How To Grow Eggplant

Eggplants of Many Kinds

Eggplant

Please see individual varieties for specific product information, but in general the growing information will be the same for all eggplant. The majority of the information on this page was provided by the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service Eggplant Home Gardening Series; download the complete pdf file with FAQ’s for more information or click here to visit the website.

Average Days To Maturity: 65-85 days

Distance Between Rows: 40”

Spacing Between Plants: 24”

When To Plant: Eggplant should be planted after all danger of frost has passed when the weather is warm. The earliest Charley recommends that you plant your cantaloupes is late April or early May about at the same time you plant your peppers.

Planting Tip: Eggplant do well in hot weather but do not thrive in humid areas. Cover eggplants in cool weather to protect them.

Average Yield: 20 pounds per 10 foot row.

Preparation and Care: Eggplants need well-drained, fertile soil with ample moisture. Use a 10-20-10 starter fertilizer incorporated into the soil prior to transplanting.

Eggplants do best when started from transplants when the weather has warmed to at lease 70 degrees F and need warm to hot weather all season for good production. Eggplant Caprese

Watering: Water your garden (cantaloupes and everything else) once a week with a 8-12 hour soaking. This will allow the soil to absorb an adequate amount of water and also limit the time you spend each week watering.  If you use a sprinkler to water, do this during the day so that the plants will have some time in the evening to dry out before dark. This will limit the chances of disease. If you use a soaker hose, you can water at night. Watering with a soaker hose at night is best as it limits the amount of water lost to evaporation and keeps the plants dry which limits the chances of disease. During dry periods you may need to water more often (every 4-5 days), and watering at night is important in water conservation during droughts.

Fertilize: Eggplants are heavy feeders. Side-dress the rows with the Charley Method of one handful of 10-20-10 fertilizer per 2-3 feet of row after the first harvest and repeat every 3-4 weeks after that.

Harvesting: Pick eggplant when immature, about 2/3 maximum size. Fruit should be large, shiny and uniform in color. Press the side lightly with your thumbnail and if an indentation remains, the eggplant is ripe. Louisiana Green and Japanese (long slender eggplant types) can be ready to harvest when they are about 3-5” long.

Mature eggplants left on the plants should be picked and discarded to keep the plants producing eggplants. If the eggplants have a dull color and brown seeds, it is over ripe and should be discarded.

Culture Problems

Eggplants are very sensitive to frost, and do not grow well in cold, wet soils. Cold weather will stop plant growth and reduce yields.

Good gardening practices such as crop rotation, drip irrigation, proper planting time, floating row covers and removal of entire plants when harvest is done all help prevent many pests and diseases.

More on Eggplant Culture, Growing, Pest and Diseases

Common Insect Problems

  • Flea Beetles
  • Melon Aphid
  • Lace Bugs
    • This lace bug feeds on eggplant primarily but is also occasionally found on other members of the Solanaceae family – tomato, potato, etc.  It is dark brown around the head and has lacey, well-veined wings.  Adults feed on leaf undersides. There are numerous over-lapping generations each summer.
    • Control: Monitor plants closely for sign of this insect if leaves become stippled. Apply ultra-fine horticultural oil or insecticidal soap to control damaging populations of this occasional pest. Be sure to direct the spray to the upper and lower leaf surfaces
  • Colorado Potato Beetles
  • Mites

Common Disease Problems

  • Verticillium Wilt
  • Yellows – Tobacco mosaic virus appears as yellow, mottled, deformed leaves. There is no cure.  Remove and  destroy infected plants.