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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
  • 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

30 Oct 18, Kym H (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I only planted my eggplant tree about a month ago it is less than 30cm tall and is already growing fruit should I cut off the early fruit until the tree gets established
30 Oct 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Sounds like you have poor soil - give it some fertiliser. Generally a plant goes to seed if it is under stress - lack of water fertiliser etc.
01 Nov 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
If the plants are small and weak then it is lack of fertiliser. I have strong plants about 15
04 Nov 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have strong plants about 15-18 (?)
10 Nov 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My plants are flowering from about 15-18
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.
13 Sep 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Read the notes at the bottom of the page.
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
04 Oct 18, Lucy Carson (Australia - temperate climate)
I dug mine up in Autumn, potted up and kept in greenhouse over winter (regular watering), they have already got buds on them and I'll replant back in the garden.
Showing 1 - 10 of 235 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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