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Growing Eggplant, also Aubergine

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
  S S   P              

(Best months for growing Eggplant in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays. P = Plant in the garden.

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 24°C and 32°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 60 - 75 cm apart
  • Harvest in 12-15 weeks. Cut fruit with scissors or sharp knife.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): Beans, capsicum, lettuce, amaranth, thyme
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Potatoes
  • A seedling
    A seedling
  • Eggplant
    Eggplant

A large bushy plant with attractive purple flowers. Different varieties have different colours and sizes of fruit, ranging from the 'classic' large purple to the Thai small white varieties and Brazilian red.

Has spiky stems. Wear gloves to harvest fruit as the spikes on the calyx are sharp enough to break one's skin.

In cold climates grow in heated greenhouse and reduce artificial heat during summer.

Perennial in tropical climates otherwise grown as an annual.

Needs a long season. Start under cover and plant out when frosts have finished.

Some varieties with slim, long fruit such as Asian Bride produce their fruit earlier. Mulch well and keep well watered. May need staking

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Eggplant

Cut and use the same day if possible.
Slice, no need to peel, and fry in olive oil.
Brush with oil and grill or bake.
Or microwave,plain, for about 4 minutes on high.
Makes a good substitute for pasta in lasagne or moussaka.
Can be smoked over a gas ring or barbecue, cooled and peeled and used to make dips.

Your comments and tips

25 Mar 17, Doug (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Growing Aubergines from seedlings. Strong plants, plenty of flowers. These after a while die back and fall off.NO Fruit. Well fertilised bed, full sun,kept moist. What's wrong ?
27 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Aubergine need a good supply of water to set fruit. They will self-pollinate as well as insects but if the water supply is not good the first thing to miss out will be the flowers and fruit. This is natures way of keeping the plant alive in anticipation of water to complete its cycle.
12 Mar 17, Jill (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My eggplants are purple but very hard. Now starting to go green and a bit striped. I picked this one and cooked - it was a little bitter. Am I leaving it too late or picking too early. Thanks jill
13 Mar 17, KS (Australia - temperate climate)
Hey Jill, did you slice and salt and rest your eggplant before cooking? this can help flavour, minimise any bitterness. Cut to thickness desired, salt and let sit in a colander for 1-2hrs, then rinse and dry (i use an old tea towel). Then cook for your recipe or just oil on a hot pan a bit more salt to bring out the flavour then cook 'til golden. hope this helps.
13 Mar 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
When eggplants are ripe they have creamy white flesh. If the flesh is greenish give them a bit more time. They will reward you well if they also have a good, even water supply. Trust this helps.
25 Feb 17, Van (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, for the first time I sowed eggplant saplings this Jan and now am getting the vege. Am so happy abt it. The tip I can suggest is water every day, put them in a good compost and in well sun positioned. If possible try feed them with vege protein liquid, I did just for once. Happy growing- all the best
03 Feb 17, Judy Stephens (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My husband has a number of plants grown from seed planted in a sloping area shadowed by mature natives but gets around 4-5 hrs shady sun. No flowers yet but around 40cm high and been in the ground a at least 6 weeks...any hope?
05 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Lack of sunlight and maybe competition for water may be the problem. The other thing is that egg plants are often later to fruit than their cousins - tomatoes and capsicum. Trust this helps.
28 Jan 17, Meredith (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I am growing 'classic' eggplant. The fruit are growing bigger, but look ripe. How big should I let them get before picking? Is there any sign that they are ripe?
05 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
If they are the purple variety and are fully coloured you could harvest them. Try one and if the flesh is cream they are ripe. Trust this helps.
Showing 1 - 10 of 186 comments

I planted seedlings (varieties) early December and started harvesting very healthy good size fruit late January. I am still harvesting almost every three weeks.It just grows and grows and gives lots of fruit. I give it good watering and lot of compost from time to time. I have left a fruit on each plant for seeds which will be handy come July.

- Chandra Akhil

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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