Growing Eggplant:
How to Grow Eggplant Organically

Growing eggplant is a great way to add variety and nutrition to your diet, especially in warmer climates. Those in colder climates will most likely need to grow them in containers. Eggplants need full sun and fertile, well-drained soil in order to flourish.

Eggplant is part of the nightshade family, which means it's a relative to the potato and tomato, though its flavor and uses are quite different. Eggplant has been a staple in the Mediterranean diet for many years, but has recently become quite popular in other parts of the world.

In addition to being a delicious and nutritious vegetable that can be prepared in many ways, eggplant is also a very ornamental plant. For gardeners that lack space, eggplant is easily grown in a container, as well.

Growing Eggplant: Plant Snapshot (Solanum Melongena)

Growing Eggplant
  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Annual or Perennial? Annual - Ready to harvest 60 to 80 days after planting
  • Recommended varieties: Louisiana Long, Comprido Verde Claro, Udmalbet, Japanese Pickling
  • Cold tolerance: Warm Season – Will not survive frost and their seeds will not germinate in cold soil. Plant them at about the average date of the last 32 degree F (0 degree C) temperature in spring
  • Required Sun: Full sun (at least 6 hours each day)
  • When planning vegetable crop rotation, group with crops from this family: Plants that do not belong to the Nightshade family. Do not rotate with potatoes or tomatoes.
  • Companion plants (see Companion Planting Charts for more info):
    • Companions: Beans, Marigold, Pepper, Potato, Spinach, Tarragon, Thyme
    • Avoid: Fennel
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Growing Eggplant: Planting the Seed

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Eggplant is extremely sensitive to cold. For best results, start them indoors six to nine weeks before the last frost if you wish to grow them from seed. You can also choose seedlings from the garden center if you don’t want to start them from seed.

Soak seeds overnight before starting, and give them heat from below, such as from a heat mat, to encourage germination. If you have a heat lamp, now’s the time to use it.

Snapshot: Planting Eggplant

  • Planting depth: about ¼ inches deep for seed (6 mm)
  • Spacing in rows: about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 61 cm)
  • Germination soil temperature: 80 to 90 degrees F (26.6 to 32.2 degrees C)
  • Days to germination: 7 to 14 days
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Growing Eggplant: From Germination to Pre-Harvest

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When you transplant your seedlings to the garden or container, or when your eggplants sown from seed become at least 3 inches tall, they should be mulched. It's also a good idea to interplant an early crop – such as lettuce - between the eggplants.

When you see blooms, apply liquid organic garden fertilizer for vegetables. It should be reapplied monthly until harvest and plants should receive about 1 to 1 ½ inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) of water each week.

Snapshot: Growing Eggplant

  • Preferred soil pH (see soil pH tester for more information): 5.5 to 7.0
  • Growing soil temperature: 70+ degrees F; 85+ is ideal (21+ degrees C; 29+ C is ideal)
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Growing Eggplant: Harvesting Time

Eggplant should be harvested when fruits are 6 to 8 inches long and the skin has a high gloss. Use a sharp knife to cut the fruits from the plant.

When the fruits become dull or brown, they are too mature for use. Three weeks before the first expected frost, start pinching back any blooms that appear. Since the fruits from those blooms would not have time to mature anyway, it's better for the plant to expend its energy on maturing existing fruits.

Snapshot: Harvesting Eggplant

  • Time to harvest: 60 to 80 days, depending upon variety
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Storing Eggplant and Freezing Eggplant

Eggplant can be stored in the warmest part of the refrigerator for about a week. Unfortunately, they do not store well long term.

Snapshot: Storing Eggplant & Freezing Eggplant

  • Snapshot: Storing Eggplant & Freezing Eggplant
  • Storage temperature: 40- 50 degrees F (4.4 to 10 degrees C)
  • Humidity: 80 to 90% relative humidity
  • Storage life (above conditions): 7 days
  • Storage life (frozen): about 3 months, if cooked first
  • Seed longevity: About 4 years
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Growing Eggplant: Pests & Diseases

The following pests and diseases have been known to affect the success of growing Eggplant. For more information about preventing and controlling them, see Organic Garden Pest Control.


  • Aphids
  • Armyworm
  • Corn Earworms
  • Cucumber Beetles
  • Cutworms
  • Earwigs
  • Flea Beetles
  • Hornworms
  • Lygus Bugs
  • Nematodes
  • Omnivorous Leafroller
  • Snails/slugs
  • Spider Mites
  • Spittle Bugs
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies


  • Mosaic Viruses
  • Phytophthora root and crown rot
  • Powdery Mildew
  • Verticulum Wilt
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YOUR Experience & Advice About Growing Eggplant

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