How to Grow Aubergine

Growing aubergines, also known as eggplants, can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience for any gardener. These versatile vegetables not only add a touch of beauty to your garden with their vibrant purple color, but they also offer a delicious addition to your culinary creations.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, this comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to successfully grow aubergines in your own backyard. From choosing the right varieties to nurturing the plants throughout the growing season, let’s dive into the world of aubergine cultivation.

Understanding Aubergines

Introduction to Aubergines:

Aubergines, or eggplants, belong to the Solanaceae family and are native to the Indian subcontinent. They are warm-season vegetables that thrive in hot climates. These versatile plants produce fruits in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, including the traditional purple egg-shaped varieties and the slender, elongated ones. Aubergines are low in calories and are a good source of fiber and essential vitamins.

Varieties of Aubergines:

There are numerous varieties of aubergines to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Some popular varieties include ‘Black Beauty,’ which is a classic, deep purple variety, ‘Gretel,’ a white-skinned, mini eggplant, and ‘Listada de Gandia,’ which features purple and white stripes. When selecting a variety, consider factors such as size, flavor, and disease resistance to ensure a successful harvest.

Preparing for Aubergine Cultivation

Selecting the Planting Location:

Aubergines thrive in full sun, requiring at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. Choose a location in your garden that receives ample sunlight and is sheltered from strong winds. Ensure the area has well-drained soil to prevent waterlogging, as aubergines are susceptible to root rot.

Soil Preparation:

Preparing the soil is crucial for the healthy growth of aubergines. Start by removing any weeds or grass from the planting area. Test the soil’s pH level and aim for a slightly acidic to neutral range of 6.0 to 7.0. Incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil to improve its structure and fertility.

Sowing Seeds or Planting Seedlings:

Aubergines can be grown from seeds or transplanted seedlings. Start seeds indoors approximately eight to ten weeks before the last frost date in your area. Sow the seeds in seed trays or pots filled with seed-starting mix. Transplant the seedlings into the garden when all danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature reaches around 60°F (15.5°C).

Nurturing Aubergine Plants

Watering and Irrigation:

Aubergines require consistent moisture throughout the growing season. Water the plants deeply, providing around one inch (2.5 cm) of water per week. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot. Mulching around the plants helps conserve moisture and prevents weed growth.

Fertilizing Aubergine Plants:

Provide regular fertilization to promote healthy growth and fruit development. Before planting, incorporate a balanced organic fertilizer into the soil. Once the plants are established, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer every three to four weeks. Avoid excessive nitrogen, as it can result in lush foliage with fewer fruits.

Controlling Weeds:

Weeds compete with aubergine plants for nutrients and water. Regularly remove weeds by hand or use mulch to suppress their growth. Be careful when weeding, as aubergine roots are shallow and easily damaged.

Managing Pests and Diseases:

Aubergines are susceptible to various pests and diseases, including aphids, flea beetles, and fungal infections. Monitor your plants regularly and take appropriate action at the first sign of infestation or disease. Encourage beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, to control pests naturally. Consider using organic pest control methods and disease-resistant varieties.

Harvesting and Storage

Determining When to Harvest:

Aubergines are typically ready for harvest 60 to 80 days after transplanting. The fruits should have a glossy appearance and reach their mature size. Gently press the skin to check if it springs back, indicating ripeness. Harvesting at the right time ensures optimal flavor and texture.

Harvesting Aubergines:

Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to harvest aubergines, cutting the stem about one inch (2.5 cm) above the calyx. Avoid pulling or twisting the fruits, as it may damage the plant. Handle aubergines with care to prevent bruising.

Storing Aubergines:

Aubergines are best enjoyed fresh, but they can also be stored for a short period. Place them in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Avoid refrigerating aubergines unless necessary, as low temperatures can cause chilling injury. Use stored aubergines within a week for the best quality.

Cooking and Enjoying Aubergines

A. Preparing Aubergines for Cooking: Aubergines can be cooked in various ways, including grilling, roasting, frying, or incorporating them into stews and casseroles. Before cooking, wash the aubergines, remove the stem and calyx, and peel if desired. Slice or dice them according to the recipe’s requirements.

Delicious Aubergine Recipes:

Mediterranean Roasted Aubergines:

Slice the aubergines, brush them with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and herbs. Roast in the oven until tender and golden brown.

Baba Ganoush:

Roast aubergines until the skin blisters and the flesh becomes soft. Scoop out the flesh, blend it with tahini, garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. Serve as a dip with pita bread or vegetables.

Eggplant Parmesan:

Bread and fry aubergine slices, layer them with marinara sauce and cheese, then bake until bubbly and golden. Serve with pasta or as a standalone dish.

Common Problems and Solutions

Blossom End Rot:

Blossom end rot is a common problem in aubergines where the bottom of the fruit becomes sunken and discolored. It is caused by calcium deficiency or inconsistent watering. To prevent blossom end rot, maintain consistent moisture levels in the soil and ensure adequate calcium availability by adding calcium-rich amendments or applying foliar calcium sprays.


Sunscald occurs when aubergine fruits are exposed to excessive sunlight, resulting in yellow or white patches on the skin. To protect against sunscald, provide shade to the plants during the hottest part of the day or use shade cloth. Regularly monitor the fruits and harvest them promptly to avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.

Poor Fruit Set:

Sometimes aubergine plants may experience poor fruit set, where flowers fail to develop into fruits. This can be due to inadequate pollination or unfavorable environmental conditions. To improve fruit set, encourage pollinators, such as bees, to visit your garden by planting nectar-rich flowers nearby. If necessary, hand-pollinate the flowers using a small brush or cotton swab.

Pests and Disease Management:

Apart from the common pests mentioned earlier, aubergines can also be affected by other pests like spider mites, whiteflies, and caterpillars. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pest infestation and employ appropriate pest control measures. Additionally, monitor for signs of diseases such as powdery mildew or bacterial wilt and take prompt action to prevent their spread.

Season Extension Techniques

Aubergines are warm-season vegetables, and in regions with shorter growing seasons or cooler climates, you can utilize season extension techniques to prolong the harvest. Consider using methods such as row covers, greenhouses, or high tunnels to provide a warmer environment for your aubergine plants. These techniques can help extend the growing season and ensure a more abundant harvest.

Saving Seeds

If you want to save seeds from your aubergine plants for future plantings, select healthy and fully ripe fruits for seed saving. Scoop out the seeds from the mature fruits and rinse them thoroughly to remove any pulp. Allow the seeds to dry completely on a paper towel or a mesh screen in a well-ventilated area. Once dry, store the seeds in a cool, dry place in labeled envelopes or airtight containers.

Crop Rotation

To maintain soil health and prevent the buildup of pests and diseases, practice crop rotation in your garden. Avoid planting aubergines or other members of the Solanaceae family (such as tomatoes, peppers, or potatoes) in the same spot for consecutive years. Rotate them with unrelated crops to break pest and disease cycles and promote overall garden health.

Resources and Further Reading

Provide a list of recommended resources, books, and websites where readers can find more information on growing aubergines. Include references to reputable gardening guides, seed catalogs, and online forums or communities where gardeners can connect and share their experiences.

Growing aubergines can be a fulfilling endeavor, providing you with a bountiful harvest of delicious and versatile vegetables. By understanding the fundamentals of aubergine cultivation, from selecting the right varieties to providing proper care, you’ll be well-equipped to nurture your plants and enjoy the fruits of your labor. So, roll up your sleeves, prepare your garden, and embark on a journey to grow your own vibrant and flavorful aubergines.

By incorporating these additional points into the guide, you will provide readers with a comprehensive and detailed resource for successfully growing aubergines in their own gardens.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *