ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Grow Eggplant in Containers

Updated on March 24, 2014

What are you planning to grow in your container garden this year? Well, before you finalize your layout, consider squeezing an eggplant or two into the picture! Although their foliage differs, eggplant plants grow much like peppers in terms of size, space requirements and relative ease of care. These qualities alone can be enticing to the gardener, but there's much more to be had! Eggplants offer the gardener the ability to reach out and grow varieties that never show up in the supermarket! Sure, you can choose to cultivate the ever popular Purple Beauty, but the real winners of taste and tenderness come with the lesser known cultivars. In this guide on how to grow eggplants in containers, we'll touch on some of these unique varieties, as well as cover the essentials of eggplant cultivation.

_________________________________________________________________

Italian striped eggplant fruits. This tender eggplant variety produces stunning colored fruits with excellent flavor. Grown in raised beds 2012.
Italian striped eggplant fruits. This tender eggplant variety produces stunning colored fruits with excellent flavor. Grown in raised beds 2012.

Plant Identification - Eggplant

Eggplants are a unique nightshade species related to potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes. The first eggplants to be domesticated were done so in India. In tropical climates, eggplants are grown as perennials, and in temperate climates they are cultivated as tender annuals.

  • Binomial Name - Solanum melogena
  • Family - Solanaceae
  • Common Names - Aubergine, Brinjal & Eggplant

_________________________________________________________________

Basics For Growing Eggplants in Containers -

  • Container - When growing eggplants in containers, the minimum volume should be at least three gallons per plant. Note that larger planters will offer the potential for larger yields. Also, when selecting a container to grow eggplants in, consider one made of wood or fired terra cotta pottery. Unlike plastic containers, these are known to breathe and will allow for better oxygenation of the root mass. This is an essential aspect of plant vitality.
  • Fertile & Well Draining Soil - Starting with the right potting soil will keep your plants healthy and thriving throughout the season. To find your ideal mix, search for candidates that are rich in composted organics and that are also amended with soil aerators such as perlite or vermiculite. Composted organics will provide instant and slow release nutrition, while soil aerators will keep the roots from becoming waterlogged and oxygen deprived.
  • Full Sun - The minimum amount of direct sun needed to grow eggplants is six hours. While eggplants will produce decent yields with this amount of sunlight, increasing the exposure to eight-eleven hours will help greatly in boosting yields.

_________________________________________________________________

Eggplant grown 2012. Eggplants have foliage similar to a potato plant, but grow with a structure very similar to that of a pepper plant!
Eggplant grown 2012. Eggplants have foliage similar to a potato plant, but grow with a structure very similar to that of a pepper plant!

Heirloom Eggplant Varieties -

Variety
Description
Black Beauty
The standard for eggplants. These plants produce large purple fruits.
Rosa Bianca
Plants produce smaller striped fruits. Normally lavender with cream stripes, the fruits are absolutely delicious.
Little Spooky
Eggplant grown in Japan. The fruits are all white in color and are very tasty.
Long Purple
Similar to the Black Beauty eggplant, but grows much longer with a thinner girth.
Listada de Gandia
Heavy producing plants. The mild tasting fruits are popular in French cuisine.
Aubergine du Burkina Faso
Very unique eggplant variety from Africa. The fruits are a vibrant red color and resemble a large heirloom tomato. Somewhat bitter and strong flavor!

How to Grow Eggplant Plants

  1. Six to eight weeks before the average last frost in your area, begin to sow eggplant seeds indoors. Keep the seed starting containers in a dark and warm place until the seeds have sprouted. (Germination normally takes 7-10 days). When the seeds have germinated, immediately transfer to a well lit, south facing windowsill or under artificial grow lighting. The seedlings will stay here for the next eight to ten weeks, so make sure they're comfortable. Make sure the soil is consistently moist, but never soggy or over watered during this period.
  2. Around the date of the average last frost in your local area, your eggplants can begin the process of hardening off. Over the next two weeks, and of course weather permitting, allow the plants to stay outdoors with increased time intervals each day. Start with an hour at first and slowly increase the intervals until the plants are ready to permanently stay outdoors.
  3. After the eggplant plants have been hardened off, and about two weeks after the average last frost, transplanting outdoors to the final container can be completed. When transplanting, I personally like to amend my potting soil with a bit bone meal. This adds a great deal of nutrition, and mixed along with the composted organics in the potting soil, eliminates the need for fertilizing later in the season.
  4. Once the eggplants have been transplanted to their final container, there's little left to do but sit back, wait, and water. Allow the top two inches of soil to become dry before thoroughly watering to keep your eggplants happy and healthy.
  5. Oh, and if you're able to move your containers, try rotating them once a week or so. This ensures that all parts of the plant are offered exposure to sunlight.

_________________________________________________________________

Harvesting Eggplants -

Roughly 60-80 days after transplanting to their final outdoor location, your eggplants will be ready for harvesting. Some, especially if you're like me and like small eggplants, will be ready for harvest even sooner! A good way to tell when your eggplants are ripe for the picking is when the skin develops a nice glossy sheen to it. To harvest, use sanitized garden sheers to cut the fruit off. Cut the stem of the fruit off as close to the main branch as possible. Just like that, your eggplants are harvested!

_________________________________________________________________

Eggplant fruits can be harvested at any time. As long as they have a nice sheen, they're ripe for the picking! Much like zucchini, eggplants are most tender when picked early and small rather than late and large.
Eggplant fruits can be harvested at any time. As long as they have a nice sheen, they're ripe for the picking! Much like zucchini, eggplants are most tender when picked early and small rather than late and large.

Tips For Growing Eggplant -

  • Flea Beetle Control - If flea beetles are an issue in your garden, companion planting catnip at the base of each eggplant can resolve the infestation.
  • Keep Roots Warm - In cooler areas where eggplant is typically harder to grow, plant into plastic containers. Though oxygenation of the roots will not be as great, plastic containers will keep the soil much warmer for tender eggplant roots.
  • Harvest the First Fruits Early - Though you may like your eggplants large, plan to harvest the first set of fruits at a smaller stage. By doing this, you'll not only have the most tender young eggplants for eating, you'll also stimulate the plants to set even more fruit!
  • Practice Crop Rotation - Eggplants are sensitive plants can be infected by a variety of plant diseases. To reduce the risk of infection, never plant eggplants in the same place where peppers, tomatoes, potatoes or any other nightshade was grown the previous season.
  • Slow Release Nutrition - At the time of transplanting your eggplants outdoors, adding slow release nutrition in the form bone meal can aid in flower and fruit production down the road. As a general feeding, add 1/4 cup of bone meal beneath and around each plant. As the bone meal breaks down over the season, it will release essential nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus.

_________________________________________________________________

Have you ever grown eggplants?

See results

Growing eggplants is a great way to enjoy and to maximize your container garden's potential. So, why wait any longer? It's time to get out there and start growing eggplants from seed. Seriously, there couldn't be a better season than this one! Don't go another year without missing out on the delicate and fresh flavors of homegrown eggplant! Thanks for reading this guide on how to grow eggplants in containers. As always, please leave any comments or questions you may have. Good luck with your garden this season!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      I like to have my veggie sandwiches layered with eggplant. It has such a wonderful taste and texture. I only wish I could grow them in my yard.

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 4 years ago from New Jersey

      This is a cool idea. Thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)