The eggplant is a member of the tomato family and is a tropical perennial vegetable plant that is indigenous to South and East Asia (namely China and India). The plant prefers warm temperatures and lots of direct sunlight, and it has certain requirements for the soil in its natural habitat in order to flourish and produce a lot of fruit.
These bushes are of moderate size. However, there are now a significantly greater number of dwarf and compact varieties available for gardeners with restricted space.
It is feasible to cultivate this vegetable in a container, much like one may do with other relatives from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes and peppers.
The Best Miniature Eggplant Varieties for Growing in Containers
The following types of eggplant are some of our favorites for growing in containers:
Hansel: This is a dwarf variety that produces fruit that is around four inches long and deep purple color when it is mature. This particular cultivar requires very little attention when grown in containers, and it maintains a more compact form even as it generates a substantial amount of fruit.
Gretel: This plant is quite similar to the Hansel type in size and volume of fruit, but it produces stunning solid-white eggplants that you have to see to believe.
Fairy Tale: This plant has a tendency to be even smaller than the Hansel and Gretel variety, even though it produces the fruit of a similar size. However, what truly differentiates this variety from others is the quirky purple and white striped eggplants that it produces.
When Is the Best Time to Plant Eggplant in Containers?
It is recommended to start seeds indoors eight to nine weeks before the final spring frost date forecasted for your region. Alternately, you might move the plants from the nursery into the garden once there is no longer any possibility of frost in the springtime.
Finding the Right Container
You will need a pot that is 12 to 14 inches deep and wide if you are growing a compact type, but you will need a pot that is 20 inches deep if you are not raising a compact type.
One compact plant can be grown in a container that is 12 to 14 inches in diameter, while one plant of regular size can be grown in a container that is 20 inches in diameter. You also have the option of growing two compact varieties in a single pot that is 20 inches in diameter if you want a very huge harvest.
Make sure the container you purchase includes drainage holes to prevent the soil from becoming too wet, which could lead to the development of root infections.
You should invest in a container that is strong and won’t simply topple over because the plant is likely to get somewhat heavy due to the presence of all those tasty fruits that are hanging off of it.
Terracotta or a wooden whiskey barrel planter with good drainage will allow for adequate drainage. Both work well for this purpose. Even a solid and weighty plastic planter can do the trick.
Also, keep in mind that if you decide to plant a regular-sized cultivar that can grow up to three feet tall (or possibly even taller if it is allowed to grow as a perennial), you will need a tomato cage to support both the plant and its fruit. This is especially important if you choose to plant a regular-sized cultivar that will grow up to three feet tall.
Eggplants Can Be Grown From Their Seeds.
You should either directly sow two seeds into each container, or plant up to two seeds in each cell of a seedling tray. Keep in mind that the germination process for eggplants requires a great deal more temperature than that of tomatoes and peppers.
Because of this, if you believe that the temperature outside is not warm enough for eggplant seeds to germinate (the temperature needs to be above 68 degrees Fahrenheit or 20 degrees Celsius), you can bring the seeds inside to stimulate their growth.
This is one of the advantages of gardening in containers. They can be transplanted into the containers of your choice once they have shown signs of sprouting and have up to four leaves.
You can begin growing eggplant in containers by either planting the seeds or purchasing plant seedlings. In general, they do best in zones 5-12 and can grow as a perennial in zones 10-12 if they are grown in those zones.
On the other hand, growing eggplant in colder climates is not impossible, and this article will provide you with a number of helpful hints on how to accomplish that goal.
To begin, you need to be sure to use a potting mix of high quality. Because eggplants are such heavy feeders, the containers would benefit from having some compost or aged manure added to them.
Eggplants will require more support as they grow, so planting them in tomato cages is a good idea.
If you don’t want to use a cage, you can support the growing fruit by inserting a sturdy rod or stake into the ground next to the plant and tying it to it. If you don’t do this, top-heavy fruits can damage the stems of your plant and kill it.
If you have never grown eggplant before, it is recommended that you start with plants rather than seeds in order to get the best results. Your neighborhood garden center ought to have a decent notion of which types are all-purpose as well as which varieties will thrive best in your climate.
The Sun And Space Requirements
Eggplants demand a substantial amount of space in order to flourish. Plant them in a location where other plants won’t be able to shade them out and be sure to leave at least 18 inches of space between them and the other plants.
Early on, stake them and put them in cages. When staking my plants, I like to make use of these teeny-tiny reusable zip ties because they are kind to the stems and I can recycle them over and over again.
When it comes to companion planting, eggplant does best when it is planted with other nightshades, such as peppers or tomatoes. However, it is important to ensure that these plants will not be cast into the shade by taller plants.
Place a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plants to assist in retaining moisture in the soil. If you want a healthy eggplant that produces a lot of fruit, your best chance is to give it its own location where it can bask in the sun and get enough nutrients.
Be sure to provide adequate moisture without allowing the ground to become saturated. In order to avoid the development of root rot, ensure that the bottom of the container has an adequate amount of drainage. The best strategy is to water it on a regular basis.
Because the dirt in a container might dry out more quickly than the soil in a typical garden or raised bed, you may find that you need to water your plants twice each day if you live in an area where the summers become particularly hot.
Temperatures greater than 50 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for eggplant growth. It is not necessary for you to worry too much about it if you live in a warmer climate or if you have the ability to bring your container inside on days when the temperature is lower.
Be aware that eggplants cannot be successfully grown entirely indoors because they require the presence of bees in order to obtain the necessary nutrients to produce fruit.
Eggplants are heavy feeders, and throughout the growing season, they will thrive if you apply fertilizer once every two weeks. When growing organically, you should make use of composted manure or blood meal.
Unfortunately, because of a steady decline in the number of bees in the world, you may find it necessary to pollinate the blossoms of your eggplant plants by hand.
To accomplish this, take a delicate brush and lightly stroke the stamen in a circular motion.
The following is a guide for manually pollinating tomato plants. Eggplants can be prepared using the same technique.
If you have an old toothbrush that runs on batteries, you may manually pollinate flowers by lightly touching the bristles of the toothbrush to the blossoms in order to spread their pollen. This method is simple and quick to use. Because of the vibrations, the release of pollen onto the stamen will be stimulated.
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Harvesting Of Eggplants
The most enjoyable activity is harvesting the fruit of your eggplant plant that was cultivated in a container. When grown outside, eggplant is often ready for harvest around the middle to later part of the summer, but this timing varies depending on the variety.
It’s ideal to pick it when it’s still young, so keep an eye out for eggplant fruits that are just starting to get ripe. When compared to seeds, transplants take 65 to 80 days to mature, while seeds take 100 to 120 days.
Choose eggplants that have smooth skin and ones that yield when gently pressed. Use a knife to remove the eggplant’s stem, but make sure to leave about an inch of the fruit intact. Although it is possible to eat eggplant, it is most commonly prepared in the form of eggplant parmesan, which is either baked or cooked.
Keep eggplant whole, untouched by cutting or washing, for approximately one week in a plastic bag that has been securely sealed and placed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Because it can be prepared in a variety of ways and tastes good, eggplant is a popular vegetable. The cultivation of eggplant, also known as aubergine, in a container makes it possible for virtually anyone to produce this deliciously fresh vegetable.
Eggplants can be grown quickly in small spaces, square foot gardens, or even inside if the proper temperature of the soil, water, sunlight, and pest control measures are taken.