Ornamental Eggplant is grown from seed. They can be directly seeded into your garden, or seeded indoors for transplanting later. We recommend an early, indoor start. Sow seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/4″ or less of fine garden or seed starting soil.
How to Grow Ornamental Eggplant:
Ornamental Eggplant is easy to grow. It likes full sun, but will tolerate partial shade. Plants grow three to four feet, with huge leaves. Give this plant plenty of room to grow. Ideal plant spacing is three feet apart.
The soil should be rich, and drain well. Mix compost into the soil, prior to planting.
These plants like a lot of water and nutrients. While they like lots of water, they do not like wet soil. Keep soil moist, not wet. Add fertilizer when planting, and every month during the season.
Early in the season, add mulch around the plants to keep the weeds down.
Small flowers will begin to develop from the main stem in mid summer. Three to four flowers will form in a cluster, followed by small green fruit. The Eggplant ripens to a deep, red-orange color.
Plants can grow 3-4 feet tall. They will likely require staking, as the fruit develops. Otherwise, the weight of many growing fruit will cause the plant to droop, and stems may break.
Plants are annuals that are susceptible to frost. Cover them up whenever cold temperatures are expected.
Caution: Be careful when first working with this plant. It has many long, sharp thorns on both the stems and the leaves.
Eggplants are used in Asian stir fry recipes. Pick fruit when they turn reddish orange. It has a slightly bitter taste.
For floral displays and arrangements: After the fruit has ripened, cut the stems near the ground. Remove leaves. Breaking off thorns is optional. Mix them amidst a variety of seasonal flowers. Allowing the fruit to dry first, will make them long-lasting. Drying will take a long time. Dry in a cool, well ventilated location. Once dry, they can be used in dried flower arrangements.
Insect and Disease:
A variety of insects may eat the leaves of the plant. Treat with insecticide or repellents, as needed.
Deer, bunnies and other foraging animals leave the plant alone. They do not like the plant’s thorns.
Fungus diseases can occur. Use a general purpose fungicide in humid weather, and when problems appear.