How to Grow White Eggplant

Growing white eggplants in your garden can be a delightful experience both visually and gastronomically. White eggplants, also known as Italian eggplants, are an excellent source of nutrition and offer a unique and milder flavor compared to traditional purple eggplants. These creamy white fruits feature a smoother texture that is less seedy and less bitter, making them versatile in various culinary creations.

To ensure a bountiful harvest of white eggplants from midsummer through fall, it’s essential to provide the right conditions and care. You’ll need to plant them in full sun to partial shade, provide consistent watering, and fertilize them regularly. The ideal soil temperature for planting white eggplants is around 70°F, and the plants require at least 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. By following these tips, you can enjoy a healthy and plentiful supply of delicious white eggplants throughout the growing season.

Selecting the Right Variety

There are a few popular varieties of white eggplant to choose from:

  • Casper: This widely available hybrid produces glossy white egg-shaped fruits that can grow up to 8 inches long. It’s an adaptable plant that thrives in most climates.
  • Ghostbusters is an early producer that yields medium-sized white fruit. This variety is also tolerant of cooler temperatures.
  • White Beauty: As its name suggests, this plant bears stunning white eggplants 4-6 inches long on compact 2-3 foot plants. It’s great for containers.
  • White Star is a classic Italian heirloom that produces pear-shaped, cream-colored fruit. The plant has an open habit with pretty lavender flowers.
  • White Long: long, slender, light green eggplants that can grow up to 12 inches. This one needs a longer growing season.

Most white eggplant varieties will mature in 60–80 days after transplanting. Look for varieties described as early or quick-growing if you have a shorter growing season.

When to Plant

White eggplants love heat, so it’s best to plant them after any chance of frost has passed. They require soil and air temperatures around 70°F to germinate and grow properly.

In most regions, you can transplant seedlings into the garden 2-3 weeks after your last expected frost date. If starting seeds indoors, plant them 8–10 weeks before you plan to move them outside.

You can continue planting white eggplant seedlings every few weeks into midsummer for a prolonged harvest. Just be sure to allow enough time for the fruits to mature before your first fall frost.

Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting Seeds Indoors

Like most eggplants, white varieties are not the easiest to start from seed. Here are some tips for success:

  • Use a seed starter mix and sterile containers. Eggplant seeds are prone to dampening disease.
  • Plant the seeds 1/4–1/2 inch deep. Keep the soil consistently moist but not saturated.
  • Maintain temperatures of at least 70°F. You may need bottom heat from a heat mat or a warm spot near a heating duct.
  • Once sprouted, move seedlings to the brightest, sunniest spot you have or use grow lights.
  • Transplant into the garden after 6–8 weeks when plants have at least 4 true leaves. Harden off first.


White eggplants grow best when transplanted into the garden rather than directly sown. Look for stocky, short-jointed seedlings about 6–12 inches tall. Here are some tips for transplanting:

  • Harden off plants for 7–10 days before transplanting. Slowly introduce them to the sun and wind.
  • Carefully dig up seedlings on a cloudy day. Avoid damaging the roots and stem.
  • Space plants 18–24 inches apart in rows 3 feet apart. Eggplants need good airflow.
  • Water transplants well and provide shade for a few days until they recover from root disturbance.

Providing Sun and Heat

In order to yield well, white eggplants need at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Plants will become spindly, and fruitlets may drop off if they don’t get enough sun.

Eggplants also require consistently warm temperatures between 70 and 85 °F. Nighttime temperatures should not dip below 60°F. Temperatures on the cooler side can stunt growth.

Use fabric row covers, plastic mulch, or cloches to help warm the soil and provide protection from temperature fluctuations. Container-grown eggplants can be moved to sheltered spots or indoors if needed.

Soil Needs

Rich, fertile, and well-draining soil will give white eggplants the best start. They prefer a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8.

Before planting, mix in several inches of compost or other organic matter. You can also use a balanced fertilizer or compost tea to provide nutrients.

Eggplants are heavy feeders and will benefit from additional side dressing fertilizer applied about 4-6 weeks after transplanting. Use an organic or complete fertilizer made for vegetables, following label instructions.

If possible, do a soil test to identify any deficiencies. Common nutritional problems for eggplant include low nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Addressing these can help prevent issues like blossom end rot.

Watering Needs

Consistent moisture is key for white eggplants. Uneven watering can cause bitter or misshapen fruit and blossom ends to rot.

Aim to provide 1-2 inches of water per week from rain or irrigation. The plants need more frequent watering when temperatures exceed 85°F or fruit begins forming.

Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to target the roots. Avoid overhead watering, which can encourage leaf diseases. Mulching around plants helps maintain soil moisture and reduces weeds.

Check soil moisture a few inches down before watering. If the top layers are dry but deeper down they are still damp, hold off until the soil dries out further.

Supporting Growth

Supporting Growth

As fruits swell and ripen, white eggplant branches tend to droop from their weight. Staking, trellising, or caging the plants helps provide support.

Use tall, sturdy stakes and plant ties to help keep plants upright. You can also construct wire cages around plants or an A-frame trellis system. This keeps the fruit from resting on the soil and prevents breakage.

Pinching off the first couple of flowers on transplants encourages sturdy, upright growth. Avoid overcrowding, which causes competition for light and air circulation.

Keeping plants pruned to a central leader also promotes straight vertical growth. Pinch off the fuzzy side shoots in leaf axils to encourage one main stem.

Pollination Needs

Like other eggplant varieties, white eggplant flowers are self-fertile, so they don’t require cross-pollination. But having pollinating insects visit will ensure a good fruit set.

Honeybees, bumblebees, and other native bees all help with pollination. Avoid applying pesticides during flowering, which can deter the bees.

Gently shaking flower clusters or using an electric toothbrush on blossoms once or twice a day helps release pollen and set fruit. Do this midday when pollinators are most active.

Common Pests and Diseases

White eggplants are vulnerable to some common vegetable garden pests and diseases. Here’s how to prevent and manage problems:

Flea beetles: These tiny black jumping beetles chew tiny holes in leaves. Use row covers early on or spray insecticidal soap.

Colorado potato beetles: Both adults and larvae feed on foliage. Handpick adults and larvae, or apply Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Spider mites: These tiny sap-sucking pests cause stippling damage on leaves. Knock it off with a strong spray of water or use insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Verticillium and Fusarium wilt: These soil-borne fungi cause leaves to yellow, wilt, and die. Avoid planting in infected soil, and rotate plant families.

Blossom end rot is caused by inconsistent calcium uptake from water fluctuations. Maintain even moisture and side-dress with calcium fertilizer.

Early blight and anthracnose are fungal issues that start as spots on older leaves and stems and then spread. Improve airflow and use fungicides if needed.

Aphids: These small sap-sucking insects can spread viruses. Blast off with water, use insecticidal soap, or introduce ladybugs or lacewings.

Harvesting Tips

  • Begin checking for harvest-ready fruits 60–80 days after transplanting, depending on the variety.
  • Harvest white eggplants when the fruits are 6–10 inches long with smooth, glossy skin and no visible seeds when cut open. They should feel heavy for their size.
  • Use pruning shears or a sharp knife to cut fruits from the plant, leaving 1-2 inches of stem attached.
  • Handle the fruits carefully to avoid bruising or other damage. Use both hands to lift larger fruits.
  • Eggplants are very perishable. Eat, refrigerate, or cook harvested fruits within 1-2 days. Store at 45–50°F.
  • Leave fruits on the plant as long as possible for maximum flavor and yield. Allow some to mature fully for seed savings.
  • Expect 5–10 fruits per plant. Pick frequently to encourage more production until frost.

Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labor

Now comes the really fun part—eating your homegrown white eggplants! Here are some tasty ways to enjoy them:

  • Slice, bread, and fry eggplant “steaks.”.
  • Dice or cube for ratatouille, caponata, or baba ghanoush.
  • Slice lengthwise and grill, roast, or broil, then drizzle with olive oil.
  • Layer sliced eggplant in veggie lasagnas and casseroles.
  • Stuff halved eggplants with meat, rice, or veggie mixtures.
  • Pure roasted eggplant for a creamy soup or sauce.

Pickle the cubed pieces for an appetizer or sandwich topping.

The mild flavor and texture make white eggplants extremely versatile in the kitchen. They really shine when cooked simply to let their flavor shine through.

Storing Seeds for Next Year

If you want to save seeds from open-pollinated white eggplant varieties, allow a few fruits to overripen completely on the plant until they lose their shine.

Scoop out and rinse the seedy interior, then place it in a jar with some water. Let the mixture ferment for 2-3 days until a film appears on top.

Rinse the seeds again. Spread them on a plate to dry for about a week. Store thoroughly dry seeds in a cool location in a sealed packet or envelope. They should remain viable for four years or more.

When saving seeds, select fruits from your healthiest, best-performing white eggplant plant for the best chance of success next season.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Plants are spindly and falling over: Increase sunlight, use stakes for support, and pinch off early flowers.

Flowers dropping without fruit forming: improper pollination, too much nitrogen fertilizer, temperatures too high or low

Misshapen fruits with dark, dry patches (blossom end rot): inconsistent watering; add calcium to the soil.

Holes in leaves: flea beetles; apply insecticidal soap.

Leaf wilting and death (wilt diseases): avoid planting in the same spot, improve drainage, and destroy infected plants.

Curled leaves with a sticky coating (aphids): blast off with water and apply insecticidal soap.

The white powdery coating on leaves (powdery mildew): increases airflow; use sulfur fungicide.

Leaves with brown spots (early blight, anthracnose): stake plants, remove infected leaves, and apply fungicides.

Fruits rotting on plants (anthracnose, fusarium, verticillium): avoid overhead watering, improve airflow, and rotate plant families.

Poor fruit set: extreme temperatures, improper pollination, and too much nitrogen

Few or no fruits: insufficient sunlight; improper pollination; poor nutrition


How to Grow White Eggplant

Adding white eggplants to your vegetable plot is a great way to expand your culinary horizons. When provided with suitable growing conditions, supportive care, and proper harvesting, these beautiful fruits offer abundant yields. Be sure to select varieties suited to your climate and growing season length. With some attention to sunlight, water, nutrients, and pest prevention, you can enjoy growing your own gourmet white eggplants this season and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. When should I start planting white eggplant seeds indoors?

Start seeds indoors 8–10 weeks before your expected last frost date. Eggplants need time to mature before gardens warm up for transplanting.

  1. Can I grow white eggplants in containers?

Yes, eggplants grow well in large containers at least 15 inches deep. Use a quality potting mix and provide consistent watering and fertilizer.

  1. Why are my eggplant leaves turning yellow?

Yellowing leaves are often caused by stress from improper watering, extreme temperatures, poor nutrition, or diseases like Fusarium wilt. Check soil moisture and drainage along with fertilization.

  1. What causes bitter eggplant fruits?

Hot temperatures, drought stress, and nutrient deficiencies can all cause bitter flavors. Make sure plants get adequate water and nutrition, with temperatures moderated if possible.

  1. How late in the season can I plant eggplants?

You can plant eggplants up to 8 weeks before your first expected fall frost. Any later may not provide enough time for fruits to fully mature.

Bruce Curtis

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