History & Origin

Wild eggplant grows in India where it was first grown as a crop. A fifth century Chinese book mentions eggplant. In China, ladies of the court, would make a dye from eggplant to stain their teeth. They would polish their teeth until they shone like metal. Eggplants were grown in Europe during the 16th & 17th centuries. Eggplants were grown as ornamental plants in the early 1800's in the United States.

When to Plant

Eggplant is started from transplants. Do not plant until all danger from frost has passed and the soil has warmed up.

Be sure to check the frost free date in your area.

Spacing and Depth

Eggplant Seedling

Space the plants 18 to 24 inches apart in the row. Two or three eggplants would be plenty for a family.

Special Care

Water the transplants in with a starter fertilizer. When the plants are half grown and when you have harvested the first eggplant, you should side-dress with a fertilizer. Eggplants love the warm weather and should be watered during dry spells.


Harvest the eggplant when they are six to eight inches long and still glossy or shiny. Use a pruning shears (with adult supervision) rather than breaking off the stems. Eggplants have small prickly thorns on the stem, so wear gloves when harvesting. Eggplant can be harvested 75-95 days after planting transplants.

Return to the Vegetable Dictionary