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Eggplants: Sizes, Varieties, and Growing Tips!

How Big Do Eggplants Grow

Size matters to some, but not always when it comes to eggplants! While we’ve always thought of them as big purple vegetables, you’d be surprised at how many shapes, sizes, colors, and varieties the fruits – yes, they’re fruits – come in.

Most eggplant plants reach a height of 2 to 3 feet, with compact types at 16 inches and taller ones up to 4 feet. The fruit ranges from 2 to 10 inches in length. 

In terms of varieties, there are some purple eggplants with white specks or stripes, whites, creams, and even yellows. Let’s dive deeper into the world of eggplants, shall we?

How big do eggplants grow?

How big do eggplants grow
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Eggplants come in various sizes, generally ranging from 5 to 12 inches in length and 2 to 4 inches in diameter. However, specific varieties may yield smaller or larger fruits. 

Factors such as growing conditions, care, and harvest stage can influence their size. When planting, you need to consider space as it affects their overall growth.

Just to illustrate how diverse they can be, here’s a table on eggplant fruit sizes.

Eggplant VarietyEggplant Size
Black Beauty6 to 8 inches
Japanese Eggplant6 to 10 inches
Listada de Gandia4 to 6 inches
Fairy Tale2 to 4 inches
Rosa Bianca4 to 6 inches
Long Purple8 to 10 inches
Ping Tung Long10 to 12 inches
Hansel3 to 4 inches
Gretel3 to 4 inches

Just note that these are all approximates, as growing conditions factor heavily in the overall size of the eggplants.

Do eggplants need a lot of space to grow?

Eggplants need to be about 2 to 3 feet apart in rows spaced at least 3 to 4 feet apart. This spacing allows for good air circulation and gives the plants enough room to spread as they grow.

How long does it take eggplants to grow?

How long does it take eggplants to grow
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Eggplants take 52 to 80 days to grow, depending on the type. A healthy eggplant yields 4 to 6 fruits per season.

Eggplant seeds usually sprout in 14 to 21 days. Always remember that eggplants grow best in warm conditions. 

In cooler areas with shorter growing seasons, start seeds indoors for 8 weeks before moving them outdoors to avoid late spring frosts that can harm your plants.

How do you know when eggplant is ready to pick?

How do you know when eggplant is ready to pick
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Eggplants are ready to pick when they reach their typical mature size and have a glossy, firm skin with a rich, deep, vibrant shade of the variety. Most of the time, they should be about 6 to 8 inches in length, depending on the variety. 

To check ripeness, press the skin with your thumb – if it leaves an indentation but bounces back, it’s ready. Avoid overripeness indicated by a dull, matte finish. 

What is the lifespan of an eggplant plant?

What is the lifespan of an eggplant plant
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Eggplants, when cultivated as annuals, complete their life cycle in a single growing season, typically lasting 100 to 150 days. Grown in warm temperatures and well-drained soil, they are ready for harvest 70 to 85 days after transplanting. 

Factors Affecting Eggplant Growth

Factors Affecting Eggplant Growth
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While knowing the typical sizes of different eggplant varieties is valuable, it’s also important to understand the factors that can influence their size. Let’s explore the various elements to get you that optimal eggplant harvest.

Growing Conditions

Growing Conditions
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Eggplant size depends on its growing environment, with sunlight, warmth, and moisture playing important roles. Make sure they get 6 to 8 hours of daily sunlight for larger fruit. 

Consistent temperatures between 70 to 85 F during the active growth stage are best if you want to get the fruits big and healthy. Just be watchful as cooler temps can slow growth.

For seed germination, the minimum is 60 F otherwise you’ll have low or no germination rates. Starting seeds indoors is recommended if you want to avoid the risks of chilly soil in early spring.

The maximum germination temperature is 95 F, beyond which rates drop. High temperatures with humidity can encourage harmful mold to grow so plant your seeds and transplant your established plants as soon as you can.

Eggplants are sensitive to cold and won’t produce fruits if grown below 60 F. Wait until nights are over 50 F before transplanting indoor seedlings outdoors.

We recommend starting seeds indoors eight weeks before your last spring frost date. Soil temperature – not air temperature – matters, so use a probe-type thermometer.

If it’s too cold, then just wait for the sun to warm the soil instead of going ahead and planting them in cold soil. Clear debris, choose a sunny spot, and consider a DIY cloche from a plastic bottle to trap heat and boost soil temperature.

Soil Quality

Soil Quality
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Rich, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter is needed to optimize your eggplant plant growth. Go for a slightly acidic to neutral pH, which is around 6.0 to 7.0. 

Also, keep the soil from becoming too clayey or sandy so that it retains a bit of moisture without drawing the root system.This will create the optimal soil conditions for root development and nutrient absorption.

Watering Needs

Watering Needs
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Eggplants need consistent moisture throughout the growing season. When watering, avoid both overwatering and underwatering your eggplants. 

This is because doing so can lead to misshapen or smaller fruit, and you wouldn’t want that. Eggplants are quite resilient to dry spells once they’re established, so make sure to maintain soil moisture during seed germination and their initial growth stages. 

Irregular watering can trigger blossom end rot as well as calcium deficiency issues during this phase. You might end up with inedible fruits, making your entire eggplant growing activity unproductive.

Water the soil deeply but avoid overwatering as well since it can cause root rot. A soaker hose or drip irrigation goes a long way in maintaining consistent moisture levels without risking fungal issues.

As the plants mature, water your eggplants deeply but less frequently. This will encourage a strong and extensive root system. 

It’s best to water them early in the morning instead of at night to encourage better soil penetration while preventing rot, mold, diseases, and other issues.

Proper Fertilization

Proper Fertilization
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Use a balanced fertilizer, rich in phosphorus and potassium, to support the eggplant fruit development. Fertilize when planting and again when the first fruits appear, following the recommended application rates on the product label.

After transplanting, use a balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer to promote vine and leaf growth. Side-dress each plant with 1 to 2 ounces of your balanced fertilizer after the first fruits appear. 

Don’t use fertilizers with too much nitrogen. These can harm plants or lead to excessive green growth instead of flowers and fruit.

Pruning and Thinning

Pruning and Thinning
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Pruning your eggplants by removing excess foliage and small, unproductive fruit can redirect the plant’s energy toward the remaining fruit, leading to larger sizes. Plus, it allows the remaining eggplants more space to grow to their full potential.

Indoor Growing and Transplanting

Indoor Growing and Transplanting
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Plant your eggplant seeds indoors at a depth of a quarter of an inch. Once they’ve sprouted and you see the first true leaves, handle them gingerly to make sure they are spaced 2 to 3 inches apart.

When it’s time to move them outdoors, space your eggplants 18 to 24 inches apart to prevent overcrowding. Leave about 30 to 36 inches between the rows to allow for easy maintenance and harvesting.

We recommend using plant supports for your growing eggplants as they’ll benefit from something to climb on. You can either buy from gardening stores, or online vendors or just make some yourself from whatever’s available.

Pests and Disease Management

Pests and Disease Management
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You need to do a lot to protect your eggplant plants from pests and diseases, and it begins with regular inspections. You can also do companion planting and introduce beneficial insects as natural pest control measures. 

If needed, use organic or chemical methods for effective pest and disease management. Use strong chemical pesticides as a last resort and follow instructions carefully.

Variety Selection

Variety Selection
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Some eggplant varieties naturally produce larger fruit than others. If you’re going for bigger eggplants, choose specific varieties known for their size.


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While eggplants are self-pollinating, gently shaking the plants can help improve fruit set and size. You can also use a soft paintbrush if you’re concerned about hurting the plants.

Tips for Growing Large Eggplants

Tips for Growing Large Eggplants
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Growing big, healthy eggplants is perfectly doable as long as you know how. And it begins with our tried-and-tested tips and techniques!

  • Plant your eggplants 18 to 24 inches apart for good air circulation and avoid cramped conditions that lead to smaller fruit.
  • Trim your eggplants and focus on removing small, unproductive branches and leaves, directing the plant’s energy to the remaining fruit to make them larger.
  • Applying organic mulch like straw or compost around your eggplants keeps the soil moist, deters weeds, and maintains stable soil temperatures for bigger fruit.
  • Keep your eggplants well-hydrated by using drip irrigation or a soaker hose for consistent soil moisture.
  • Use stakes or cages to prevent branches from breaking under the fruit weight.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer with more phosphorus and potassium to support fruit growth. 
  • Protect eggplants from temperature extremes so if you face cool nights, use row covers or other methods to maintain that stable, warm environment.
  • Choose eggplant varieties known for their size if your goal is larger fruit production since some naturally yield bigger eggplants.
  • Rotate your crops to ward off soil-borne issues to encourage healthier and larger eggplants in future growing seasons.

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