How to Grow Aubergine – A Guide to Growing Aubergine
Keyfacts on Growing Aubergine:
- Plant Family for Crop Rotation: Solanaceae
- Aubergine are really a greenhouse crop but are suitable for small spaces and container growing if you can provide cover, such as a plastic tent cloche.
- The best known varieties are the large black ones, but there are also white and red aubergines, varying in size from that of a hen’s egg up to 500 g (18 oz).
- Sow indoors January to March
Growing Your Own Aubergine
Sow seeds in late January through to early March in a heated propagator or on a windowsill. Once large enough to handle, prick out the seedlings and pot up in 75cm (3″) pots. Later pot on until planting them out into the border (once all risk of frost has passed), growbags or 20–25 cm (8–10 inch) pots.
The weight of the fruit can break the stems, so stake the plants with short canes to support them.
Mist spraying once the flowers have formed encourages fruit set but limit each plant to four or five fruits (standard varieties) to ensure a good weight per fruit.
Pinch out the stem once the plant reaches 30 cm (12 inches) tall to encourage bushing and developing more fruits
NB The stems develop small spines, so wear gloves to protect your hands.
Feed as for tomatoes, with a proprietary tomato food or with comfrey tea.
Pests and Problems with Aubergine
Whitefly, aphids and red spidermite can all be problems. Misting the plants will deter the pests.
Varieties of Aubergines
- There are a wide range of varieties. Rosanna, Bonica, Orlando 5 and Calliope are especially dwarf and suitable for small spaces.
- However, all the aubergine are suitable for pot growing, so choose the variety you prefer to eat. My preference is the traditional Black Beauty.