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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
    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

18 Apr 17, Nigel (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Is it possible to grow eggplant from cuttings?
19 Apr 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Yes it is. Take short tip cuttings in late Spring and into the Summer. If the leaves are large, reduce them with a pair of scissors. Put your cutting/s into a jar of water in a warm spot (not hot) and they will grow roots. Treat them as ordinary seedlings after planting out.
28 Apr 17, Chris (New Zealand - temperate climate)
A speedier way to propagate is to use an aquarium air pump to add extra oxygen to the water you have your cuttings in
25 Feb 17, Van (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi, for the first time I sowed eggplant saplings this Jan and now am getting the vege. Am so happy abt it. The tip I can suggest is water every day, put them in a good compost and in well sun positioned. If possible try feed them with vege protein liquid, I did just for once. Happy growing- all the best
03 Feb 17, Judy Stephens (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My husband has a number of plants grown from seed planted in a sloping area shadowed by mature natives but gets around 4-5 hrs shady sun. No flowers yet but around 40cm high and been in the ground a at least 6 weeks...any hope?
05 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Lack of sunlight and maybe competition for water may be the problem. The other thing is that egg plants are often later to fruit than their cousins - tomatoes and capsicum. Trust this helps.
06 Feb 11, John Fawkner (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Eggplant in a tunnel house set fruit but keep dropping them. suggestions?
01 Nov 10, John Podevin (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have just planted some eggplant seedlings in the garden (we live in Napier). How long will it be before they can be harvested?
02 Mar 09, Julian (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I am growing eggplant in Wellington in a plastic house. Plants seem healthy enough and keep putting out flowers but i only got one fruit from the very first flower on one of the plants. I started catching bumble bees and putting them in the plastic house to pollinate the flowers, but still no results. Any ideas???
14 Jul 08, Liz (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Jan, Eggplants should do well in your area. Remember to keep them well watered, drying out stops growth and flower production. They may need staking, depending on variety.

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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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