Growing Hydroponic Eggplant

Eggplant is such a versatile fruit to use in recipes.  Whether you decide to grill it, stuff it, or bake it, you’re bound to have yourself a healthy and delicious meal.  And, with beautiful flowers and gorgeous purple fruit, it’s a visually appealing showstopper for your indoor garden as well. 

Keep in mind that there are lot’s of different eggplant varieties, and you are usually best off using a dwarf or miniature variety of eggplant when you want to grow in a relatively small space, indoors.  Fairy Tale eggplants are one of our favorite varieties for growing with hydroponics, indoors!

Germination:

Eggplant grows well from seed.   Consider using our Seedling Starter Kit, or using the paper towel method for best results. You can make your own seedling starter kit by using Tupperware covered with plastic wrap that you poke a few holes in. Finally, you can also sow your eggplant seeds directly in the iHarvest, although propagation may be slightly slower and less successful.

Light:

Give your eggplants plenty of light for them to grow successfully.  Like all fruit, eggplant performs best when receiving 16 hours of artificial light.  This ensures that your plants will flower frequently, and your plant has enough energy to produce mature fruit.

EC Range:

Your iHarvest® comes with an EC tester.  EC stands for ‘Electrical Conductivity’ and it is a measure of the nutrients in your water solution.  When growing eggplant, you will want to keep your EC range between 2.5-3.5 for optimal growth.  Eggplant grows great with other plants that grow well in these EC ranges, such as cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and even cabbage.  Your eggplants are likely to remain healthy at EC ranges below 2.5, but will not produce fruit as quickly.

pH Range:

Your iHarvest® comes with a pH tester.  Adjusting your pH allows your plants to absorb the nutrients they need, as efficiently as possible.  Keep your pH between 5.5-6.8 for optimal growth.

Nutrients:

Eggplant is a flowering/fruiting plant.  When they are young, before they begin flowering, your eggplant plants will thrive with a general nutrient mix for vegetation, like those that have an N-P-K ratio of approximately 10-5-14 like IGWorks provides.  When your eggplant begins to flower and fruit, they will do better with a nutrient solution that has more Phosphorus (P).  When your eggplant begins to flower, you may want to add a flowering nutrient mix, which is likely to have an NPK ratio of approximately 5-15-14.  IGWorks also provides these nutrients on our website.  By adding the flowering mix to your reservoir, you will get more eggplants to fruit, and they will ripen faster.

Pruning and Harvesting:

Eggplant can take up a lot of space, and that’s not always easy when growing indoors.  Growing dwarf or miniature varieties of eggplant plants, like our Fairy Tale eggplants can help to save big on space.  As your eggplant vines begin to outgrow the space you have for them, you can prune them by following our guide here. 

Pollinating:

Most eggplant is not self-fertile, so they need some extra help to set fruit.  Pollinate your eggplants frequently in the early stages.  Using a small art or makeup brush to pollinate with is a great idea.  We have a whole article dedicated to pollinating your plants here, if you’d like to review in more detail.

Harvesting:

Eggplant will change color when they mature and are ready to be harvested.  However, keep in mind that sometimes the side of the fruit pointing away from the lights will not change color completely.  That’s ok, and they are ready to eat when the side facing the light has changed color. 

Time to Harvest:

Plan on harvesting your eggplants ~4 months after you’ve planted seeds, and you won’t be disappointed.  It will often take less time, especially when managing your nutrients, pH and EC as described above.

Conclusion:

Remember, you don’t require a green thumb to grow in the iHarvest®.  In fact, it’s easier than growing in soil.  The more closely you follow the directions, the more eggplants you will have.  And don’t forget, IGWorks® and the Indoor Garden Works Group on Facebook are always here to help.

Let's grow together!

 

There's more great growing information in the links below: