How to Start Eggplant Seeds Indoors

Eggplants belong to the heat-loving nightshade family that require temperatures from 70°F (21°C) to 85°F (29°C) during the growing season. You can start your eggplants from seeds that you buy from a seed store, or use the seeds you saved from a previous harvest. The following tips will explain how to start your eggplants from seeds.


Conditions for Sowing Eggplant Seeds

For your eggplant seeds to germinate successfully, follow these suggestions:

  • Warm soil – Eggplant seeds need warm soil ranging from 80°(27°C) to 90°F(32°C). Use a dome or plastic covering to hold in the heat and humidity.
  • Planting time – Start your seeds indoors about 6 to 12 weeks before the last danger of frost. The timing depends on the weather conditions in your area.
  • Sow seeds – Sow your eggplant seeds in groups of four seeds per pot, covering them with one-quarter inches of potting soil. Water them thoroughly after planting the seeds, and keep them moist.
  • Lower soil temperature – Once your seeds sprout, which takes up to 10 days, lower the soil temperature to about 70°F(21°C).
  • Fertilize seedlings – About two weeks after your seeds germinate, apply organic fertilizer to the sprouts once a week.
  • Thin seedlings – When your seedlings produce three leaves, thin the sprouts to 2 to 3 inches apart.

Preparing Seedlings for Transplanting

When your seedlings have three sets of leaves, you can transplant them to your garden. Before transplanting, acclimate your seedlings to outdoor weather conditions by hardening them off. It only takes a couple of days of putting your seedlings outside during the day, and bringing them back inside at night to get them ready for outdoor life.

How to Transplant Seedlings

Before transplanting your seedlings, choose an area of your yard that gets full sun, and make sure the soil is about 60°F (15°C). The seedling won’t do well, if the soil is too cold.

Turn over the soil to 8-inches deep, and use a stone rake to remove the weeds and rocks. Plant your seedlings from 2 to 3 feet apart with rows from 3 to 4 feet apart. This will give them plenty of room to grow.

Water your seedlings after planting, and continue regular watering every week. You can apply organic mulch around your seedlings to retain moisture, and prevent weeds.