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Growing Eggplant, also Aubergine

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

(Best months for growing Eggplant in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

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

September: Bring on in pots - need a long growing season

  • 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

08 Aug 19, Kwaku (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi When is the best time to sow eggplant and chilli seeds in Sydney? Cheers Kwaku
08 Aug 19, Liz (Australia - temperate climate)
Use the Vegetables and Herbs tab - top of the page - click on chosen vegetable, then check that the right zone is selected - top of the page - for most of Sydney it is Sub-tropical.
08 Aug 19, Colin Scott (Australia - temperate climate)
I have two egg plants that have given fruit and still have few flowers. What should I do for the next harvest? Pull them out and start again? Cut it back? Just leave it? Many thanks.
10 Aug 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
From the notes here about egg plant.
10 Aug 19, Phil M (Australia - temperate climate)
You should be able to get a good second season crop from eggplant. Best to cut it back and pull off any flowers although a little late in the season. I've got two I cut right back at the start of winter and they are still growing well, as the temperature gets up they will take off. I've also got another going into a third season that looks healthy after a fantastic second season crop but this will be new territory so don't know what to expect third time around.
06 Aug 19, Jeanette (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi have a few egg plants growing but they are still green.What do i do to get them purple.Thanks.
07 Aug 19, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Some varieties do have greenish fruit. www.thekitchn.com/a-visual-guide-to-10-glorious-varieties-of-eggplant-232828
08 Aug 19, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Yes there are some green eggplant. I have found the last few years when the plant has cropped for awhile and the soil is maybe running out of nutrients etc the fruit becomes a bit deformed and is green and purple and doesn't look very attractive. I don't know why this happens - could be weather, trace element deficient - could be one of a hundred different reasons. If I have had a good crop then I'm happy and it's time to pull them out. My eggplant self germinates from fruit left on the ground from last year and dug in. Probably won't germinate until Oct/Nov.
07 Aug 19, (Australia - temperate climate)
Look at the top of this page and read it and take notice of what it says. You are temperate zone - plant seeds Aug to Sept - transplant from Oct to Jan. It needs soil temp of 24-32 to germinate. My soil temp(Bundaberg) is presently 18 degree - so I shouldn't be even trying to germinate eggplant for another 6 weeks - I'm sub tropical. IT IS a summer crop - NOT a winter crop. When they grown the right time of the year, the fruit will be purple right from when they start forming.
20 Jul 19, Noel (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi,I’m from Melbourne in the northern suburbs. I have about 5 eggplant plate 2 different varieties. We had a great season. Some plants are still having fruits. It’s middle of July, temps drop to about 2c in early mornings. Is it better to uproot plants and start new this season or trim back and let them re grow this season..? Trying to plan my veggie garden to start planting in September. Any advise is appreciated. Thanks.
Showing 1 - 10 of 261 comments

just a question my egg plant is still producing fruit. i live an hour north of Sydney. its the middle of June.its flowering like crazy and has about 10 on it ranging in size from tennis ball size to large grape fruit size.we are having mild sunny days and very cool nights down to 6deg is this normal or is climate change a factor in why its doing this. thanks for any reply or advice.

- joe graham

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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