If you’re growing your own eggplants this year, you might find the eggplant growing stages to be quite fascinating. These vegetables, known for their delicious taste, go through a very interesting journey from seed to harvest. This article will go over each stage and how the plant transforms.
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What Are the Eggplant Growing Stages?
The eggplant growing stages are seed, seedling, adult plant, flowering, fruit formation, and harvest. As your plant moves through these stages, significant changes occur in the plant’s development. It is beneficial to learn and understand the process your plants go through when growing.
The Seed Stage
The seed stage holds great significance in the growing process because it marks the beginning of the plant’s life. In this first part of the eggplant growing stages, the seed will be planted within the soil. Over the course of several days, the seed will begin to break open and roots will begin to emerge within the soil. You won’t have much to see while this is occurring because it will all be taking place right under the soil. However, the start to the plant’s life is beginning! This process is called germination. The process of germination will take about 1 to 2 weeks.
Eggplant seeds require plenty of moisture and warmth to begin germination. When your seed is provided these conditions, the outer coat of the seed will soften. The seed will absorb water and nutrients from the surrounding soil and start growing. You will start to see roots and then finally a stem with two small leaves. These leaves will reach up toward the light until they break through the soil.
The Seedling Stage
The seedling stage is a very exciting time during the stages of eggplant growth. This is where you will see the most change and transformation occurring right before your eyes. The beginning of this seedling stage is marked by the sprout emerging from the soil’s surface. As it emerges, be careful, your seedling is fragile and still has substantial growth left to do. This sprout will start off being just two leaves and a small stem. It will then start to produce true leaves, which are the second set of leaves that appear. These new leaves will give the seedling a more recognizable appearance as an eggplant.
During this stage, it’s crucial to give your seedling an adequate amount of light to support the growth of the plant. Providing enough light will allow your plant to grow a strong stem and prevent it from becoming too tall and leggy. In addition to light, it’s important to have your seedlings in an appropriate soil that will give them plenty of nutrients as they get stronger. And don’t forget to provide your seedling with plenty of water, as this will contribute to it’s overall growth and health.
The Adult Stage
The adult plant is a key part of the eggplant’s growth. As you continue to provide water, sunlight, and nutrients that feed the development of your eggplant, your plant will continue to grow stronger and more robust. Your plant will continue to make more leaves and stems, as the root system strengthens. This stage will last until your eggplant begins to produce buds and flowers. You can expect your plant to reach an average height of 2 to 4 feet with a width of 1 to 3 feet, depending on the variety. It will have a bushy appearance, with many stems and branches to support the fruit that must grow in the upcoming stages. Depending on the variety, you may have small thorns growing along the stem of the plant as well.
The Flowering Stage
The flowering stage is a pivotal point in your plant’s growth, as you start to see the potential that your plant has. Once your eggplant reaches maturity, it will begin to produce buds. These small buds will start to grow at the areas between the leaves and the stem. You will see them grow larger, which indicates that the plant is preparing itself to produce flowers.
Once your buds break open, you will see beautiful purple and white flowers. Eggplants are generally self-pollinated but may be cross-pollinated by nature. You may see pollinators come to your plant to assist in the amazing process of your plant being fertilized. Your eggplant flowers will eventually dry out and fall off. Don’t worry, the flowers drying out indicates the start of the fruit formation stage.
The Fruit Formation Stage
After the flowers dry out and fade away, the eggplant will begin to put all of it’s energy into growing the fruit. You will begin to see small green balls appear where the flowers used to be. As time passes, these green balls will start to take on an egg shape, which the eggplant is known for. Your eggplants will darken as they grow and ripen. Your plant may need to be staked for support in order to keep the growing eggplants from touching the ground. This will improve growth and reduce disease in the plant.
The shape, color, and size of the eggplant will be dictated by the variety that you choose. Some varieties will produce long, slender eggplants with a deep color. Others may produce rounder shapes, lighter colors, or differing skin patterns. The taste of eggplants ranges from sweet to bitter, depending on the chosen variety.
The Harvest Stage
The most exciting and rewarding part of an eggplant’s growth cycle is the harvesting stage. This stage is when you finally get to reap the rewards of all your hard work after so much time. The fruits represent all of the care and patience that you have put into your plants. The plant has taken a long journey all the way from a seed to producing an amazing tasting vegetable for you and your family to enjoy.
It’s often recommended to pick the eggplants when they are slightly immature and taste the best. This will prevent them from ripening too much and tasting too bitter. You will want to pick them when they feel firm to the touch, with a nice glossy skin. Once they begin to soften, they will have most likely ripened too far. When you have deemed your eggplants ready to be picked, carefully cut the stems with shears and collect your harvest!
To wrap it up, the eggplant growing stages are a demonstration of how beautiful the process of growing this plant from seed to fruit can be. From a weak seedling to the strong adult plant that produces abundant amounts of food to harvest, the journey is detailed and rewarding. Each and every stage is essential to the end result of the plant. Enjoy the eggplants that you worked so hard to help create!