Benefits of Using Eggplant Cages
Many vegetables need support as they grow, especially members of the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. Using tomato cages for eggplants is convenient and simple, but they also have other essential benefits for your plants:
- Keeps fruit clean
- Hinders fruit bruising
- Prevents disease, pests and fungus
- Prevents damage from snails and slugs
- Eliminates broken stems from large, hanging fruit
- Easier harvesting
- Increases fruit production
- Allows sunlight to reach all the foliage and fruit
- Keeps plants upright for air circulation
Types of Eggplant Cages
Garden centers have several styles of eggplant cages that offer effective support as your eggplants grow. If you’re handy, you can make eggplant cages yourself with bamboo, chicken wire or garden fencing.
- Foldable steel cages for easy storage during the off-season
- Cone-shaped cages with three prongs for anchoring in the soil
- A-frame cages fitted with cross slats for tying plants
- Ladder cages with cross bars for tying stems
Installing Eggplant Cages
When you push the cage prongs or stakes into the ground around your eggplants, be careful not to damage the eggplant leaves or main stems of the plant.
Slowly push the prongs into the soil, watching the plant as you do. If you notice the eggplant leaning as you insert the prongs, you might be hitting the roots. Carefully adjust the prongs until you don’t feel any blockage under the soil, and continue pushing the cage into the ground until it’s stable.
Other Methods of Eggplant Support
You can also use other methods for supporting your eggplants. Wooden, metal or PVC stakes about 5-feet tall work well, but you have to check them regularly, and tie up any eggplant stems as they grow.
Trellises are also effective for support, but like the stakes, you need to tie the stems to the trellis as your eggplants grow taller.
Stake and weave is another support method for vertical growing. This method requires stakes placed at 6-foot intervals with cording stretched across the stakes. As the eggplants grow, you tie the stems to the cord above the plant. You add more cord across the stakes as the plants get taller.