How to grow & care for Eggplant
Eggplants are a heat-loving, productive and home garden-friendly crop to grow. They love a full sun spot and will happily grow in large pots or containers and veggie beds.
Although you’re probably most familiar with the large, deep purple-skinned eggplants from the supermarket, there is a whole range of colours, shapes and sizes to choose from when you grow from seeds or seedlings. Whichever varieties you decide to grow, the delicious eggplants can be used in many different cuisines and recipes including; dips, stir fries, roasts, curries and even barbecues.
Top 5 tips to growing eggplant
- Eggplants are frost-sensitive plants, grow them during the warmest months.
- Grow eggplants from seeds or seedlings
- Eggplants prefer a full sun spot
- Eggplant comes in a great range of colours, shapes and sizes - look for heirloom varieties.
- Harvest eggplants when their skin is glossy and plump. Dull eggplants with shrivelled skin will be tough.
- Eggplant seeds or seedlings
- Scotts Performance Naturals Organic Based Soil Improver
- Scotts Performance Naturals Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Based Fertiliser
- Garden trowel
- Pot & Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Based Potting Mix - if growing in pots
Choose a spot in your garden with full sun, that’s protected from strong winds. Eggplants prefer a well-drained soil, but they will need regular watering during the growing season.
Enrich the soil with organic matter before planting by mixing through Scotts Performance Naturals Organic Based Soil Improver and Scotts Performance Naturals Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Based Fertiliser.
Growing from seeds
Sow eggplant seeds in spring or summer - using a heat mat or keeping them on a warm windowsill indoors can aid germination if your nights are still cold. Seeds can be direct sown in your garden or pots if you live in the tropics or subtropics.
Eggplant seeds should be sown 5mm deep into punnets filled with Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Based Potting Mix. Seeds will take up to 7-14 days to germinate and once they’ve grown to 10cm tall they can be transplanted into a bigger pot or your garden.
Growing from seedlings
Plant eggplant seedlings into prepared garden soil or Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Based Potting Mix if growing in pots. Space plants 50-70cm apart depending on the variety.
Planting in the garden
Plant eggplant seeds or seedlings into prepared soil, in a spot with full sun. Space plants 50-70cm apart, depending on the variety. Eggplants need well-drained soil, but with regular irrigation throughout the fruiting season.
Eggplants can become top-heavy when laden with fruit or if you live in a particularly windy area, bamboo or timber garden stakes can be used to support them.
Mulch around plants with an open organic mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Planting in pots
Plant eggplant seedlings into a pot filled with Scotts Performance Naturals Premium Organic Based Potting Mix, which gives at least 50cm width by 50cm depth per plant.
Eggplants need well-drained soil - so make sure your pot has sufficient drainage holes and is close to a water source for easy irrigation during the fruiting season.
Position your potted eggplants in a full sun spot, protected from strong winds. You might need to use a bamboo or timber garden stake for added support if the plants become top-heavy when laden with fruit.
Eggplants should be ready to harvest approximately 70 days from planting, depending on the variety. Ready-to-pick eggplants have a firm, plum skin that is glossy. If left too long on the plant, eggplants will become dull and the skin will begin to wrinkle - at this point their flesh will be tough.
Use sharp scissors or secateurs to cut them from the main plant.
Pests & Diseases
- Slugs and Snails can cause significant damage to young eggplant seedlings. Protect eggplants by setting beer traps (saucers filled with beer) amongst them or use Defender Snail & Slug Pellets.
- If aphids, whitefly or caterpillars attack your eggplants use Defender™ Pyrethrum Insect Spray as per the labels instructions to control them.
- Queensland Fruit Fly can lay their eggs into the skin of eggplants. The eggs will hatch inside the fruit and the maggots will ruin the fruit causing it to drop off prematurely or be inedible when picked. Protect your crop using suitable Queensland Fruit Fly lures and baits plus install wildlife-safe insect-proof netting pulled taught over the plants, once you can see the fruit has started to form.