Eggplant is another vegetable that can be successfully grown in the Florida warm-season garden. Native to India, eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. It can be grown from seed or transplants. The flowers are self-pollinated, but bees can definitely help.
Eggplants can grow up to six feet tall, and may need to be supported. The leaves are large and coarse, and the stem is often spiny. The eggplant fruit itself is botanically considered a berry, and the fruits vary in size and color. Eggplants are purple, black, white, lavender, or even yellow, and contain many small, soft seeds. The seeds are edible but can be bitter.
Harvest the fruits when they’re glossy. Green- or mahogany-colored fruits are too ripe. Varieties that will thrive in Florida include 'Black Beauty', 'Dusky', 'Long', 'Ichiban', and 'Cloud Nine'.
- Florida Food Fare: Eggplant (PDF)
- Florida Gardening Vegetable Guide
- Produce Pointers: Eggplant (PDF)