Intro: Eggplant, which is perhaps most famous for the prominent role it plays in eggplant parmesan, is not only an easy vegetable to grow, but it is also a beautiful addition to a container garden. The most common eggplant variety is the long purple fruit, but eggplant also comes in globes, teardrops or half-moon shapes, and can be greem, pink, yellow, white and even several colors in one. An eggplant from your container plant garden, if picked and eaten at its peak freshness, will be the most delicious eggplant you’ve ever tasted!
Scientific Name: Solanum melongena var. esculentum ‘Black Beauty’ (called the common eggplant) is the most commonly used eggplant variety for cooking, although many other varieties are available.
Light: Full sun
Zone: Grow the eggplant during warm months when temperatures are above 60 to 65 degrees each day, no matter what zone you live in.
Fertilizer: Eggplant is a heavy feeder, so when first planting in a plant container, give it a good dose of fertilizer, and add lime to the soil because eggplant needs a lot of calcium. Then add fertilizer about once a month while the plant is actively growing.
Pests and Diseases: Diseases that afflict tomatoes, peppers and tomatoes, which are related to the eggplant, can be a problem. Keep these container plants as separate as possible in the garden and do not use potting soil that has previously been used for a related plant (use the potting soil for other plants for at least four years, otherwise previous insect pests and diseases can transfer to your new plants). Cutworms, flea beetles, potato beetles, aphids, spider mites and more insect pestscan affect your eggplant. Fungus can also be a problem, so do not splash up water from the ground onto the leaves, which can spread fungus and other diseases.
Propagation: Propagate eggplant from seeds. Sow the seeds indoors about two months before the last frost. Depending on the temperature, eggplant seeds will germinate in 5 to 13 days (the warmer the temperatures, the faster the seeds will germinate). Once daily temperatures reach 60 degrees, transplant the seedlings outside in the balcony garden. Pollinate your eggplant flowers by hand because the flowers do not usually attract bees and other pollinators. Harvest your eggplant fruit once it is big enough to use. When it is past its prime, the eggplant fruit will no longer be glossy, and it will become brown and hard.
Misc. Info: There are dwarf eggplant varieties that are even more suitable for a small container garden. While all eggplants do well in plant containers, they look rather large. Varieties such as ‘Baby Bell’ and ‘Bambino’ have only 1-inch purple fruits that mature quickly (after 45 days).
Although the eggplant fruit is delicious, all other parts of this plant are poisonous.
The eggplant “fruit” is technically a berry and is bitter if not cooked.