Besides saving time and money to buy fresh produce from the market, having them just within reach will also allow quick access to the fresh organic source—and growing vegetable plant in a pot is the answer.
Some might think that it’s impossible to grow vegetable like eggplant in a pot, but it’s actually doable. Native to South and East Asia like China and India, eggplant is a perennial tropical vegetable belonging to the tomato family.
Eggplant needs heat and full sun to fruit heavily, other than evenly moist soil in its native environment.
Seeds or seedlings?
If you’re not familiar with growing plants or have not grown much, buying a few seedlings from a nearby nursery is advisable. But germinating the plant from seeds is actually just as easy.
- Spring – best time as all the dangers of frost has passed.
- Summer and fall – possible if you’re ready to move pots to control the temperature.
- Winter – growing during this season is possible if you live in a hot and warm frost-free climate.
Eggplant is more sensitive to low temperatures than tomatoes and peppers.
Growing from seed
- Directly sow two seeds in a container.
- Eggplant requires a lot of warmth for germination—temperature above 68°F is good enough for the seeds to germinate.
- You can also place them indoors to kick start growth.
- Once the seeds sprouted and had up to 4 leaves, they can be transplanted into the containers of your choice.
Choosing a pot
Keep this one thing in mind—the larger the variety you’re growing, the larger the pot. Eggplant is relatively large, so a large pot with at least 12 inches deep or the one enough for the capacity of five gallons is recommended.
Choose a pot that retains heat if you’re growing in a cooler region.
Requirements to grow eggplants in a container
- Position – place the pot in a spot with good air circulation and direct sunlight.
- Soil – a neutral or slightly acidic soil in pH with sufficient moisture, preferably loamy soilless potting mix. Adding a lot of compost or aged manure to soil will enhance its capacity to retain water.
- Watering – provide adequate moisture as eggplant love evenly moist soil, but not soggy. Make sure the drainage is good to avoid roots from rotting.
- Fertilizer – use the 5-10-5 fertilizer or other in a similar ratio as eggplant needs fertilizer high in phosphorus. You can also apply the balanced fertilizer or spray liquid plant food (foliar feeding) on the leaves.
- Temperature – Once the seeds are germinated and transplanted into pots, try to keep the temperature above 50-54°F. But there’s no need to worry about the temperature if you’re growing in a warm climate.
You only need two to three months before it produces fruits.
- Pruning and removing suckers – look out for the suckers when the plants are mature and remove them. Yellowing or diseased leaves or branches growing tall and lanky hindering growth and productivity should be removed too.
- Staking – thrust a stick in the pot and tie the plants to the stake to support them as the fruit are plump and heavy.
- Pests and diseases – Black flea beetles feed on the leaves but they won’t do any harm. Cutworm cuts plant at its base so you need to eliminate using cutworm collar or easily discard them by yourself.
Tie the plant to the stake to support heavy fruit.
Eggplant usually matures after two to three months after planting, about 60 to 80 days depending on climate and the variety you’re growing.
The fruit will grow up glossy when fully mature.
Credit: Balcony Garden Web