United States Edition

Eggplant

Solanum melongena

Eggplant is part of the Solanum genus and its scientific name is Solanum melongena.

Eggplant is a common sight in vegetable gardens, with many different shaped and coloured cultivars available to choose from. The fruit contains numerous small, soft seeds and can be grown in containers or as ornamental plants in the garden.

This semi-tropical, cold sensitive vegetable is best grown under glass and is most often cultivated as an annual.

Eggplant is an edible vegetable / flower annual/perennial, it will last at least a year and up to several years in its native climate. Eggplant is known for its erect habit and growing to a height of approximately 1.20 metres (3.90 feet). Expect harvests to start to occur in late summer. Popular varieties of Eggplant with home gardeners are Black Beauty, Rosa Bianca, Early Long Purple, Ichiban and Listada di Gandia.

India is believed to be where Eggplant originates from.

Typically, Eggplant is normally fairly low maintenance and can thus be quite easy to grow - only a basic level of care is required throughout the year to ensure it thrives. Being aware of the basic growing conditions this plant likes (soil, sun and water) will result in a strong and vibrant plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Eggplant have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Eggplant

  • Full Sun

    +
  • Very High

Side-dress with fertiliser half way in the season and again when you harvest the first fruits from the plant to ensure steady growth.

Enjoys a full sun position in your garden and remember to water very often. Zone 4 to 14 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Eggplant requires a soil ph of 5.5 - 6.5 meaning it does best in weakly acidic soil. Keep in mind when planting that Eggplant is thought of as tender, so remember to wait until your soil is warm and the night time temperature is well above freezing before moving outside.

Growing Eggplant from seed

Eggplant is best started from transplants, but can be also be started from seed.

Try to aim for a seed spacing of at least 1.95 feet (60.0 cm) and sow at a depth of around 0.2 inches (0.5 cm). Soil temperature should be kept higher than 15°C / 59°F to ensure good germination.

By our calculations*, you should look at sowing Eggplant about 42 days before your last frost date .

Transplanting Eggplant

Transplant out only when all danger of frost has passed, as they are very cold sensitive and will stunt or die if exposed to the elements too early.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Eggplant is a tender plant.

Harvesting Eggplant

Eggplants should be harvested when 15 cm (6 inches) long and when the skin is still glossy. Harvesting fruits too late will result in bitter tasting eggplants, so keep a close eye as they develop.

How do I know the eggplant fruit is ready for harvest?
A good test to see if the eggplant is ready is to hold the fruit in your palm and gently press the fruit with your thumb – if the flesh presses in then bounces back, then it should be ready to harvest. Hard flesh indicates that the eggplant is not yet ripe and needs to be left on the plant a while longer.

To minimise damage to the plant as eggplants tend to bruise easily, use garden shears or scissors to avoid twisting the fruit from the plant. Some varieties of eggplant have small prickles on the stems, so wearing gloves when harvesting is often a wise idea.

Companion plants for Eggplant

These plants have been known to grow well alongside Eggplant so consider planting:

Beans, Peppers2
marigolds (deters nematodes)2
tarragon
mints
potatoes2
tomatoes
spinach1

  • Eggplant loves French marigold

    Deters nematodes.

  • Eggplant African Marigold

    Good attractor for pollinators, deters nemitodes.

  • Eggplant Runner bean

  • Eggplant Bean

    Bush beans are good for interplanting with Eggplant as they can deter weeds and fill under.

  • Eggplant loves Spinach

    Spinach is good for planting under the higher growing eggplant.

  • Eggplant Globe amaranth, Bukinggan(Tg)

    Good for drawing beetles and leaf miners away from eggplant.

  • Eggplant loves Radish

    trap plant for flea beatles

  • Eggplant loves Chinese cabbage

    trap plant for flea beetles

  • Eggplant loves Catmint

    deters flea beetles

  • Eggplant loves Garden nasturtium

    enhances flavor and trap crop for flea beetles

Repellent plants for Eggplant

These plants will not grow well with Eggplant so avoid planting these within close proximity:

Runner beans

  • Eggplant dislikes Tomato

    Tends to attract the same pests, so avoid planting close together.

  • Eggplant dislikes Potato

    Tends to attract the same pests, avoid planting close together.

  • Eggplant dislikes Chili pepper

    Tends to attract the same pests, avoid planting close together.

  • Eggplant dislikes Sweet pepper

    Tends to attract the same pests, avoid planting close together.

Common Eggplant problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Eggplant plants:

  • Flea beetle

    A generic term for a wide range of small leaf-eating beetles with powerful back legs that allow them to leap large distances (hence the comparison with fleas).

  • Flea beetle

    A generic term for a wide range of small leaf-eating beetles with powerful back legs that allow them to leap large distances (hence the comparison with fleas).

  • Flea beetle

    A generic term for a wide range of small leaf-eating beetles with powerful back legs that allow them to leap large distances (hence the comparison with fleas).

  • Flea beetle

    A generic term for a wide range of small leaf-eating beetles with powerful back legs that allow them to leap large distances (hence the comparison with fleas).

  • Flea beetle

    A generic term for a wide range of small leaf-eating beetles with powerful back legs that allow them to leap large distances (hence the comparison with fleas).

Eggplant Etymology

The term eggplant originated as a description of white coloured eggplants because they look like eggs.3

Eggplant Folklore & Trivia

Developed in Spain in 16th century.

During the Renaissance it was refereed to as the “Mad apple” or the “love apple”, the later it shared with the tomato.3

Other names for Eggplant

Aubergine, Crenshaw melon

Misspellings: Solanum melongana, Solanum melongea, Solanum melongeana

Latest Eggplant Reviews

See all Eggplant reviews and experiences »

Eggplant care instructions

How long does Eggplant take to grow?

These estimates for how long Eggplant takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

When should I plant Eggplant?

Our when to plant Eggplant estimates are relative to your last frost date. Enter your frost dates and we'll calculate your sowing and planting dates for you!

Footnotes

Eggplant Forums

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