When to Plant Eggplant

Eggplant seedlings

Start eggplant seeds indoors 8 to 10 weeks before setting seedlings in the garden. Transplant eggplant seedlings to the garden 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost. Eggplant seeds germinate in about 10 days.

Eggplants grow best in average temperatures between 70° and 85°F (21-29°C). Grow long-season varieties in regions with hot summers. Grow early maturing varieties in all regions but especially where summers are short. All eggplants are harmed by extended temperatures below 50°F (10°C).

Eggplant seeds can be direct sown in the garden only in regions with very long warm summers. Prewarm the soil with plastic sheeting ahead of setting out transplants or direct sowing seeds.

Eggplant planting

Plant eggplant in average loam rich in organic matter. Grow eggplants in full sun.

Eggplants grow best in a soil pH that ranges between 5.5 and 6.8. Always keep the soil evenly moist from flowering through harvest. Eggplant is a heavy feeder; it needs a moderate amount of nitrogen and potassium and high amounts of phosphorus.

Eggplant harvest

Eggplant is ready for harvest 60 to 70 days after transplanting. Eggplants can be picked as soon as they are useable size. A ripe eggplant will have a glossy skin. An eggplant with dull skin is past its prime and will be bitter flavored.

Eggplant seedlings ready for transplanting
Eggplant seedlings ready for transplanting

Eggplant seedling planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Feb. 1-Mar. 1
Feb. 8Feb. 10-Mar. 15
Feb. 18Feb. 20-Apr. 1
Feb. 28Mar. 10-Apr. 15
Mar. 10Mar. 15-Apr. 15
Mar. 20Apr. 1-May 1
Mar. 30Apr. 15-May 15
Apr. 10May 1-June 1
Apr. 20May 10-June 1
Apr. 30May 15-June 10
May 10May 20-June 15
May 20June 1-15
May 30 
June 10 
Eggplants in the garden
Eggplants in the garden

Eggplant planting details

  • Sowing depth: ½ inch (12mm)
  • Space between plants: 18-24 inches
  • Days to sprout: 10
  • Days to harvest: 90-110
  • Storage period: 1-2 weeks
  • Seeds per 100 row feet: 1 packet (65 plants)
  • Suggested varieties: Black Beauty, Burpee Hybrid, Dusky, Ichiban, White Italian

Related eggplant growing and planting articles:

How to Grow Eggplant

Eggplant Seed Starting Tips

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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