How To Grow Eggplants in Pots

I am growing eggplants in containers in Sydney, Australia for the last 15 years. I will guide you how to grow eggplants in pots. Growing eggplants in containers is a great way to enjoy fresh, home-grown eggplants even if you don't have a lot of outdoor space, even you can grow eggplants in containers in your terrace or balcony.

Eggplants Growing in a Pot
Eggplants Growing in a Pot

Eggplants can be grown in pots easily, but you have to ensure proper growing conditions. By choosing the right container, soil, proper watering, fertilizer, pruning, and harvesting, you can successfully grow healthy and delicious eggplants in a containers.

Eggplants are a delicious and versatile vegetable, loved for their unique taste and versatility in cooking. Eggplants is an extensive source of vitamins and minerals , including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamine, niacin, folic acid, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, fibre, etc.

Growing Eggplants in Containers

Following is a step-by-step guide on how to grow eggplants in a container.

Choose the Right Container

When growing eggplants in containers, it is important to choose the right pot size. You should choose a container that is at least 12 inches deep and wide, like a 5 gallon bucket that has good drainage. Better you should use a larger pot about 15 - 20 inch wide and deep to provide more room for the eggplant to grow and develop its strong root system. Use dark-coloured pots because they contain heat inside needed for the growth of eggplant. 

Clay or terracotta pots are a good choice as they allow for good air circulation, which is important for healthy growth.

Make sure that the container has drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out.

However, I am growing eggplants in large size polystyrene foam fruit containers, although they are white, but I keep them in full sun.

Select the Right Soil

The soil you use to grow eggplants in a container is important. Eggplants require well-draining slightly acidic soil that is rich in nutrients. You can use a good quality potting mix or make your own soil by mixing  some compost or decomposed cow manure to the soil. If your soil is clay, they add some washed river sand to make it free-draining.

Choose the Right Variety of Eggplants

You may choose a dwarf or compact variety of eggplant that is suitable for container gardening. But I have grown all varieties of eggplants in containers in  large containers.

Planting the Eggplants in Containers

You can grow eggplants from seeds (how to grow eggplants from seeds) or buy the seedlings. Once you have chosen your container and soil, it's time to plant the eggplant. Fill the container with soil up to about 2 inches from the top and plant the eggplant seedlings. Make a hole in the centre of the soil that is deep enough to accommodate the root ball of the eggplant seedling. Carefully remove the eggplant seedling from its container and place it in the hole. Fill the hole with soil, making sure that the plant is firmly in place.

Water the plants well after planting.

Provide the Right Conditions: Where to Place the Eggplant Container

Eggplants require plenty of sunlight to grow well. They should receive at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. 

How To Water Eggplant

Eggplants require regular watering to grow and thrive. Water your eggplant deeply once or twice a week, depending on the weather. Water the soil regularly to make sure it is moist but not waterlogged.

Water stressed plant may produce the eggplants that may be hard, bitter and smaller.

Overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases, so it's important to water carefully.

Fertilizing Potted Eggplants

Eggplants are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization to produce healthy fruits. Feed a balanced fertilizer every two weeks that is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Sprinkle fertilizer granules along the rim of the pot and mix in soil and then water the plant.

Too much nitrogen fertilizer will produce foliage growth with less fruit. I feed a liquid fertilizer like Power feed every 2 weeks to my potted eggplants, and found to be the best fertilizer for eggplants in containers.

Put Stacks or Trellis

As the eggplants grow, they may need support to prevent the stems from bending and touching the soil under the weight of the bigger fruit. You can use stakes stakes to keep them upright.

Although the eggplant branches do not need to climb, but it is a good idea to tie them to stakes to keep them upright, otherwise the fruit will touch the soil and rot. You may put a stake at the time of planting so that the roots are not disturbed.

Pruning the Plant

You should pinch off the tips of the stems once they have produced four or five sets of leaves. This will encourage bushier growth and more fruit production. Remove any dead or diseased leaves as soon as you notice them. Pinch off the top of the plant when it reaches about 18 inches in height. This will encourage the plant to grow more branches and more fruit.

The eggplants plant will produce fruit for 2-3 years. If your plant has survived till the next season, you can cut each branch by half its size to stimulate the growth.

Eggplants Growing in a Container
Eggplants Growing in a Container

Eggplant Problems: Eggplant Diseases and Treatment

Many times, you may see several holes in the leaves of your the eggplant plant. This is caused by tiny flea beetles, which are the eggplant's worst pest. Aphids and spider mites may be other insects.

How to get rid of flea beetles? You may do the following to get rid of flea beetles on your eggplant plant.

Mix 2 parts rubbing alcohol and 1 tablespoon liquid dish washing soap in 5 parts water and spray on the foliage of the plants. The flea beetles are ground-dwelling, so to protect your eggplant from these tiny beetles, you may cover the soil with a plastic to prevent the insects from reaching on the leaves. 

I put a  thick layer of sugar cane mulch on the soil to prevent larvae to become adult and also that will prevent weeds growth. I spray neem oil periodically to repel flea beetles.

Harvest the Eggplants

Eggplants are ready to harvest when they are firm and shiny, and have reached their full size. It is better to harvest eggplants when they are still young and tender, as they can become bitter and hard if left on the plant for too long.

Press your finger firmly on a fruit, if it produces a thumbprint that bounces back quickly, then the fruit is ready to pick up.

Over-matured eggplant fruits become too hard and taste bitter. 

You can use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the fruit from the plant, leaving a short stem attached.

Thus growing eggplants in containers is a great way to enjoy this delicious vegetable even if you don't have a lot of outdoor space. With the right container, soil, variety, and growing conditions, you can grow healthy and productive eggplants in your own backyard.