Growing Eggplant, also Aubergine

Solanum sp. : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

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

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • 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 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 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

15 Jan 23, christina (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
hi... i have several plants in different vegie beds.... but they have all been attacked my a little tiny black beetle... all the leaves on every plant have been decimated and eaten how can i stop them please and any advice .....
13 Jan 23, Lori (USA - Zone 9a climate)
What varieties of eggplant grows best in 9a?
01 Jan 23, Goldy (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, first time gardener here! ;-) Bought eggplant seedlings from Bunnings and planted all of them (6) in a round pot, approx 10cm apart. I know it requires 45-50cm apart. Will they grow and produce fruit as is or do I have to set them apart further? i.e. re plant in a different pot?
05 Jan 23, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
First time gardener learn a golden rule - when they suggest 45-50cm between plants there is a very good reason. They need that amount of soil area to be able to source enough nutriets to produce a decent crop.
04 Jan 23, Liz (Australia - temperate climate)
Eggplant leaves/plants can spread a bit, so separate pots or beds would be best
08 Jul 22, Bobbi Linn (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I live in zone 8b/9a in Texas, west of San Antonio. Mine die back in winter but come back in spring. I do not remove the dead stalks when they die back, I grow them outside in a raised bed, with plenty of leaf mulch. I trim back the dead stalk after new stalks emerge. Just make sure to water occasionally during winter if it is a dry winter, especially before it drops down below 35 to 40. I begin watering more often as it warms up in spring. The new shoots rise up from the root ball. Then as late spring and summer hit I water regularly. Mine get full sun until about 4 to 5 pm, then are shaded by a nearby tree. So for me, they are like my chile pequins/petins, a perennial..
14 Nov 22, Corena Hur (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Thank you, Bobbi, this information is a great encouragement for leaving my eggplant over winter in Austin area.
23 Jun 22, Nat (Australia - tropical climate)
An eggplant has self seeded in sunny spot, next to my olive tree in Brisbane.. It's now 22/6/2022 so am wondering if I could successfully dig it up and put it elsewhere in the garden. Really healthy stocks (3 of them each about 10ml + wide). Hmmm. Any advice will be appreciated. Thank you
23 Jun 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Dig out with a shovel or spade and keep as much soil as possible around the roots. Put into a new hole, pack the soil around it and water well. Plant them about 700mm a part.
07 May 22, Mary (Australia - temperate climate)
First time I’ve planted Egg Plant. (Wicking bed) Enjoying the few fruits now. Do I pull the plant up or is it perennial? I’m guessing the cold winter will knock it. I would like to use the spot for winter veg unless it will grow through till next season.
Showing 1 - 10 of 324 comments

YES! I lived in zone 9 in Florida. You can most definitely grow them. Start your seeds indoors in early January and put them out in mid February. They will be producing by April and over it by mid June when your temps start in the 90s. I then always planted okra in June where the eggplants were. They were a nice succession planting in zone 9.

- Elisabeth

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