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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 75°F and 90°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 24 - 30 inches 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
    A seedling
  • Eggplant
    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

20 Jan 18, Diana (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live on the Tutukaka coast and have a healthy looking eggplant with lots of flowers which fall off without fruit forming. Why is this happening and what can I do? Thank you.
03 Feb 18, Daisy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi Diana, I have never grown eggplant but perhaps the plant that you have is a male one? I don't really know whether this is even possible. Also, it could be that you need to pollinate the flowers by hand? I hope this helps! xx D
05 Feb 18, Kristin (USA - Zone 11a climate)
Why someone would suggest maybe yours is a male plant and saying "hope this helps" is hilarious. Eggplants do not need separate male and female plants. A quick google search can tell you that. Several reasons your flowers are dropping - lack of pollination or the plant is under stress being - 1) too cold or hot 2)lack of water or nutrients. Try hand pollinating your flowers and lookup the temperature your variety of eggplant will set fruit. I looked up the temperature for Tutukaka coast and the temperature seems too cold for eggplant. I could be wrong. But you will need find out what variety you have first.
20 Jan 18, Alison (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have eggplants in a tunnel house. The plants look amazing and are flowering like crazy and look to be pollinating but then drop off before fruit develops. They are getting plenty of water and tomatoes in the same greenhouse are fruiting happily. What am I dong wrong?
14 Jan 18, Paula Mouat (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am growing eggplant for the first time in a glasshouse. My plant is growing very well with lots of fruit. The fruit are large and pale. How long should I wait before harvesting?
02 Jan 18, (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, is it worth trying to grow aubergines in Dunedin?
04 Feb 18, Heather (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I have grown the smaller variety in a glass house with plenty of TLC. They don't survive outside as the temperature fluctuates too much and we can get cold spells during the growing season.
15 Nov 17, Ian Gall (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I, m growing my egg plant in a tunnel house, the leaves are turning black? What to do?
21 Nov 17, rachel (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
it's most likely a fungus, you need to spray with something like organic copper
20 Nov 17, Michael (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have the opposite - all the lower leaves are turning yellow! But at least I have a couple of dark fruit growing fast.
Showing 1 - 10 of 22 comments

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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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