEAVES, GRASS CLIPPINGS DOG POOP AND LET IT SIT ALL WINTER SOMEWHERE, DONT COVER IT, IT WILL PRODUCE A LOT OF WORMS. WORMS AREATE THE SOIL, YOU WANT A LOT OF WORMS IN YOUR GARDEN.

        I PROMIS YOU , YOU DO THIS TO YOU FLOWERS AND VEGGIES, YOU WILL HAVE A GREAT HARVEST! ………..TAMMY MICHAEL

  7. Cassandra Warren says:

    Do you know why my some of my eggplants have turn a yellow color?And some of them have a funny shape to them.Hope you can help me.This is my first time growing eggplants.

  8. Floridagardner says:

    Thanks for the tips on when to pick.
    I started my first eggplant from seed August 1, transplanted two 3″ plants on Sept 10 to Earthbox with a light composted soil plus 2 cups dolomite and 2 cups 7-7-7 fertilizer. Since then all I’ve done is water and take pictures!
    They seem very easy to grow: no pests, no staking, no diseases until Nov 1 when I picked about 50 black and orange weevils off each plant!
    The two plants are now 2 feet tall. One has 24 eggplants! Our night temps are in the low 60′s now so I don’t know if the other blossoms will set, but if 24 mature, that’s enough to make parmigian for the whole neighborhood!

  9. I am a first time eggplant grower. I am in Orlando. I planted in October. The plant is now 3 ft tall loaded with purple flowers. It has been cool at night. Will the flowers turn to fruit?

  10. mohamed Aboukoura says:

    Hi
    I live in Gold Coast< Australia
    where the weather is quit worm even in winter and it does get a bit cooler at night.
    I started growing Eggplant about 18 month ago and sense then i'm getting a lot of purple Flowers but only 1 fruits. The plant is about 2 meters long. After about few days the flowers die and drop off.
    Please help me as i'm thinking of pulling it out.
    Thank you.
    Mo

  11. I am starting eggplant froms eed and would like to know when to plant it in a raised bed or huge clay pot—two of the seeds have sprouted–any suggestions? All help is gratefully received. ANd welcome.

  12. I’m growing my first-ever eggplants and so far they look really good, BUT the first flower (I’m guessing the vegetable will grow out of the flower) has fallen on the ground. Any thoughts about why?

  13. lvgarden says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I am having trouble with my eggplant, plant. It has plenty of bloosoms, and then the dry and fall off. I have it in a shade place so it does not get direct sun here in Las Vegas. The plant itself is about 3 feet high and is very healthy. I would have quite a crop if the blossoms wouldn’t fall off.
    Thanks.

    • Goodcarma2 says:

      I’m having the same issue in northern California (Danville) where it gets quite hot. Lots of blossoms, but no fruit. Same thing happened last year. Adjacent tomatoes are fruiting, and did the same last year. What can we do to encourage fruit?

      • John Schwartz says:

        Same here in Seattle, lots of flowers, but they just dried out and fall off, but my cucumbers and tomato are doing fine. Not bee here, so I have to pollinate the cucumber by myself, you can tell from the flowers, no cucumber one are male, hope this help, but I don’t know anything about eggplant whether they need to be pollinated or how, anyone can help?

    • TAMMY MICHAEL says:

      YOU NEED PLEANTY OF SUN AND BUMBLE BEES AND GOOD COMPOST MADE UP DOG POOP AND PEAT MOSS, DO THIS YOUR PLANT WILL PRODUCE!…………GOOD LUCK TAMY MICHAEL

  14. I have planted eggplant in a patio container. The plant has 18 eggplants forming. Is this too many and should I clip some off. How many? It is still blooming and forming fruit.

  15. Sandi Santucci says:

    My plant is full of flowers then they turn brown and fall off. Need a suggestion. My plant is in sun from around 11am to 3pm. Someone told me it needs a lot of water so beside watering by sprinkler every other day I also hand water on the off days. It is very healthy and beautiful big flowers but no eggplants!!!!!!!!! Help! Thanks…….

  16. I have nice, tall, leafy eggplant plants with no apparent pest damage. Here in central New York it has been hot and dry so watering the garden has been necessary. My problem is no blossoms at all on any of my eggplants. Do you have a clue why?
    Thanks,
    Jay

Speak Your Mind

*

Gardener's Supply Company
AgHub Network