grow-chinese-eggplant

Proven Methods for Growing Chinese Eggplant

Grown in Asia for thousands of years, Chinese eggplants (Solanum melongena) feature long, slender fruit with dark purple skin. They're sweet and tender with almost no bitter flavor, and are suitable for planting in containers or gardens.

What Are the Chinese Eggplant Varieties?

  • Oriental Charm
  • Orient Express
  • Machiaw
  • Asian Beauty
  • Ping Tung Long

What Are the Best Climate Conditions?

Chinese eggplants originated in tropical and subtropical regions, so they require full sun and warm temperatures for adequate growth. When planting them outside, make sure the temperature ranges from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C).

What Are the Soil Required Soil Conditions?

Chinese eggplants thrive in fertile, well-drained soil. They require a PH range of 6.2 to 6.8. For strong root development, loosen the soil from six to eight inches. Break up the soil with a tiller or garden shovel, and make sure it reaches a temperature of 60 °F (15°C) before planting your seedlings.

How to Plant from Seed

Once you’ve chosen the Chinese eggplant variety, sow your seeds indoors 10 to 12 weeks before the last frost. For your seeds to germinate, they need warm soil ranging from 80° (27°C) to 90°F (32°C). Sow four seeds, about one-quarter-inch deep into warm soil. Once the leaves form, thin the seedlings to 2 to 3 inches apart. After they emerge, they only require a temperature of 70°F (21°C).

How to Transplant Seedlings

Once your seedlings are 6 to 8 inches tall, you can transplant them into your garden 18-inches apart. Keep the rows from 30 to 36-inches apart. Harden off the seedlings before planting them. Do this by putting them outdoors in the daytime, and bringing them inside at night for three days. The outside soil temperature should be at least 60°F (15°C) before transplanting. It helps to spread plastic mulch around the seedling to keep them warm.

When to Harvest Chinese Eggplants

After you transplant your seedlings, they take from 50 to 60 days to mature, depending on the Chinese eggplant variety. They should be about 18-inches long with firm skin when they’re ripe. Use garden shears to clip the eggplants off, close to the stem. When you harvest your eggplants regularly, it encourages more eggplant production.