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

27 Aug 20, Srini K (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, I have sown seeds in seed trays and its been 20 days, no sign of any seedlings. Understand its still cold in Auckland, Just wanted to check if the seeds will germinate once its get warm or I should considers sowing seeds again when its gets warm?
28 Aug 20, Anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
You need soil temperature of min of 15c and preferably 25-30c to germinate egg plant. The guide recommends planting seeds Sept Oct. Also if you over water the seeds they go rotten. Seeds should germinate in 12-18 days. Have a little dig around and see if they are ok or rotten. I would suggest planting mid Sept at the earliest. Or buy seedlings.
02 Sep 20, Srini K (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Thanks for your response. The guide for sub-tropical climate suggests to plant in Aug, Sep. Great news all seeds germinated in approximately 22 days :) Cant wait to plant these outside.
24 Aug 20, Kylie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, Can different varieties of eggplant be planted together? Also how long do eggplant plants last? I am located in Tamborine Mountain in QLD. TIA
25 Aug 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Should be no problem. They are self pollinating although if bees cross pollinate them you may end up with different eggplant. If you are going to plant a few I would keep the rows apart if possible. They are perennial but most people treat them as annual, reason pest and diseases.
19 Aug 20, Verna Arts (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
For the last 2 seasons I have planted Eggplant plants in raised beds in my garden north of Auckland. Both years The plants have immediately flowered and produced small fruit but neither the plant or the fruit have grown from then on What am I doing wrong? The raised beds are filled with garden mix and I use a fairly generous amount of fertilizer.
20 Aug 20, Anonymous (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
The guide here says plant Sept Oct. They are a warm weather crop. You probably need 5-600mm deep soil and the same in width. Good rich soil, deep water 2-3 times a week and give a hit of fert after your first 2-3 weeks of picking. Don't go over board on the fertiliser though.
19 Aug 20, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Eggplants need plenty of water. Perhaps yours are drying out too quickly in your raised beds.
02 Sep 20, em (Australia - temperate climate)
I found that my eggplants needed a lot of water and they really appreciated a good mulch (I mostly just mulched with grass clippings) and they grew until the end of autumn.
15 Aug 20, Preethi Balamurugan (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi i live in Melbourne im growing my eggplant seedlings indoor i have got the fungoes gnat so i have move my seedlings outsides in alfersco now my seedlings leaves are curlying Up Is it normal? Can I keep my seedlings in alfresco? Thanks in advance
Showing 1 - 10 of 293 comments

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.

- Liz

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