Growing Eggplants

June 21, 2007

Eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables to grow in the garden which is strange considering that I refused to eat them as a kid. Now I love eggplants in and out of the garden.

There are about twenty plants of a dozen different varieties of heirloom eggplants growing in my garden this season.

Eggplants in the Backyard Garden

One thing that’s captivating about raising eggplants is the variety that this crop offers. They grow in a wide assortment of shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors to decorate the garden or create that favorite recipe. Despite the fact that you’ll only find a couple different varieties for sale at your local garden center, there are many intriguing eggplant varieties.

Everyone is most familiar with the large, purple, “Black Beauty” types of eggplants that you find on the shelves of your local grocer. Booorrring… there are so many unique, colorful, and delicious varieties of eggplants available to the home gardener that I hesitate to plant any of the standard types.

Eggplants can produce round fruits, fat and oblong ones, or slender and elongated fruits. The colors range from shades of purple, black, and lavender, to red, pink, rose, yellow, white, orange, green, and even multi-colored and striped eggplants. You can choose from tiny, marble sized varieties, right on up to giant zucchini sized eggplants.

Cultivating Homegrown Eggplants

Eggplant PhotoAll of my heirloom eggplants, with the exception of a couple that were purchased at the Landis Valley Herb Faire, were started indoors from seed and later transplanted out into the garden. Eggplant seedlings can be started a couple of weeks ahead of tomatoes and are transplanted into the garden a week or two after setting out tomato plants.

Other than those slight differences in timing, eggplants can be cultivated in a manner very similar to tomatoes. They will flourish under the same growing conditions, and also prefer a fertilization regimen that favors potassium and phosphorous over high levels of nitrogen, especially when the plants are flowering and fruiting.

I even use small cages to support the eggplants and help keep them upright under the load of a heavy crop of fruit and frequent summer thunderstorms. If you prefer you can tie the plants to stakes, just be sure to provide some type of support as the plants mature, grow tall, and bear fruit.

Tips for Growing Productive Eggplants

Eggplants like it hot so don’t even think about transplanting them out into the garden until after all threat of frost has passed and the soil has thoroughly warmed. A layer of plastic mulch will help provide additional warmth and conserve moisture for your fast growing plants.

Eggplants grow very well in raised beds and can be spaced twelve inches apart in each direction. Healthy plants will quickly cover and shade the bed, eliminating any opportunity for weeds to become established. I usually grow eggplants together in the same bed with peppers since they share similar growth habits.

Flea Beetles are a common and serious threat when it comes to growing a productive crop of homegrown eggplants. This insect pest is capable of quickly causing frustration and disappointment for eggplant growers all over. The next post will discuss eggplants and flea beetles and look at a few organic gardening techniques for dealing with this persistent pest.

Other Related Vegetable Gardening Posts:

  • I don’t think that there is any prettier vegetable than an eggplant, but I have yet to find a way to eat them that thrills me. How do you serve yours?

  • Eggplant is good cooked a variety of ways. One of my favorite things to do with the typical large eggplant is to peel and cut up into big chunky pieces. I then add other things that always seem to compliment the eggplant, like summer or zuchini squash, some smashed garlic, an onion or two and occasionally a pepper or chopped tomatoes and a little kosher salt and pepper. When cooked together this creates a great flavor and can be served alone or over rice or pasta. During winter I add tomato sauce to this and just let it cook together for a long period of time.
    My family also enjoys when I slice, bread and fry eggplant and serve with a light sourcream.

  • Elizabeth

    My father once prepared eggplant on the grill, and I loved it (I’m not crazy about eggplant).

    He halved the eggplant lengthwise and cross-scored the surface of each half. After salting the halves, he propped them scored side down to drain for about a half an hour.

    The halves were placed face down on a hot grill just long enough for the cross-hatching to open up a little and for the face of the halves to get that grilled look. He then placed each half bottom side down over the cooler area of the grill and basted each half with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). The basting was repeated periodically until the flesh in each half was fork tender (I don’t recall the length of time). It was fantastic!

  • Great site. A native way of cooking eggplant is by (1)grilling it, (2)peel burnt skin, (3) cooked it in coconut milk (with onions and salt and msg.) (4) serve.

    Just blog hopping to promote my site: PinoyNegosyoTechs. Thank you!

  • Samuel Athsar Jacob

    Very impressive site for veggie cultivation.

  • Venus Leung

    We would like to import a few eggplant trees (white & Small eggplant). Can you send it to HK & quote the price for us?


  • Geoff Thompson

    This is absolutely the yummiest eggplant dish I have ever found. It’s also really easy. Our family prepares it once a week at least. From one of Australia’s top chefs, Kylie Kwong. Trust me, it’s delicious:

    This makes a wonderful vegetarian dish. The acidity of the tomatoes adds an element of sharpness to offset the luscious eggplant, and the extra virgin olive oil, while unusual in Chinese cooking, works perfectly with these Mediterranean ingredients. The eggplant and dressing can be prepared in advance, but don’t dress the eggplant until ready to serve or it will go soggy.

    convert Ingredients
    For the Sichuan pepper and salt
    1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
    3 tablespoons sea salt

    For the eggplant
    2 medium-sized eggplants (aubergines)
    1 tablespoon sea salt

    For the tomato dressing
    4 small tomatoes, diced
    1 tablespoon fish sauce
    1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
    1/4 cup finely chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves
    2 tablespoons malt vinegar
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    1 tablespoon lemon juice

    Vegetable oil for deep-frying
    2 tablespoons finely sliced spring onions (scallions)
    2 tablespoons Pinch of Sichuan pepper and sea salt

    Simple Chinese Cooking
    Buy the Book
    Make the Sichuan pepper and salt mixture
    1. Dry-roast peppercorns and salt in a heavy-bottom pan. When the peppercorns begin to “pop” and become aromatic, take off the heat. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.

    Make the eggplant
    1. Trim eggplants and slice into 3/4-inch rounds, Place slices on a tray in one even layer, sprinkle with salt on both sides and stand for 45 minutes. Pat dry with kitchen paper to remove any bitter juices.

    2. Make the tomato dressing by combining all ingredients (from tomatoes to lemon juice) in a bowl and set aside.

    3. Heat oil in a hot wok until surface seems to shimmer slightly. Add eggplant and deep-fry for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and drain well on kitchen paper.

    4. Arrange fried eggplant on a platter and top with Tomato Dressing, Sprinkle with spring onions and Sichuan salt and pepper and serve immediately.

    You can use bought Sichuan pepper if you want (and it’s still good without it) and serve it with rice .. really once you’ve made the dressing all you have to do if fry the eggplant .. easy

  • Kenny Point

    Geoff, thanks a lot for the recipe, I’ll have to give it a try. I love growing eggplants and am always looking for new ways to prepare them.

  • Karen

    My eggplants are growing well. They look very healthy-dark green leaves, no evidence of pests. They get lots of beautiful blooms. Then they fall off! It is mid-July and so far no eggplant. My tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are all doing very well. Everything is planted in large containers on my deck. Can anyone offer any suggestions???

  • Scott

    Karen, I was only getting flowers myself. I took a tiny brush and started polenating the eggplants flowers by hand every morning. I now have several eggplant fruits.

  • I have beautiful eggplants about 2 1/2 feet high with flowers but no fruit and it’s sept in Rochester, NY.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Bill, when did you transplant your eggplants out into the garden, it’s getting late and you’re running out of time to mature any fruits on the plants. There isn’t much you can do to speed them up at this stage, so try to get them in earlier next season even if you have to use covers to protect them from frost and plastic mulch to warm the soil up quicker.

  • Julien

    Hmmm… don’t peel the skin off that’s where all the vitamins are.. I pick them small so the skin is soft and I chop them up in my scrambled eggs, rice dish, or spaghetti… Like beets you never boil them you shred them like cheeses they cook very fast and you’ll keep more of the vitamins… I add beets to my rice dish…

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  • willem

    Your night temperatures are to low, cover your plants with plastic.

  • Noel

    I am in FL. My eggplant has been in the ground for 6 weeks. It blooms prodigiously but the flowers fall off and no eggplants are developing. Can anything be done to promote production other than ‘polinating with a tiny brush 2 times’ as suggested by a respondent in August?

  • Gab

    I cook eggplant in this way..

    1. grill or fry it. then on a hot pan with oil. put the eggplant then followed by scrambled egg. sometimes with ground pork or beef.

    adding the ground pork/beef. saute it first with garlic and onion..after saute. mix with scrambled egg in a bowl.

    put the grilled eggplant in you pan. (slice the eggplant in the middle after being grilled to make it flat in your pan)

    then put the mixed ground pork/beef with egg.

    done! enjoy it!

  • I just transplanted my eggplant seedlings yesterday and noticed this white milky color seems to be developing across all the leaves…any idea what’s going on? Am I in trouble?

  • Kenny Point

    Jen, I am not sure what is going on with your eggplant seedlings but I would keep them watered, give them some shade, and mix a little liquid kelp in with the water. It may just be the stress from being transplanted.

  • Joe

    Growing eggplant from hanging pot in full early morning sunshine 6/8 hours. Rest of day in shade but daytime temps are now over 100. Any tips for growing in the desert/Phoenix?

  • Kenny Point

    Joe, I would experiment with different planting times to determine the best seasons/dates to grow eggplants in your climate. Keep them watered to prevent the containers from drying out too much and the shade during the hottest parts of the day will probably help keep them growing under desert like conditions. Good luck and let us know your success growing those potted eggplants in Arizona.

  • I’m pretty sure now the whiteness was caused by sun burn! I’m fairly new to plants getting sunburn so I didn’t know what I was looking at, but they seem to be marching along. Thanks for the kelp recommendation! I’m going to try that next time I fertilize them.

  • I started my eggplant in a clay pot, transfered it to a raised planter a few weeks after it sprouted, and the plant seems to be growing well though no fruit yet. I’ve noticed that I have four stems that have sprouted, which I would assume is from four seeds (?) and I’ve read that I should thin out the plants. How necessary is thinning? Being a novice gardner, I’m concerned with mucking things up and disturbing a good thing. Any advice?

  • Kenny Point

    John, if you are sure there are four separate eggplants I would definitely suggest thinning to prevent the plants form crowding and competing with each other. The safest thing to do would be to just snip off the weakest plants to leave only one standing. The other option is to try and remove the spare plants to transfer into separate containers, but if you are not very careful you do run the risk of disturbing the eggplant that you intend on leaving in the original container.

  • John

    Kenny, thanks for the advice. All four plants look strong and healthy, but I think that I’ll go ahead and snip away. Again, I appreciate you getting back with me and I’ll keep you posted as to the outcome!

  • Kenny . . . it’s been a week since I thinned out the eggplant and I’m a little blown away by how much bigger the lone plant has become in such a short amount of time. She’s gonna’ be a beaut!

  • Stephanie

    Neighbor planted eggplant in her garden but they were not doing very well. I think this is because they were in a very shady part of her yard. We transplanted the eggplant to my garden which gets an average of 8 hours of sun a day. I have watered and watered and talked to them. This has been a few weeks since I put them in the ground. She planted them Im guessing middle of may or so. But they are only about a foot tall if that, and I might be bragging to say that. They have no flowers on them but seem to be healthy. My question is is there a time frame for them to flower and when is that.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Stephanie, the flowering and fruiting dates can vary a lot depending on the variety of eggplants and how they are grown. This is a vegetable that starts out pretty slowly and takes a while to really come into production. The weather also has an impact as they love warm growing conditions. Eggplants will benefit from occasional side dressing with compost or an organic fertilizer. My plants were transplanted out into the garden about five or six weeks ago and now have lots of blossoms and are bearing fruits.

  • Yash

    I have been trying to grow eggplant (black beauty) I get lots of leaves but after a while all my leaves get eaten by something but I turn them over and can’t find a thing. Any idea what’s going on? it’s getting late in the game and I haven’t gotten a single flower or fruit…. :-S

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Yash, flea beetles are the most common pest attacking the eggplants in many gardens. They chew small round holes in the leaves and are small black insects that you would have to look close to see. The flea beetles haven’t caused much of a problem this year but I have also noticed a cream colored bug that is soft bodied with black accents that has been eating the eggplant leaves. They are crawlers, usually found in small groups on the same leaf, and I have been hand picking them and tossing them out of the garden. It is getting late but you still have time if you can get the fruits to set soon. Good luck.

  • Jon

    Hello. I have the same problem as Yash and have also just recently spotted those crawlers. I have some good fruits coming in. Am I in any trouble with these bugs and how do I get rid of them? Thank you.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Jon, I would just hand pick the creepy crawlers off of your eggplants and dispose of them if the infestation is not too extensive.

  • My one large absolutely gorgeous eggplant … a supposedly large ‘black beauty’ type, came out with breathtaking med. large bright yellow fruits. Would love to hear other stories about this type … maybe an hybrid that reverted to an old heirloom? Will cook some … not sure if overly bitter, and see how they taste. Sure was surprised.

  • Catherine

    Hi, great website, I’m from Australia, so our growing times / conditions are obviously different. Although this summer has been a fantastic growing year, our main problem is white fly (Trialeurodes vaporariorum) which eat all the leaves and damage the fruit. I don’t use any pesticides and I’ve found that if i put a sticky cover (I use strips of double sided tape) on the brightest yellow plastic I can find + hang it right above the plants on a stake attracts all the whiteflys + then they get stuck!

    This may work for all your bugs perhaps. If you search for yellow sticky traps on the internet, they really work on the whiteflys and aphids. I can get them in my local nursery, and have seen them on a uk website also, my only concern is if they trap good bugs also?

  • Karin

    I have a question about growing eggplant in the “topsy turvy” type planter. I am not sure how big an eggplant plant will be, does it vine out or grow more similar to tomatoes, or squash. I would love to try these in an upside down planter, any suggestions?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Karin, I’m not sure how well eggplants will grow in the Topsy Turvy planters. The eggplants will grow bushy more like a pepper plant and less like a vining squash or tomato. The plants and fruits can both grow large and get pretty heavy as well. Eggplants will grow fine in regular containers however.

  • Lorraine

    I live in Florida and have had my Black Beauty eggplants in for about 6 weeks. They seem to be thriving, no flowers yet. My question is, do eggplants get “suckers” like the tomato plants do? Most of my large leaves have a few “extras” at the stem and I would like to know if these need to be removed. Thanks for the wonderful information.

  • Kenny Point

    Lorraine, eggplants do not produce suckers like tomatoes and there is no need for pruning any of the leaves.

  • I am wondering if its ok to start by seed at this time and do you think that it is too late to start my eggplant seeds this season?

  • I’m not have successful for this plant!

  • Lorraine

    Hi, this is Lorraine in Florida again. My eggplants have grown to about 3 feet tall and I had many blossoms, but no fruit. I came back to the website and re-read that they may need a bit of help pollinating. I must say, after I helped my eggplants “do it” I now have several “babies” (fruits) and a bunch of new blossoms. Thank you for the great information on this web site. P.S. to minervino, the eggplants love the heat. Are you in a hot area?

  • Amanda


    I noticed slugs were eating my plants last week so I constructed a slug killing beer trap. You can find directions online….they work like a charm.

    Also, fried eggplant is delicious. Batter it and fry it up…!

  • Wilfred

    Hi Amanda
    To keep slugs away from your plants place some slices of cucamber on some aluminiun baking foil and leave it there to rest. Its smell is a repellant to slugs. But not to humans.

  • Emily

    I have three eggplants in my raised bed- two are long skinny varieties and the other is a bigger, white variety (according to the labels). They’re all starting to get little grape-sized fruits. One plant has at least 10 little eggplants forming. I was wondering what I could do to support them when they get bigger. I completely underestimated how big they’d get, so the supports I put around them in the beginning are way too low to the ground to do any good.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Emily, I use small two or three foot cages on many of my eggplants and they do very well but have to be placed when the plants are still young. At this stage your best bet may be to use wooden stakes or metal posts that the eggplants can be loosely attached to in order to provide support.

  • Pamela

    Hello Everyone…I am in Forida and my eggplants were beautiful and plentiful, and then a week or so ago I noticed some scarring on some of the fruit and that some of the fruit seems stunted. Any ideas? This is my first time growing eggplant but I LOVE them when I pick them at about palm size.

  • alt

    hey there. our eggplants – i don’t recollect the actual variety we planted from seed, though i know they’re the long kind – are now about a foot or so tall, but we don’t see any flowers yet… we planted them from seed more than 2months ago and then transplanted them to the backyard while they were around 5in high. when exactly do we see flowers and when exactly can we expect eggplants?


  • Kenny Point

    Hello Alt, it sounds like you should start to see flowers very soon and the fruits themselves grow rather quickly so the eggplants should begin reaching harvestable sizes within a couple weeks after the flowers open.

  • katieinNJ

    hi alt –

    i am having the same problem – they’re getting plenty of sunlight and water, and the plants look very healthy – but we haven’t gotten a flower yet. i live in new jersey, but it’s been pretty hot this summer, so i’m not sure what the deal is. i bought them as little plants, and they’ve been in an outdoor pot for about 6 weeks now.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Katie, have you been fertilizing your eggplants? Growing them in containers they can probably use regular feedings more so than a crop planted out in the garden. My transplants were set out shortly after Mother’s Day and this has been a very productive season and the plants are very healthy. I wouldn’t think your weather conditions have been much different than here in PA.

  • Ebru

    I planted 2 eggplants with three pepper plants. I had a record amount of pepper production and NO eggplant. I had very healthy looking tall plant with lots of flowers (no fruits, not even one) and by the August (about 2 months of frustration) I chopped them off. I live in Houston so sunshine and heat can not be the problem… I had great tomato, pepper, radishes, onion, herbs 9you name it) harvest in my raised beds but Eggplants! Any suggestion for this upcoming season?
    For a simple eggplant salad (greek-Turkish recipe);
    2-3 eggplants
    1-2 tomatoes
    1 medium green pepper (or grilled red pepper)
    2 cloves of garlic
    1/2 bunch of parsley
    olive oil
    salt and pepper

    Grill the whole eggplants (preferably on the outdoor grill), poke them halfway thru cooking so they wont pop! When you can see the blackened skin pretty much separated from the flesh, move them out from the grill and peel them with tip of of the knife.
    Chop everything (eggplants, tomatoes, peppers, parsley) and mix them all together. Add crushed garlic, olive oil , salt-pepper and vinegar. I promise you will enjoy it very much!

  • Kenny Point

    Ebru, thanks a lot for the eggplant recipe, it sounds good and I may have to give it a try next summer.

  • pattydunn

    how do i get rid of the sticky stuff on my eggplant leaves

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Patty, can you identify what is causing the sticky residue? Look for tiny aphids, if they are the culprits an insecticidal soap spray or a few friendly ladybugs should take care of them. If the plants aren’t suffering I would keep an eye on the situation but not worry about it too much.

  • Lori

    Hi there,
    Can you tell me if I should be pinching off suckers from my eggplants like I do tomatoes. Or should I let them be. They are growing like gangbusters but no fruit yet.

    Thank you!

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Lori, I never pinch suckers off of my eggplants, but you may need to stake or cage them to keep the plants growing upright.

  • To respond on favorite eggplant recipes, I like them roasted. Try the recipe in Julie Sahni’s Classic Indian Cooking. Eggplant parmesan is also a favorite (try a layering recipe and substitute good provolone for the parmesan)… Plants are going gangbusters here in cool Northern California with the help of a warm sunroom.

  • Bill

    I have planted an eggplant for the first time. Not sure what’s happening but, I have small gold color eggplants at the bottom one that is also small but stripped light purple and white, and then some at the top of the plant which are also small and very dark purple. I’m not sure what is what, can someone explain ? Thanks for your help

  • Kenny Point

    Bill, there are lots of different varieties and colors of eggplants. Are you saying that there are different looking fruits on the same plant? Sometimes the eggplants will change colors and look differently as they mature. Can you take a photo of what you are seeing?

  • David

    Hi, I never liked eggplant until I started making eggplant bacon. Now I grow a variety of eggplants and I love them all. This is a recipe I found and I use various iterations of it to suit my tastes with what I’m serving it with.

    Making Raw “Bacon” using a dehydrator.

    Yes, you read the recipe name right – it is Raw Bacon and it actually looks like real bacon and tastes fantastic! When I make this for raw potlucks, people are always flabbergasted and ask me for the recipe.

    Makes around 30 to 40 strips – depends on how large your eggplant is. A small eggplant has fewer seeds and makes the “bacon” look more… well, more bacon like.

    1 large eggplant or a few smaller ones to eliminate the seediness.
    1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
    ¾ teaspoon paprika
    ¼ teaspoon cayenne
    2 tablespoons agave nectar (or raw honey)
    4 tablespoons Ume Plum Vinegar (or nama shoyu/acv mixture)
    Salt to taste (optional) You can use Bacon Salt for a GREAT flavor.
    Thinly slice your eggplant, lengthwise (think about how bacon strips look). I use a mandolin slicer but you can easily accomplish this with a vegetable peeler too. Alternately, you could make ‘round Canadian bacon” chips by slicing the other way.

    The remaining ingredients make up the marinade. Mix these all together to make the marinade. Marinate eggplant strips in the marinade for 2 hours.
    Place on dehydrator sheets. Salt bacon lightly with Bacon Salt (optional) and dehydrate for 9 hours. Turn bacon over and dehydrate another 9 hours. Around 110 degrees.

    TIPS: I actually dehydrate mine longer. You can judge for yourself if you want them even crisper. They will still have an “oily-ness” to them even after dehydrated. If you don’t want this, then you can put less oil in the marinade or “blot” your bacon when they come out of the dehydrator.

    if you want to see some pictures of what the process and end results look like here’s some pictures.

  • Heather

    Hi Kenny,
    My husband and I love eggplant. We would like to know what kind of soil, like the ph balance, and if we should put manure in the soil. Thanks and have a blessed day.

  • rich

    i am a first time garden grower n have planted some eggplant that i purchased from the farm store the plants seem to be doing well n have produced flowers but no fruit! the flowers are wilting n dying after blooming. i water the garden on an average of every other day (unless it rains!! any suggestions!

  • rich

    the plants where transplanted about 5 weeks ago after two weeks from transplant i feritilized them!

  • Sabina

    My eggplants are about 3 feet high, and matured. They have been flowering like crazy, but, there are no signs of any fruits. Why is this?

  • Kathe

    We have one eggplant-plant growing in a container which we purchased pre-planted. There are about 4 or 5 fruits on it but some of the larger leaves are drying up. Do I take those leaves off or just leave them on?

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Kathe, I would remove the eggplant leaves that are drying up but it’s not critical and they will eventually fall off on their own.

  • BK

    Eggplant flowers that bloom then fall of could be because of extremely high daytime tempeatures, lack of pollination, lack of water, or too much water. Tough part is figuring out which one of these is the culprit.

  • Sabina

    My egg plants have been growing since March. The trees are between 3 and 4 feet in height, very good looking, flowered, but no fruit. Why are there no fruit from any of my ten egg plant trees?

  • Lorraine

    I had the same problem with blooms & no fruit. I read an earlier post on this site and it was suggested to take a small brush and polinate the flowers manually. Helping the plants “do it’ gave me a bunch of eggplants! Just get a small paint brush, like a paint by numbers size, and brush the center of your blooms and cross polinate them by hand. It works!

  • Mike

    We make ratatouille – and it is delicious! That, and a spicy Italian stew recipe which my daughter found. Eating it plain never occurred to me. I’m a very picky eater but the two above dishes have become favorites! We cheat on the “rat” recipe and add about a dozen breakfast link sausages cooked and broken into small pieces.

  • Fariba

    Does anyone know why my eggplants are falling before they get big? They are falling when only about 2″ diameter; the round kind of eggplant!

  • Lisa

    I too am having a problem with my eggplants (Black Beauty) falling off at about 2-3 inches in size. I have two plants and one is much larger than the other and they both have several eggplants on them. The smaller of the two is the one that the fruits are falling off of. The other plant they are growing fine. Any suggestions?

  • brian

    When is it best to harvest the round dark eggplant ? What size should they be?


  • Allan Frick

    When are Egg Plant ready to harvest Purple type.

  • Kenny Point

    You can harvest eggplants pretty much any time as long as they’ve reached the size you like. Some people prefer them smaller and harvest like the miniature “baby eggplant” varieties… before they fully mature or develop seeds. The fruits hold pretty well on the plant but you don’t want to leave them too long after they mature.

  • Kathe

    We have a tabletop eggplant of the dark purple variety. It has produced 3 fruits, one dropped off at about 3-4 inches. Now the other 2, which weree deep purple, have turned a yellowish color. There are 2 new little fruits that are deep purple. What is causing the bigger ones to turn yellow/gold and is this bad? They were purple to begin with…

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Kathe, it could be that the fruits are miniature varieties that need to be harvested when they are small. Many eggplant varieties will yellow or change colors as the fully ripen or become over mature. I would just harvest and use the fruits when the reach the stage before they start turning yellowish.

  • Dana

    Kenny, I’m a first-time gardener & put out 2 black beauty eggplant. One is producing deep purple fruit. The other is producing dark brown fruit with yellow stripes – no spots or blemishes – they just sort of look like zebras. Both have several eggplant on them right now. Purple ones are tasty, but I haven’t tried the others. Was waiting to see whether/when they would turn purple. No luck! Suggestions?? I also planted squash, tomatoes, cucumbers & red bell peppers. All the other plants have done great. Now I realize the eggplant was too probably close to the squash, but it’s the one farther away that’s not the right color & my squash have finished for the season.

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Dana, it sounds like you may just have two different varieties of eggplants growing in your garden. I grow some striped varieties and they look different but are perfectly fine to eat. Pick one and cut it open to check inside… if it looks okay cook it and enjoy.

  • joe bagz

    all my flowers are blooming but not producing what is wrong

  • Margie

    I’ve planted eggplant for the first time, expecting purple fruit, however on my plant I have several white/cream colored long fruit, and I’m not sure, if they are mature enough to pick. Obviously, they are of a different type, than I thought. They are about six inches long. Do you think they are mature, or do they need to grow some more?

  • JohnW

    I planted Black Beauty seeds this year in a few five gallon containers. The plants have nice small dark purple fruits on them now with the exception of one. The exception although shaped like Black Beauty began fruiting earlier and is green. Can someone tell me what might be going on with this one? Thanks, Baxter

  • Bryan Kipp

    I have had an eggplant in a raised bed here in Texas all summer long. It produces tons of flower blooms, but never any fruit. What could be the cause of this? Plant seems healthy and seems to produces another stalk at the initial base of the plant.

    Thanks for any advice.


  • David

    I am in Houston and My eggplant survived the winter, any hope that they will produce a second summer? I’ve got a bunch of flowers but no fruit yet. I’ll try paint brush idea unless you all tell me we have no chance for second summer.

  • Kenny Point

    Congrats on over wintering your eggplant, the only way I could do that would be to bring the plant indoors for the winter. Yes, the eggplant will produce fruit during the second season!

  • How do you know when your eggplants are ready to be picked.

  • Teresa

    I am growing eggplants, but I have one that is growing as big as a cantelope. Will this eggplant be any good and why do I have one growing this large?

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  • sandra merritt

    I like mine cooked like a lasagna, topped with mozzerella cheeses. Batter and fry then layer with pasta sauce. Then bake till bubbly.

  • Marla

    Hi! This is my first year growing eggplants. I am wondering if the Black Beauty variety grows a different color them turns as it ripens? Or did I get a mislabeled plant? I have one plant that is producing white eggplants but they are supposed to be black beauty. Thanks!

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Marla, that eggplant was probably just mislabeled, Black Beauty is a very dark purplish color at all stages of its fruiting.

  • Maria Lima

    New to gardening. I have 3 eggplant plants which I grew from tiny plants purchased at Lowes in 5 gal pots. They have grown and flowered with minimal care really, and are now producing eggplants! One has 3 of them, the other 2 have 2 each right now. One plant is producing white fruit, the other 2 the usual dark purple. Problem is they start fine, but grow all misshaped..with one side having like a ‘barky’ surface. Is that normal, or am I doing something wrong? What can I do..and how long do I wait before I pick them? The largest has been growing for about 2 weeks now…but is still not very large. HELP! Also, do you know about cantaloupe as well??

  • Kenny Point

    Hi Maria, no that is not normal. I would remove any deformed fruits and watch to see if the situation improves. You can harvest eggplants at any size and I think that the quality is actually better for eating when the fruits are picked before they reach full size.

  • dawn lienhop

    I know this is an old thread but I have a question. I have some Japanese eggplant plants. They have done wonderfully. I have notices new growth of maybe 2 feet on the top with tons of flowers and little fluff balls. Never saw this before. Is the plant done producing? Any help would be appreciated!

  • Mary Morales

    I planted and eggplant plant, is growing really nice but it had one flower and is getting ugly and looks that is just about to fall, is this normal? thank you

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