Whether you call it brinjal, aubergine, or eggplant, this plant is interesting to grow and yummy to eat, but how long do eggplant plants live?
Eggplant is one of the many vegetable plants you can grow in large containers or the garden. It would be best to have enough space and the right growing conditions for this vegetable to thrive.
The eggplant plants live and love warm weather conditions. It is best used in cooking recipes and loved for its unique taste.
The purple, pear-shaped fruit is native to Asia, where it grows as a wild perennial plant. Its edible fruit has been used for thousands of years and has a history of medicinal use.
The vegetative parts and roots from wild eggplant species have been documented as a sedative that treats skin issues like sores and rashes.
How Long Do Eggplant Plants Live?
How long to grow eggplants depends on the variety you are growing after planting your eggplants.
Harvest your eggplants from 65 to 80 days after transplanting and 100 to 120 days after starting from seed. But don’t forget all this depends on the variety.
Depending on your growing zone and the variety you are growing, July, August, September, and even October are harvest months for eggplant. Bottomline this plant is an annual that grows only once and must be planted afresh again in the next season.
Planting Eggplant From Seed
Eggplants take a relatively long time from planting to maturity. They also do not thrive in cool weather.
If you plan to grow eggplants from seed, you will need to start them indoors at least 8 to 10 weeks before your region’s average last frost date.
Seeds and seedlings require warm soil to germinate and grow quickly. The best soil temperature for germination should be between 70 and 90 degrees F.
Ensure you plant your seedlings in the warmest location in your home or use a heating mat to warm your soil.
Growing Eggplant Plants As Transplants
If you plant eggplants from transplants, ensure you do so after the danger of frost has passed and the soil is warm enough. The daytime temperatures should be at least 70 to 85 degrees F. Any light frost can severely damage the transplants, so be sure that the frost days are over.
Cool temperatures slow down growth significantly, so to overcome this, keep your transplants indoors until the weather warms up. Remember to use big containers when the plants are indoors to avoid overgrowing the small pots or planting them outdoors too soon.
If you are purchasing transplants from a garden centre, do not buy them until the final frost date has passed. Choose plants with dense and compact growth, avoiding those that already have blossomed.
Blossoms already on seedlings may slow the growth after transplanting and lead to fewer or smaller eggplants at harvest.
Common Cultivars To Select
Eggplants have different cultivars to choose from when you want to grow your own. The common varying shades of purple, white, green and yellow, green come in a multitude of shapes and sizes enjoyed worldwide. Let’s look at the most common ones.
- Millionaire Purple. This variety is long and skinny, bearing slender 8-inch fruits with light to dark purple skin. The flesh is seedless and can grow from seed to maturity in 55 days. It is one of the fastest-growing varieties.
- Black Beauty. This is the commonly known variety that has been grown for over a century. It bears 6-inch dark purple fruits making it favourable to most gardeners. It has an attractive yield of 4 to 6 fruits per plant.
- Gretel. This variety is a 2005 all American winner that produces white fruits. The fruits of this variety are 3 to 4 inches long with few seeds and no bitter taste. The fruits are sweet and tender skinned. This variety is best for container gardening as they grow only to 2 ½ feet tall and wide.
Different Cultivars And Their Maturity Time
Different eggplant cultivars show considerable variation in the time they take to reach maturity. Use this article to guide you if you want to know how long it will take you to harvest your eggplants.
The time to maturity is measured from when eggplant is transplanted into the garden until its fruits become ripe. Some manufacturers list the time it takes on the calculated from when the seeds are planted.
- Millionaire, Easter egg – They mature in 50 to 55 days
- Tango, Calliope, Dusky, and Epic – These take 60 to 64 days to mature.
- Black bell, Casper, black magic, Ichiban, Fairy tale, Nadia, Little fingers, Slim Jim, Orient Charm, and Snowy – Take 65 to 72 days to mature.
- Black beauty, Classic, Burpee Hybrid, Santana, Ghostbuster, and Rosa Bianca – These take 73 to 80 days to mature.
Growing Conditions For Eggplant Plants
Eggplants adapt well to a range of growing conditions as long as the soil is warm. Providing them with the best-growing conditions improves the plant’s growth and yields. Let’s look at these optimal conditions.
- Soil. The soil must be well-draining and relatively high in organic matter.
- Sunlight. Eggplants thrive under full sun producing a good supply of fruits.
- Water. Eggplants require at least an inch of water per week especially when they produce fruits. Once established after planting, they can tolerate dry conditions.
- Fertilizer. When planting, apply 1 ¼ pound of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 10 feet of row. Ensure you work the fertilizer into the surface of the soil before planting your eggplants.
You can side-dress your plants when the fruits are the size of a quarter. Use at least 3 ounces of calcium nitrate fertilizer per 10 feet of row.
Harvesting Your Eggplant
Having seen that the timing of your harvest depends on the particular variety of the eggplant you are growing, let’s learn about harvesting.
Eggplants fruits taste the best when harvested before they reach full maturity. When they are ready for harvest, the skin will have a glossy look, the flesh will be cream coloured, and the seeds will not be fully developed or very small.
If you harvest the eggplants when they are about half the expected mature size, it encourages them to produce more fruit. If you wait too long to harvest, the skin may become dull and tough, and there may be abundant seeds.
The eggplant plants live through one season. After harvesting the final fruits, the plant dies, and it’s time to plant new one’s next season.
Growing eggplants is worth the time and effort you put in towards good produce. Although time-consuming, it is well worth the effort, and no gardener can try it.
Have you grown these vegetables before? Could you share with us your secret to success?