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Growing eggplant in home gardens

Quick facts

  • Eggplant needs warm weather and will not thrive during a cool season.
  • When buying plants, choose sturdy plants up to a foot tall.
  • Start eggplant seeds about eight weeks before planting them outside.
  • Transplant outdoors after nighttime low temperatures are above 50°F.
  • Install plant supports at the time of planting.
  • Use mulch to heat the soil and reduce root damage.
  • Harvest eggplants when they have reached mature size; clip them off with sharp shears. 

Eggplant is a short season vegetable

Purple and white Fairy Tale eggplants growing on plant

Eggplant (Solanum melongena) is a relative of peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and tobacco.

Eggplant needs warm conditions, and will not thrive during a cool season. There are varieties available that thrive in Minnesota’s short summer season.

Soil pH and fertility

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Selecting plants

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Planting

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How to keep your eggplants healthy and productive

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Managing pests, diseases, and disorders

Many things can affect eggplant leaves, flowers and fruit. Changes in physical appearance and plant health can be caused by the environment, plant diseases, insects and wildlife. In order to address what you’re seeing, it is important to make a correct diagnosis.

You can find additional help identifying common pest problems by using the online diagnostic tools or by sending a sample to the UMN Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic. You can use Ask a Master Gardener to share pictures and get advice.

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Authors: Marissa Schuh, Extension educator, and Cindy Tong, Extension horticulturalist

Reviewed in 2022

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