Eggplants are heat-loving vegetables. They thrive in slightly acidic, well-drained, fertile soil. Growing purple eggplants indoor requires steady warm conditions for about two to three months for optimal growth and fruit production. Exposing the plants to cold makes them susceptible to diseases and insect attacks. Their pear-shaped, purple fruits make eggplants an ideal ornamental choice. You can add this veggie with colorful fruits to your indoor gardening.
Steps to Grow Purple Eggplants Indoor
You can easily grow your own purple eggplants indoor. However, you have to decide whether you will grow the seeds or buy the seedlings from a nursery. Here are tips that will enable you to successfully grow eggplants indoor.
Plant the seeds
Eggplant seeds are grown and later transplanted to the garden. Sow the seeds 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. It is preferable to plant the seeds indoors. Fill a seed tray or cell containers with moist fertile soil. Place the eggplant seeds ¼ inch deep in the soil, ideally two seeds to one cell. Cover the tray or water the soil regularly to retain the moisture. The seeds will germinate within 7 to 10 days if maintained at 15-35 degrees Celsius.
Expose the sprouted purple eggplant seeds to sunlight through a window. Alternatively, you can use grow light 16 hours daily to facilitate the growth of the seedlings. Apply water-soluble fertilizer to them after two weeks of germination. The seedling would have developed true leaves at this stage.
Transplant the seedlings
Once the eggplants are 3 inches tall, you can transplant each to a separate container. A pot of 5-gallon capacity will be perfect for growing purple eggplants indoor. Such large container will have enough room to support the root of the eggplants. Each plant requires a space of about 12-14 inches. Two parts of fertile potting soil and a part of sand will be the best medium to grow eggplants indoor. This gardening soil can retain water and provide adequate nutrients to the plants. The presence of the sand particles will facilitate the draining of excess water.
Place the indoor gardening soil in either glazed or unglazed pot with drainage holes. The latter containers are preferable if you will water the plants regularly. They dry out moisture more quickly than the glazed pots. However, make sure that the drainage holes are not blocked. Make holes of ¼ inches depth. Apply fertilizer before planting the eggplants in the holes. Water the plants and apply water-soluble every two weeks.
Mulch and stake the eggplants
You can use wood chips or straw to cover the soil. The mulch will help to retain moisture. The wooden stake to each plant to support it. You can also build a cage with pieces of bamboo for the eggplants.
It is best to pick the fruits when their skins are glossy. To test whether a fruit is ripe, press the skin with your fingers. It is perfect for harvesting if the squeezed spot remains indented. Use a pair of pruning shears to cut the fruits from the plants.
You can grow your own eggplants in pots to expand your indoor gardening. Besides, eggplants grown in containers are less prone to diseases and insect attack. Water the plants consistently and make sure they receive sunlight for few hours daily.