How to grow eggplant from seed [Easy steps]

Eggplants have a lovely texture and a unique taste. Without them, so many cuisines would lose a major element. These plants are also easy to plant and care for. This blog aims at providing a step-to-step guide on how to grow eggplant from seed. Along with this, it will also touch upon details pertaining to other eggplant variants.

How to grow eggplant from seed

Eggplants as we know it is easy to maintain. These plants need a lot of sunlight, water, and good-quality soil. Most gardeners across the US care for eggplant in two ways.

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They either grow them from seed or acquire them as saplings and then transfer them to either a pot or in the ground. This section goes through how to grow eggplant from seed. Here are the steps to follow

Step-1: When and where to plant eggplant

Planting eggplants from seeds is a little tricky. These plants are fussy about the amount of heat they receive when germinating. You can plant them outside once the temperature increases.

But if you wait for the temperature to be sore you might be able to germinate the seeds faster but this will reduce the chances of yielding fruit.

In order to maximize the chances of your plant yielding fruit, you will need to sow them earlier.

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As mentioned above eggplants are weather or heat-sensitive hence you will need to germinate them indoors. They can then be transferred outdoors after a few weeks.

Step-2: Prepare the germinating tray 

Before sowing the seeds, it is important to prep the sowing tray. There are two trays you can work with. One that has separators – something like an egg tray and a deep dish – like an oven tray. Either way, you will need to prep it before sowing the seeds.

Prepping the tray is simple, no matter if it is DIY or store-bought clean it thoroughly. After cleaning, layer the tray with potting mix. A 2-inch layer should work just fine. You do not need fertilizers in this pot but a mix that retains a little moisture but does not get soggy.

You can alter this step when planting in the ground directly. If you live in a locality that is warm and humid all year through you can just plant eggplants outdoors without giving it much thought. In order to prep the soil dig in a few holes to put in your seeds.

Step-3: Sowing the seeds

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Ideally, you do not need to have a fixed distance between these seeds while sowing as you will eventually transplant the saplings to another pot or the ground. This being said how you sow the seeds depends completely on the gardener.

Some people like to space out the seeds so that they look nicer while in the sapling stage. In a separated tray you will invariably have saplings separated.

Once the tray is prepared scatter the seeds as per your liking. You then need to cover them with a layer of soil. A 1-inch layer will work just fine as these seeds do not like to be sown very deep. 

When sowing in the soil directly either scatter the seeds directly or use holes punched in the soil as mentioned in the previous step. After the seeds are in cover them with a little soil and you are good to go.

Step-4: Watering

After the seeds are in the soil regardless of the method used or the location. You will need to give it a good watering. this way the seeds will set and the soil will retain moisture.

After watering you would ideally cove the soil so that the moisture stays locked in. plastic is the best material to use as it seals off outside air and generates a lot of heat. Simply cover the germination tray with plastic wrap and you are good to go. While watering all you need to do is uncover the tray, water it, and then cover it back up.

This step needs to be done only until the seeds germinate. After you see tiny shoots you can leave the tray open.

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Step-5: Heating

Heat is the most important factor when it comes to germinating eggplant.  Bottom heat helps the seeds germinate.

The simplest way to do this is to set the germination tray over a warm surface like the fridge or close to the heating system. Be mindful that the place is warm and not scalding hot.

Another way to ensure that the seeds receive heat is by investing in a heating pad. You can use the heating pads below the container, set it to the desired temperature and let it work its magic.

Discontinue heating after you see the first leaves. If you continue to provide heating after the leaves start to form the saplings will turn leggy.

Most eggplant variants take up to 75 to 80 days to grow. When you choose variants look for one that suits your region.

This way you will be able to grow and care for eggplant better.

Step-6: Adding Fertilizers and compost

While the plants grow, before transplanting, you will need to prepare the soil. This can be done a few days to weeks prior to the actual shift.

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Add well-aged manure or compost to the soil and let it sit. You can also add an all-purpose fertilizer that will prep the soil for the plants.

Eggplants grow well in soil with a PH in the range of 5.5 and 6.0.

Step-7 Transplanting

After the saplings are big enough, they can be moved outdoors. The transplanting process is a little tricky as these plants take time to adjust. They cannot be moved outdoors before the daytime temperature reaches into the 60s and 70s while the night temperatures remain above 50 degrees F.

Before the actual transplanting process, you will need to harden the plants. this is done by gradually exposing them to the sun. start with a maximum of 2 hours and work your way up to 8 to 10 hours.

During the hardening process keep the plants away from the afternoon sunlight. This will protect the plants from burns.

After the plants have hardened enough you can place them outdoors. be sure to place them in a spot where they receive a minimum of 6 to 8 hours of full sunlight per day. If the plant is in the shade it will start to get leggy.

These plants will not yield fruit as well. to avoid this place the plants in full sun and water them well. Once you have germinated, grown, and transplanted the eggplants they will need a little maintenance. You will be able to enjoy the fruit in a few weeks after the plant starts flowering.

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Let’s address the common misconception when it comes to the eggplant that it grows on vines.

How long does it take for the eggplant to grow?

When it comes to growing eggplants the time it takes will generally depend on the growth conditions and the variant. In general, they will take anywhere from 100 to 120 -150 days from sowing and germinating. This is drastically reduced when you transplant a sapling. Saplings will take anywhere from 60 to 80 days to yield fruit.

This makes it important to start the germination process early if you decide to plant them from seed. All you need to do is start the process indoors while the temperatures outside are still low and then harden the plant while the temperatures rise.

This way you will be able to make full use of the warmth outside. You can also get into two yielding cycles. While doing so water and feed the plants well. this will give them enough nourishment to yield fruit.

If you are looking for specifics about how long for eggplants to grow, we have put together a list. This is fairly accurate provided the growing conditions are right.

Bell-shaped eggplants: As these fruits are bigger, they take longer to mature. While planting these make sure that the plat is staked. This will ensure that the plant can bear the weight of the fruits without snapping.

The trick to these is starting early. You can surely squeeze in two yielding cycles for these. Feed the plants well and water them regularly. These plants need full sunlight.

  • Black Beauty – 73-80 days
  • Black Bell – 65 – 70 days
  • Blacknite – 61 – 65 days
  • Imperial Black Beauty – 80 – 95 days

Long, cylindrical eggplant: These eggplant variants are longer and not as heavy as the bell-shaped variants. Nonetheless, if you have about 2 to 5 fruits per plant, they tend to get heavy. We suggest taking these plants as well.  The time these take to yield fruit is also lesser than the previous variant.

  • Agora – 58 – 68 days
  • Dusky – 61 – 70 days
  • Ichiban – 50 – 60 days
  • Millionaire – 55 – 60 days
  • Osaka Honnoga – 60 – 65 days
  • Slim Jim – 60 – 65 days
  • Tycoon 54 – 58 days
  • Vernal 70 – 75 days
  • Violetta di Firenze 60 – 65 days
  • Vittoria 50 – 61 days

Small eggplants: These are tiny variants that grow in about 2 months. This makes the chances of getting a second and even a third yield possible. Feed these plants well to speed up the process. These plants rarely require staking as the fruits are not as heavy as the other ones. You could stake them though just to be sure. 

  • Bambino 40 – 45 days)
  • Mini Fingers 60 – 68 days

Non-purple eggplants: these are what we like to call the non-eggplant eggplants. Thes variants add a lovely mix to the garden and take longer to grow. Non the less they are a good addition to your garden as well as the kitchen. Feed these plants well and let them take their time. Stake these plans.

  • Alba 60 – 70 days
  • Casper 70 – 75 days
  • Easter Egg 50 – 60 days
  • Italian Pink 75 – 80 days
  • Listada de Gandia 75 – 80 days
  • Louisiana Long Green 90 – 100 days
  • Osterei 75 – 80 days
  • Rosa Bianca 75 – 80 days
  • Turkish Italian Orange 85 – 90 days
  • White Beauty 70 – 80 days

Also, read, How often do eggplants need to be watered?

FAQs on growing eggplant from seed

How long does it take to grow eggplant from seed?

It takes around 100 days to grow eggplant from seed. Eggplants are a warm-season crop, so they should be planted after the last frost in your area. They prefer full sun and fertile, well-drained soil. You can either plant the seeds directly in the garden or start them indoors a few weeks before transplanting. Be sure to keep the plants well-watered during hot weather.

Is eggplant easy to grow from seed?

Eggplant is actually quite easy to grow from seed. All you need is a pot, some well-drained soil, and some patience. Here are the basic steps:
Chili seeds long soak for germination Fill a pot with lukewarm water and soak your chili seeds in it for 24 hours. This will help them germinate faster.
Drain the seeds and plant them in the soil Once the soaking period is over, drain the water and plant the seeds in well-drained soil. Make sure to plant them about 1/2 inch deep.
Water regularly keeps the soil moist by watering it regularly but be careful not to overwater. Keep the soil moist but not soggy, and fertilize every few weeks with diluted all-purpose fertilizer.

Do you soak eggplant seeds before planting?

Yes, it’s definitely a good idea to soak your eggplant seeds before planting them. First of all, it helps to soften the hard outer shell of the seed, making it easier for the plant to emerge. Secondly, soaking also speeds up germination by bringing the seedlings closer to the ideal moisture content for growth. For best results, soak your eggplant seeds in water for about 24 hours before planting.

Can you plant eggplant seeds directly in the ground?

Yes, you can plant eggplant seeds directly in the ground. Eggplant is a warm-weather crop, so it’s best to wait until the soil has warmed up before planting. Sow seeds about 1/2 inch deep and 10-12 inches apart in rows. When seedlings emerge, thin them to taking the strongest plants that are about 18 inches apart. Eggplant requires full sun and well-drained soil. Keep plants evenly moist by watering deeply and regularly throughout the growing season

Can you germinate eggplant seeds in paper towel?

Yes, you can germinate eggplant seeds in a paper towel. Here’s how:
Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours.
Place the seeds on a moistened paper towel and fold it over to enclose the seeds completely.
Place the paper towel in a warm place (around 70 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal) until the seeds sprout, which should take about 5 days.
Once the seeds sprout, carefully transplant them into pots or your garden.

Does eggplant grow on a vine?

Eggplants are plants with heavy fruits. These plants require a lot of sunlight and water to grow. When provided with perfect growth conditions they tend to grow tall and bushy.
Once they start to bear fruit more often than not the heavy fruits cause the stem of the plant to stretch and touch the ground. This creates the illusion of a vine. So technically the eggplant is not a vine but appears so when it bears fruit.

Read When to harvest eggplant?

In conclusion

We can say that Eggplants are beautiful and a great food choice, these, when added to our diet, come packed with a number of benefits.

With weather conditions constantly changing it is important to be prepared. This article spoke at length about how to grow eggplant from seed?

Hence it is not only important to know and perfect how to grow eggplant from seed but also important to know what to do when there are unexpected weather changes. It is also important to understand how to look after these plants by watering and feeding them well.

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