The eggplant may be one of the most misunderstood vegetables and it is certainly not a common sight in most home gardens. The amount of time it takes for eggplants to grow may be one reason to grow eggplants from cuttings. Take cuttings from existing plants at the end of the growing season and start them indoors. Wait a couple of weeks after the last frost to ensure warm weather is on the way before transplanting in the garden since eggplants need warm soil to grow.
Things You'll Need
Gallon plant container
Wood garden stakes, 6-by-1/2-inch wide
Fill the glass Mason jar two-thirds of the way to the top with water. Place the eggplant cuttings inside the jar. Do not place more than two or three cuttings in one jar.
Check the water level daily and refill the jar as the water evaporates. Roots should appear within two to three weeks.
Remove the cuttings with new roots from the jar of water and plant them in a gallon-size pot three-quarters full of potting soil. Insert the roots down in the soil, and then fill the pot, making sure not to cover the cutting above the new root area.
Keep the container indoors until all threat of frost is gone. Two weeks after the last frost in cool climates, prepare to transplant the cuttings by spreading a plastic ground cover on the garden bed. This helps warm the soil enough to plant the cuttings.
Transplant the Cuttings
Prepare the garden soil by adding compost to create the slight acidity eggplants need to thrive. Make sure the area you choose for the eggplants is one that drains well.
Plant the cuttings 1 inch deep and one foot apart in a row. If you have more than one row, space the rows two feet apart to allow room for the growing and mature plants.
Stake the cuttings with wooden garden stakes that are 6 feet long and 1/2 inch thick. Use twine to secure the cuttings loosely to the stakes. Eggplants tend to be heavy and can droop and break as they mature. Add a layer of mulch around the plants to seal in the warmth and help retain moisture.
Fertilize the plants with organic compost after the third week, and two times a month during the growing season. Side-dress the rows by spreading the compost six inches to the side of each plant. Incorporate the compost into the soil with a rake. Water the rows.
Rather than using plain wooden garden stakes, you can find metal stakes with notches on them at most garden centers.
- Michigan State University Department of Horticulture; Salvaging Annuals for Indoor Use; March 1998
- West Virginia University Extension Service; Seed Saving Tips; John W. Jett
- University of Missouri Extension; Vegetable Gardening; James Quinn, et al.; July 2008
- University of Illinois Extension; Eggplant; Ron Wolford, et al.