Eggplants are among the most popular vegetables for vegetarians and vegans, but almost anyone can enjoy their rich flavor and meaty texture. It’s no wonder more and more home gardeners, homesteaders, and even indoor gardeners are considering adding these purple vegetables to their annual planting.
But, when it comes to adding a new vegetable, even the most experienced gardener might not be sure how to plant for the most success.
Since eggplants are vining plants that can be relatively tall, it’s natural to wonder if you can plant them deep, like tomatoes.
Eggplant seeds need shallow planting, just like most vegetable plants. But if you’re transplanting an established plant from a nursery or that you grew from seed, yes, you can plant the stems relatively deep. Just like tomatoes, eggplants can be relatively tall. Planting the stem deeper in the soil helps encourage them to produce more stem nodes, which creates a more robust plant that may produce additional eggplants throughout the season.
So, yes, you can plant eggplant stems pretty deep in the soil! Your plants may thank you for doing so.
Let’s look at eggplant planting and how you can make your next eggplant crop even bigger and more successful than your last.
How Deep Should Eggplant Be Planted?
In general, you can plant several inches of established eggplant stem underground without causing any problems to the plant.
There are a couple of exceptions, though. For one thing, seeds should still be planted in the first 1/2 inch of soil to ensure they’re getting plenty of light to encourage germination. Temperature is also critical for seed germination, so remember to make sure your soil is relatively warm before planting.
The other exception is for bushy varieties of eggplant. Most eggplants are vining growers with fewer, longer, leggier stems. However, bushy eggplants are much more compact and don’t produce long stems than branching shrubby stems.
If you’re planting a bushy variety of eggplant, you can plant 1-2 inches of stem when you transplant, but no more. Most bushy varietals won’t have more than 1-2 inches of stem to plant when you’re transplanting.
For the more common vining eggplants, you can plant as much as 4-6 inches in the ground without causing any harm, and in fact, you may have a stronger, healthier, more fruitful plant if you plant the stem more deeply.
How Do You Plant Eggplant In The Ground?
Eggplants aren’t particularly difficult to plant, but they do better when they’re appropriately planted.
You have to remember that eggplants are large plants, which means they need a lot of space. Ideally, you should plant eggplants at least 24-36 inches apart, with plenty of room for their roots to spread while they grow.
Eggplants also prefer reasonably well-drained soil, which holds on to moisture well enough it’s never fully dry. Amending your soil with 1-2 inches of compost before planting is a good way to make sure your soil has plenty of nutrients and that it holds a good amount of moisture at the same time.
Make sure you’re avoiding frost when you plant as well. While eggplants aren’t as vulnerable to frost as tomatoes and some other common garden plants, they can still be damaged by a light frost and killed by a hard one.
You should plant your eggplant to the same depth they were in their starter containers or slightly deeper. Make sure the stem is exposed where it first starts branching, and your eggplant should do well.
How Do You Plant Eggplant In A 5 Gallon Bucket?
Planting eggplant in a 5-gallon bucket isn’t that difficult, and planting into a bucket can be a good way to extend your garden space. It’s even better to plant large vegetables, like eggplants, in your buckets because that saves more garden space for smaller veg that thrive without much room.
However, planting in a 5-gallon bucket means that your eggplants will need more of your attention and time because they don’t have as many resources from the ground around them.
The first thing you need to do is prepare the bucket itself. You should drill several drainage holes in your buckets and line the bottom with either a thin layer of gravel or a mesh lining to keep the soil inside.
You’ll also want to make sure your planting soil is mixed with plenty of compost to help with soil retention. To keep an eggplant healthy in a 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need to add fertilizer and compost every couple of weeks.
The last thing you’ll need to consider when you’re planting in a 5-gallon bucket is how you’ll provide support to your eggplants. A standard tomato cage will generally fit in a 5-gallon bucket, but you can use alternative support systems if you want to.
Are Eggplants Climbers?
Yes, most eggplants (excluding bush varieties) are considered climbing plants. That’s not a bad thing, though, since keeping your eggplant fruits off the ground can help make them larger and give you a better shape and overall color.
But, eggplants’ climbing habits mean you need to have a sturdy structure to help hold them up. Eggplants can be relatively heavy, especially during fruiting season, and their large size can be a challenge. Consider a wide trellis, tomato cage, or another support system to help keep your eggplant happy and healthy.
Can You Use A Tomato Cage For Eggplant?
You can use tomato cages for eggplants, and many growers do, but you should remember the size of the plant. Some eggplants may outgrow a tomato cage and need something larger.
Tomato cages also aren’t suitable for bushy eggplant. Most bushy eggplants don’t need any additional support, and a tomato cage may be too confining for a few.
How Many Eggplant Do You Get Per Plant?
Every variety of eggplant is a little different, so it can be hard to plan how many eggplants you’ll get if you’re trying a new variety. It’s also important to remember that growing conditions, including the weather, impact eggplant growth, so you might not get a consistent number of eggplant from year to year.
Most eggplant will produce somewhere between 4-10 eggplants per year. Some people report getting as many as 20 eggplants from a single plant, but that’s rare and usually means that the individual vegetables are smaller.
If your eggplant is trying to overproduce, you may want to trim a few of the buds. An eggplant can only grow so many large fruits, and if it tries to grow too many, the overall size of each fruit will go down.
On the other hand, if you prefer plants with slightly smaller fruits, you might not want to prune as much.
Things To Consider
How you plant your eggplant isn’t the only thing that will affect your crop yields or how successful each plant is.
You should also consider soil conditions, sunlight exposure, watering and fertilizer requirements, and even what you’re planting near your eggplant for the most success.
Eggplants might not be the most difficult vegetable to grow in your home garden, but there’s still plenty to consider if you’re looking for a good crop.
Hi there, my name is Allie and welcome to my blog; GareningWithAllie!
Much of what you see written here is just our personal experiences with gardening. Along with the content I write here, there is also a unique collection of gardening topics covered by some of our close friends. I hope you find everything you read here to be helpful, informative, and something that can make your gardening journey the most lovely experience ever! With that said, Happy Gardening!