Grow your own hydroponic eggplant! Hydroponics is a way to grow plants without soil. It's perfect for those who don't have any land or are limited on space.
With hydroponics, you can grow anywhere in the world, even inside of your home or in a greenhouse.
In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know about growing eggplant hydroponically, including all the steps you should take and what supplies you might need.
Can You Grow Eggplant Hydroponically?
Eggplants are large, round fruits that can be purple, white or green in color. They grow well in warm climates and will produce fruit all summer long.
The plant is easy to grow from seed and has few pests so it's the perfect choice for hydroponic growers who want fresh fruit year-round!
A lot of people think of hydroponic tomatoes, hydroponic strawberries, or even hydroponic lettuce - but few people consider growing eggplant hydroponically, maybe because they don’t realize it’s possible.
Growing eggplants hydroponically is a great way to produce healthy, local, and organic fruit from your own home.
Eggplant is one of the easiest plants to grow hydroponically because it requires little attention and can be grown in just about any system.
Is Hydroponic Eggplant Difficult To Grow?
Hydroponic eggplant is not difficult to grow - in fact, its difficulty level is right down there with other plants like lettuce and tomatoes.
Although eggplant does require some patience to grow, as it’s not the fastest-growing crop in the world, in the end, it’s ultimately worth it.
Compared to soil, it’s far easier to grow because you don’t have to worry about underwatering or overwatering, and you also won’t deal with pests or diseases as frequently. Let’s look at some of the specific benefits you’ll unlock when growing this plant hydroponically.
Why Grow Hydroponic Eggplant?
There are countless benefits associated with growing hydroponic eggplant - many of which are benefits of hydroponic growing in general.
Because hydroponics is typically an indoor growing method, you’ll be able to grow all the eggplant you want year-round - this is a huge benefit for gardeners who live in cooler growing zones and can’t grow outdoors.
Eggplant is a warm-weather crop that likes to be kept in hot, humid conditions. If you have a short growing season, growing eggplant in soil outdoors might just be impossible for you - but that’s not the case with hydroponics! You’ll have complete control over the climate, the nutrients you feed, and the lighting.
In fact, in a hydroponic system, the bugs and illnesses that typically plague outdoor-grown eggplant are virtually nonexistent.
How Long Does It Take To Grow Eggplant Hydroponically?
Eggplant isn't the fastest-growing hydroponic plant, but it’s not the slowest, either. Your maturation date will depend primarily on the variety of eggplant you decide to grow.
When starting from seed, it can take anywhere from 100 to 120 days to maturity, while it will take around 65 to 80 days when growing from transplants.
How To Grow Eggplant Hydroponically - Step By Step
If you’re ready to start growing eggplant in your hydroponic garden, don’t delay! Follow this step-by-step guide. We need to start by helping you choose the right hydroponic system - this will make or break your success!
What Type Of System Is Best For Growing Eggplant Hydroponically?
There are several different systems you can use when growing hydroponic eggplant. Ultimately, just keep in mind that these plants require a lot of oxygenation.
Therefore, you will almost always need an air stone and an air pump. Because of this, two good options to consider include ebb and flow and DWC.
A water pump will transport the nutrients to the flood table. You can use a timer to program the system to flood up to six times per day for around ten to fifteen minutes each.
There are all kinds of ebb and flow systems out there to meet virtually any need, from growers who want to grow just one or two plants to those who want to grow dozens at a time.
Another great option is DWC. Like ebb and flow, it is also good for beginners. In this method, the roots will stay in a hydroponic reservoir for the entire life of the plants.
You won’t need a water pump as you did with the ebb and flow system because the air pump and airstone will provide the oxygen to the roots and prevent them from drowning.
While DWC is easy to maintain, the downfall of this kind of system is that it is tough to dial in feeding. However, with an EC meter, this is a non-issue.
Regardless, DWC is a great method of hydroponics for gardeners interested in growing their own eggplant. Whether you want to buy a complete system or configure your own, we have what you need here at Hydrobuilder.
Hydroponic Eggplant Propagation - Seeds vs Clones
Eggplant is easiest to start from seed. You can propagate seeds at temperatures of around 70-90 degrees.
Keep the seeds moist and the seedlings should emerge in 7-10 days. About two weeks after they sprouted, you can fertilize them with a soluble fertilizer.
They can be transplanted into your hydroponic setup in about six to eight weeks after you sowed seeds.
You can grow any of your favorite eggplant varieties in a hydroponic system, including Black Beauty.
Black Beauty is one of the most popular varieties, growing to a height of around 30 inches. It is a highly adaptable variety that will handle anything you throw at it.
Other good options include Dusky, a high-yielding variety, Imperial Black Beauty (one of the most compact), and Easter Egg.
Feeding Your Hydroponic Eggplant Nutrients
The hydroponic nutrient solution for your eggplant is one of the most important considerations to make. Ideally, the pH should be around 5.5 to 6 with a ppm between 1750-2400.
Check the nutrient solution every few days and top it off with water. Unlike many other kinds of fruits you might grow in a hydroponic system, the nutrient solution for eggplant only needs to be changed out about once every 30-60 days - these plants are relatively light feeders.
Of course, this depends on the type of eggplant you are growing and its size, as well as what kind of hydroponic system you have.
Caring For Your Hydroponic Eggplant
Hydroponic eggplant should be kept in warm temperatures, ideally around 70-90 degrees when the plants are still in the seed stage and around 75 to 85 during the vegetative and flowering stages.
Do not allow your eggplant to get too cold - anything lower than 65 degrees can be too chilly. However, anything over 95 degrees can stop your plant from setting fruit.
Humidity is also important - shoot for around 50-65%. You may find that you need to spray your plants with a spray bottle every so often to keep moisture up, otherwise, invest in a humidifier.
Because eggplant needs to be open-pollinated, you may need to either gently shake the stems of your plants daily at flowering time or put a fan nearby to move pollen grains and increase the odds of pollination.
How To Harvest your Hydroponic Eggplant
Eggplant is ready for harvest about 70 days after planting. To harvest, cut a short piece of stem above the cap that is attached to the top of the fruit.
Ideally, you should use a sharp knife or a set of pruners to do this to avoid damaging the plant.
You may find that you can complete multiple harvests in succession - and the more often you harvest, the more fruits you will get.
Final Thoughts On Growing Hydroponic Eggplant
Now that you’ve successfully grown and harvested your hydroponic eggplant, only one question remains - what will you do with it all?
Whether you choose to fry it, bake it, grill it, make some pickles, or perhaps whip up a batch of everyone’s favorite - eggplant parmesan! - you’re sure to find plenty of delicious uses for this tasty fruit.