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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 = Sow seed

  • 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 75°F and 90°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 24 - 30 inches apart
  • Harvest in 12-15 weeks. Cut fruit with scissors or sharp knife.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Beans, capsicum, lettuce, amaranth, thyme
  • Avoid growing close to: 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

02 Jun 18, Caroline (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I have never grown eggplant before but successfully grew 6 plants this year outside in Invercargill. They produced well and have just started to die off now that we are getting frosts every night. I have harvested all the fruit but was wondering if it is worth leaving them in the ground for next year or just pulling them out and starting again next year.
04 Jun 18, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Your eggplants will probably die off completely during the winter, so it would be best to start again with new ones in Spring.
19 Apr 18, Tracey (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi All I have Lebanese eggplants which are coming to an end. This is the first time I have grown them and they have fruited extremely well. Do you pull the plant out when they have finished or will they fruit again net year? Thanks
22 Apr 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I believe they will grow again but I wouldn't bother - just grow new plants next year. My old plants are so straggly and fall over so much I just pull them out. Fresh new strong plants next year.
20 Apr 18, Carol (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi Tracey. This is from the info here on eggplants.. "Perennial in tropical climates otherwise grown as an annual" So, if you're in a temperate climate, I'd pull them out. When I was in Fiji a few years ago, eggplants were used as hedges in one of the villages we stayed in!
09 Mar 18, Heidi (Australia - temperate climate)
I have two Asian eggplant bushes which look like they are coming to an end in terms of producing fruit. Is there any chance I could prune these back and see if they regrow next spring? Also, what to do about the nasty grubs that get in and make tunnels, along with lots of black stuff. Sometimes you don't even know they are there till you cut the eggplant open.
11 Mar 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
A mate of mine has pruned back his egg plant the last 3 years - but I don't think they produce very well. Then he again he isn't a keen gardener.
02 Feb 18, Frances Pegrem (Australia - temperate climate)
I am not sure when to pick my eggplants. They are yellow, some are bigish and others growing. Some of the first ones to go yellow went spotty but some of the later ones are larger.
05 Feb 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It takes about 15 weeks to grow. Pick one and cut it open - if it has lots of seeds in it, it has gone too far but you can eat it. Keep doing this until you work out when to pick. Try and pick when only a few seeds. Not too big - not too small.
20 Jan 18, Diana (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live on the Tutukaka coast and have a healthy looking eggplant with lots of flowers which fall off without fruit forming. Why is this happening and what can I do? Thank you.
Showing 1 - 10 of 227 comments

What is the correct time to pick eggplant. How long can you leave them on the vine after that time.

- Dave Christie

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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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