Similar to tomatoes, potatoes, or peppers, eggplants are nightshade plants that originated in India, so are believed to be.
The popular vegetable requires warmer temperatures and plenty of humidity.
It’s not exactly beginner-friendly because they need specific conditions to propagate correctly.
But with some patience and proper knowledge (that’s why you’re here), anyone can do it!
Last updated: 3/2/22.
Why grow from seed vs. cuttings?
The primary benefit of growing from cuttings is time. You save a bunch of time because you cut back on the time drag of starting from seed.
As you probably know, growing these eggplants from seed takes up to 120 days to harvest.
If you start from cuttings, whether they’re from the grocery store or a previous plant. You’ll likely be doing this if you’re already growing a previous batch of the crop.
No reason to start over from seed, especially with the time drag.
If you’re already growing eggplants, you can save the seed by leaving it on the vine until it becomes hardened.
The skin should start to turn into a dull purple. Or the fruit itself may become soft. Remove the fruit, wash it, then cut it in half. Extract the seeds using a scoop then blend them.
This will separate the seeds from the eggplant flesh. Place them on a paper towel to dry. Place in an envelope to store for later use.
It’s simple to do, but takes up a lot of space. Let’s dive in.
Can you grow eggplant from stem?
No, not directly from the stem.
You can’t just cut the stem off and put it in the dirt. That’ll get you nothing.
It’s from cutting to be specific. You need the actual fruit to make it happen or else nothing will grow!
Gardeners who wish to get a head start on their growing season will plant it from cuttings rather than seeds. It also makes for fun little experiments you can try in the kitchen.
How to grow eggplant from eggplant cuttings
Growing it is easy.
While the cuttings do require some warmer temperatures and a bit of TLC to get them to root, it’s quite simple if you just be patient.
Here are the steps to regrow it.
Get the supplies
To regrow cuttings, you’ll need some basic supplies. Nothing fancy.
- 1 clear glass container (mason jars are good)
- Potting mix (not garden soil), organic preferable
- Organic compost
- Some twine or rubber bands
- 1-gallon planter
Gather the cuttings
Wait until the end of the growing season before you take cuttings. This is typically during the early spring.
If you start too early, they’ll either because you need to keep them indoors until the temperatures pick up.
So later is ideal since you have the flexibility of bringing them out when the growing season starts.
Plant the cuttings
Fill the mason jar ⅔ full with distilled water. The jar should be sterilized.
This helps prevent bacteria from entering the water, which could lead to root rot, fungus, or other things that’ll undermine successful rooting.
You can use hot water with some dish soap or rubbing alcohol. Don’t place more than 3 cuttings in a single jar, no matter how big it is.
The cuttings should hang over the edge of the jar or you can use twine to secure them in place. No leaves or foliage should ever touch the water surface.
Examine the water level daily. Refill it as needed with fresh water.
Check for mold or rot on the cuttings every day. If you see brown or dark spots on it, remove the cuttings. Replace the water immediately. The seedlings should be indoors until the temperatures warm up.
The cuttings will root in about 14-21 days. This varies depending on the type of eggplant cuttings you’re growing, temperature, water quality, location, sunlight, season, etc.
The roots are thin white shoots that stem outwards from the cuttings.
Moving into the garden
Wait a few weeks after your last frost date before you move them into your garden because eggplant doesn’t tolerate the cold temps.
The warm weather should be present as they need warmer conditions to grow. The soil must be the proper temp before you transfer them to the garden.
Sudden temp drops will kill your cuttings or prevent proper rooting. So don’t be impatient. Seriously. The same goes for temperature swings. Bad for eggplant!
Remove the cuttings with fresh roots and then put them into your gallon pot. Fill it up with a fresh organic potting mix. The roots should be firmly in place. No roots should be exposed.
Fill the pot ⅔ full without covering the rest of the cutting. Do not cover foliage.
Keep the gallon pot inside your house until the last frost date. Then move it outside 2-3 weeks following it. Expose it to slowly extended periods of sunlight over a week. This is called hardening off.
Don’t just put it out there. It can’t tolerate the outdoors yet because it’s been grown inside your house.
Prepare to transplant the cuttings by using a sturdy plastic cover on the plant bed where you plan to grow your eggplants. This will help insulate it from the cold temperatures.
Choose your soil wisely. Get organic if possible. It should be slightly acidic (pH 5.5-7.0). You can add some organic compost to help reduce the pH so your cuttings can thrive. The soil should be full of nutrients, well-draining, and made for vegetables.
Other than that, you can go crazy with your content. You can improve soil with lime or organic matter to drop the pH. Eggplants love acidic environments. The plot should also have sufficient drainage so the water doesn’t build up in it like a pool.
You can also put 2-3 inches of organic mulch to help retain the water. Get a water meter to minor it if you’re not sure. These meters will give you precise readings of the soil water saturation so you can water as needed. Eggplants should be kept moist during the growing season, but never wet or you’ll rot them.
Plant each cutting 1” deep and 12” from each other. Use row planting for efficiency if you have a large garden. Space each row 24” apart or minimize competition.
You can also succession plant by planting one row after the other 1 week apart. This will reduce pest activity and provide extended collection periods to harvest your fruit.
Eggplants will need staking when they get big.
They’re heavy and definitely won’t stand up when bearing fruit. Use stakes that are at least 5 feet tall and 1” thick. Use sturdy twine to tie the cuttings to the stakes. Don’t use a firm grip. Tie them loosely. Don’t use twist ties either.
Eggplants are heavy and therefore will break the plant if they droop too far. Meatal stakes work effectively compared to wooden stakes. You can find these at nurseries or home improvement stores.
Mulch around the plant base to help insular the warm heat for the cooler nights. Mulch also helps kill weeds and provide nutrients. Some mulch provides moisture as well.
Use organic fertilizer for plant food. Compost works well. Feed after the third week, twice a month during summer. 5 inches of compost on each side of the rows will do nicely for fertilization.
Can you grow eggplant indoors at home?
Growing eggplant can be done within the household, but only until the scraps are large enough to be moved outdoors.
If you try to completely grow them inside your house, it’s not going to end well. You’ll end up with disfigured, small, or no yield.
Eggplant needs natural pollination, plenty of sunlight, and a lot of space to grow successfully.
If you’re looking for some vegetable that’s regrowable from cuttings that don’t require to be moved outside, see these:
Can you regrow eggplant from store-bought cuttings?
For successful rooting, you should only use cuttings from grown plants from previous generations or the nursery.
Store-bought scraps may work, but you need to watch out for plant patents, sterilized fruit, or poor-quality fruit.
No matter how you source your initial cuttings, here are some things to look out for:
- Choose eggplant that’s dark purple in color
- If it has leaves, that’s OK
- Check for pest activity
- Ensure the leaves have no damage or jagged points
- The fruit should be shiny, whole, and firm all around with no soft spots
How long does it take to root eggplant cuttings?
The eggplant cuttings will root on their own within 1-3 weeks. It doesn’t take much time for it to root, but sadly, you can’t keep it in the jar because eggplant will need to be moved to the yard.
If you want to direct root in a pot, that’s totally possible. Rooting over water isn’t necessary- it’s just one way to do it.
Can you grow eggplants in pots?
Eggplants can grow container bound, but it needs to be wide enough to accommodate their spacious needs. Get a pot that’s at least 16 inches in diameter with 12 inches depth. You’ll also need a trellis, stake, or equipment for it to climb.
Plant only one plant per container or else they’ll compete for nutrients which results in a smaller yield. The pots should be placed outside so they can get the right amount of light.
Container growing lets you become portable so you can optimize growth.
Too hot? Just relocate it! Too cold? Put it in your garage! Using containers is handy.
You can use basil to fill in the space around the eggplant. Mulch or compost can help fulfill nutrient requirements. Eggplants need well water soil, but not wet.
Don’t overwater or you’ll rot the roots. Container-grown plants need staking just like soil-grown plants. They’ll fall over if you don’t do it.
You may also find these resources helpful on your quest for some juicy eggplant!
Enjoy growing them in your garden!
Eggplant isn’t nearly as popular as other veggies for regrowing like tomatoes, or potatoes!
But it’s one you can regrow if you’re up for the challenge.
Growing it from store-bought cuttings is an interesting little experiment you can try out, though the yields will be smaller unless you have a dedicated farm.
It’s a lot of work for a single plant, but to some people, it’s worth it. Perhaps just for the achievement of regrowing it.
If you have any questions, go ahead and let me know in the comments section.
I’ve always been interested in gardening, but I never took it seriously until I was forcefully gifted an orchid. This was what got me into the hobby and I’ve never looked back. I enjoy writing about it, but not nearly as much as getting into the dirt and sculpting the perfect decorative ornamental to enjoy for the times.