Chapter 8. Eggplant Production
Botany and Planting
Eggplant, Oriental, Thai, and Indian eggplant—Solanum melongena
Table 8.1. Planting information for eggplant.
Information on “Asian” solanums is included in this chapter. The Asian solanum group includes three types of eggplant and bird’s eye pepper (Thai pepper). Pea eggplant, which was discussed in previous editions of this Handbook, is on the Federal Noxious Weed list, so it is not included in the current version. The harvestable product includes fruits that are eaten at the immature or mature stage. All can be grown on raised beds with or without plastic mulch, using either drip or subsurface irrigation. As with most eggplants, these types tend to be short-lived perennials, especially the Thai eggplant, which is a relatively compact, stocky plant. They can be severely pruned or ratooned and allowed to regrow if staking does not prohibit this operation. Fertilizer recommendations for eggplant should be used for the three types of eggplant, while those for peppers should be followed for bird’s eye peppers. These crops can be started from seed or transplants. All the indeterminate types of eggplant need some type of staking support.
For more information on eggplant variety descriptions and disease resistance, see EDIS publication HS1243, Conventional and Specialty Eggplant Varieties in Florida, at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/HS1243.
Disease Key: CM = cucumber mosaic, ToM = tomato mosaic, R = resistant, IR = intermediate resistance, T = tolerant.
Classic. Erect, vigorous plant; glossy deep-purple-black elongated-oval, green-calyxed fruit; medium-tall upright plant; fancy fruit appearance. Heavy yields of high-quality fruit. Does not perform well in cooler weather. R to ToM.
Nadia. Oval, long, vigorous plant with good fruit set under cool conditions. Very firm, attractive, purple-black fruit with long harvest period, and sets well under cool conditions.
Night Shadow. Elongate oval, widely adapted with high-yield potential. Strong plants produce firm fruit that maintain rich, dark glossy black color right through harvest. R to ToM.
Birgah. A Sicilian-style eggplant with a round, heavy, firm fruit, deep-purple color, sweet taste, and white flesh.
Ghostbuster. Hybrid variety that produces oval-shaped white fruit 6–7 inches long.
Italian Pink. Open-pollinated cultivar; oval fruit; cream/rose color; mature fruit color is rose pink, purple calyx.
Megal. Italian cylindrical fruit; purple-black color, very uniform; excellent shelf life and flavor; few spines; early maturity. R to CM, ToM.
Millionaire. Slender, oriental type; dark-purple fruit color; purple calyx; early maturing.
Vitoria. Very long cylindrical, deep-purple Imperial type; green calyx; mild flavor. R to ToM.
Zebra. Elongated oval; purple with white stripes; very attractive with good flavor.
Table 8.2. Ethnic eggplant cultivars.
The following tables list registered pesticides that should be integrated with other pest management methods. Additional information on integrated management methods can be requested from UF/IFAS Extension horticulture or agriculture Extension agents. A list of local UF/IFAS Extension offices is available at https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/find-your-local-office/.
Table 8.3. Herbicides approved for managing weeds in eggplant. Contact: Nathan S. Boyd, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.
Table 8.4. Insecticides approved for management of arthropod pests of eggplant. Contact: Craig Frey, UF/IFAS Extension Hendry County.
Eggplant fungicides ordered by disease and then FRAC group according to their mode of action. Contact: Pamela D. Roberts, UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.
Table 8.6. Nonfumigant nematicides for eggplants in Florida. Contact: Johan Desaeger, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.
Table 8.7. Fumigant nematicides for eggplants in Florida. Contact: Johan Desaeger, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center.