Like many other vegetables, eggplants thrive in both garden beds or in large containers. Planting in containers frees up garden space for other plants and also allows you to have a garden in an area you otherwise could not. Grow dwarf or small-fruited varieties of eggplant in planters, as these are more suitable to pot culture. Varieties such as Dusky produce smaller fruit on a compact plant, but have all the flavor of larger, garden grown eggplants.
Buy a 2- to 5-gallon plastic, wood or clay plant pot that has between two and four pre-drilled drainage holes in the bottom. Alternately, drill two to four 1/4-inch holes in the bottom of a plastic 2- to 5-gallon bucket and use this as the planting pot.
Fill the container to within 2 inches of the rim with a soil-less potting mix. Soil-less mixes are sterile and hold moisture better than soil mixes.
Water the potting mix until it is evenly moist throughout prior to planting the eggplant. Water from the top until the excess moisture begins to drain from the bottom of the pot.
Plant an eggplant seedling into the container two weeks after all frost danger is past in the spring. Plant the eggplant at the same depth in the container that it was at in its nursery pot.
Water soil immediately to avoid air pockets. Check the moisture in the container daily, and water when the soil surface begins to dry. Irrigate until the excess water begins draining from the bottom of the pot. Check moisture levels twice a day during hot, dry weather in mid-summer.
Fertilize the eggplant every two weeks with a soluble 20-20-20 analysis fertilizer, following package application amounts. Alternately, use a liquid tomato plant fertilizer on eggplants. Dilute the liquid fertilizer in water and irrigate the eggplants with this solution every two weeks, following package instructions for exact application amounts.
Things You Will Need
- Potting mix
- Eggplant seedling
- Harvest eggplants when they reach their full color but are still slightly immature. The fruit should be firm yet indent slightly when pressed.
- Eggplants require at least eight hours of sun a day, so place the containers in an area that receives at least this much.
- Container-grown plants are more likely to dry out. Frequent watering helps prevent this. You can also place bark or straw mulch on top the soil in the planter to help maintain some moisture.