If you are a vegetarian, you should be familiar with eggplant, a vegetable plant, and fabulous fruit you can use for different dishes. Its uses range from ratatouille to moussaka, or you can grill it as a tasty and healthy side dish. Vegetarians and meat consumers worldwide enjoy this vegetable plant as it is essential to their health.
Eggplant is a hardy perennial plant that is easy to grow and maintain that will yield optimal success with the right growing conditions. This unique plant can be used for just about any preparation and has unlimited possibilities.
To grow an eggplant, you must understand its growing stages, and in this article, we will be looking at the different eggplant growing stages!
What Is Eggplant?
Quite simply! Eggplant is a vegetable from the nightshade family that includes tomatoes, okra, and zucchini. It is also known as Aubergines, a familiar name to the people living across the pond in the U.K., and is a lovely fruit you can use to make different dishes.
Meanwhile, the eggplant comes in different shapes, sizes, and colors and does best in warmer climates and in the summer seasons.
It starts from small globes around two inches in diameter to the more elliptical and tubular specie of about 12 inches. Every eggplant has edible seeds, which makes it especially easy to cook.
Eggplant is scientifically known as Solanum melongena from the Solanaceae family and is now planted in most parts of the world. It is a hardy perennial crop in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 9 to 12.
However, several gardeners in some parts of the planet grow it as an annual plant with the same growth stages.
Different Eggplant Growing Stages
As we stated, it doesn’t matter which part of the world you live in as a gardener; eggplant has the same growing stages everywhere. And it is important to know its growing stages, as it plays a major role in how fruitful the plant will become.
However, it is not to say that the plant is difficult to grow because, with the superior knowledge and required steps, you’ll find it a lot easier with this stunning plant. Eggplant has about seven main growing stages in its life cycle.
We’ll be highlighting them briefly, one after the other:
Stage 1: Seed Stage
The seed stage is the first stage of an eggplant since the plant comes as a seed. It features a small, circular seed that is smooth in texture with white-brown color.
You begin by cultivating the eggplant seeds on warm soil while you wait for some days, like one or two weeks, for them to germinate.
Note that eggplant contains about 40 or more seeds for each fruit. The best way to pick the best and high-quality seeds for sowing is to allow the fruit to ripen and select a new set of seeds from a viable fruit.
Ensure it comes out in its established appearance because it will make it change its color to violet and bear the best seeds.
Stage 2: Germination Stage
After cultivating eggplant seeds in the soil, you should expect them to germinate, as they will start growing and producing leaves. The small seeds will begin to germinate as you will see them displaying.
At this time, the plant will require proper care and maintenance to produce and grow well.
Stage 3: Seedling Stage
Please don’t confuse the seed stage with the seedling stage, as they are entirely different. The seedling stage is the third stage of the eggplant growth stage in its life cycle. It is the form it takes after the seeds have germinated.
It means that it is the stage at which the plant will germinate and develop into what is referred to as seedlings.
It is an essential phase in the eggplant growth cycle, especially if you want to transplant your eggplant. At this period, the seedlings the eggplant will produce are still soft and young.
Hence, it will require proper care and maintenance to make it grow healthy before you transplant it. It will take the seedling around six to eight weeks to develop before transplanting is due.
Suppose you want to know if your seedlings are due for transplanting whenever you notice that they are already growing about four to six leaves.
Meanwhile, you must beware of frost or cold weather and allow this condition to pass before transplanting, as eggplants don’t like cold weather conditions.
Stage 4: Adult Plant Stage
Note that eggplants have a long maturity period, which will take between 70 and 140 days. In other words, it is at this point that the plants start getting to maturity. They can grow as high as two to four feet, depending on the eggplant variety you are growing.
This period is when they will begin to grow and produce leaves, with a primary stem that grows oval-shaped leathery leaves alongside different branching stems.
Meanwhile, some eggplants need staking for their support to prevent the weight of their fruits from pulling them down.
Therefore, this phase is when you can introduce a stake and a stage where you must provide the plants with adequate sunlight, water, and sufficient care if they remain healthy. This stage requires fertilizer and more attention if you want your eggplants to thrive.
Stage 5: Flowering Stage
As the plants get more mature, they will begin to produce blooms. This phase is more of a display period as the plants start yielding beautiful flowers and buds. Again, the blooms are self-pollinating, featuring both the male and female organs in each of them.
At this stage, you must beware of pests and diseases that will attack your eggplant and try to control them.
Stage 6: Fruit Stage
The fruiting stage is the sixth phase in an eggplant’s life cycle. This period is one of the happiest periods for every gardener. At this time, it bears different colors of fruits ranging from white, purple, or striped, depending on the variety of the eggplant.
Also, beware of pests that will destroy your eggplant’s fruits.
Stage 7: Harvesting Phase
Then comes the final phase, known as the harvesting stage. Every sower needs to reap what they have sown; hence, this period is the reaping time of every gardener of eggplant. Again, this stage is when the fruits start developing.
You can harvest the fruits at their tender age, a few days from maturity, since that is the time they produce their best flavor.
You will see them developing glossy skin and firm texture to check for ripeness. If you want to harvest the seeds to replant, you must be patient until the fruits have grown bigger enough with their dull skin, as at this time, they will feel softer to the touch.
One of the secrets of every successful gardener is understanding their plants’ growth stages and life cycles, including the eggplant.
In other words, understanding the different eggplant growing stages will enable you to know their basic care guide and time to give them proper attention, thereby enhancing healthy growth and production of fruits.