Eggplant, Shooting Stars
An excellent choice for containers, the garden or both.
Days To Maturity
8-12 weeks BLF
Plant Shipping Information
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How to Sow and Plant
- Sow eggplant seeds indoors 8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit.
- Sow seeds ¼ inch deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Eggplants should be set 2-3 feet apart in a row with the rows spaced 3-4 feet apart.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.
- Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
- Eggplants may also be planted in containers. Use a container at least 18-24 inches wide and deep and use a commercial potting mix rather than garden soil.
How to Grow
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for tomatoes as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvesting and Preserving Tips
- Pick regular-sized eggplants at 4-5 inches long, 60-70 days after transplanting into the garden. Look for firm fruits, with a glossy shine. Dull skin is a sign that the plants are overripe. Overripe fruit turn brownish and the flavor may be bitter.
- Hold firmly at the blossom end and cut with a knife or pruners. When cutting the fruit, leave 1 inch of stem attached. Eggplants are prickly at the stem end so handle with care.
- Use eggplants immediately after harvesting. If you would like to freeze some for later use, cook the fruit first and then freeze.
- Eggplant makes a great substitute for meat in many dishes.
Days To Maturity57 daysFruit Size8 inchesSunFull SunSpread20 inchesHeight30 inchesSow MethodIndoor SowPlanting TimeSpringSow Time8-12 weeks BLFThin24 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Eggplant, Shooting Stars is rated out of 5 by 5.Rated 5 out of 5 by FarmerMary from Gorgeous Eggplant! I Grew this variety along with 3 others (Black Beauty, Early Midnight and Purple Rain) and it out-performed the other 3 combined. So far, I have harvested 6 beautiful, 1 lb fruits from this plant, and there are still a half-dozen more, 1 almost ready to be cut and the rest from gumball size up to a week or so from harvest. Since it is September, I doubt that all the flowers and tiny fruits will ripen, but I hope to get at least 3-4 more fruits. Your description says 3"-4" fruits, but mine are at least 6-7" long and 4-5" wide. Also the plant is about 5 feet tall and as vigorous as can be. This one will definitely be in my garden next year, along with Black Beauty and Early Midnight. I won't get Purple Rain next year, as I only got 2 fruits from that plant. All in all, it was a good eggplant year for me.Date published: 2015-09-06Rated 5 out of 5 by OutdoorAnnie from Very Pleased With This Eggplant! I grew "Shooting Stars" eggplant in a container. It was my first time trying this variety. It didn't fruit prolifically; I had a total of about 6 fruits on the plant. They were a nice oval size - small, but not too small - with a lovely coloring. They had a nice flavor when cooked. I peeled them, cut them into chunks, and added them to homemade sauce. It was delicious! I also sauteed cut up pieces with onions and peppers as a side dish. Next year I will make sure to buy more than one plant so I have more fruit to work with. I recommend this plant!Date published: 2014-09-21Rated 4 out of 5 by LadyMidwest from Surprize Star First time I have grown any eggplant & Shooting Stars is a pleasent surprise. The fruits are so pretty and the taste is very good & the skins are not tough. The plant is of a neat & tidy size not sprawling. I will be growing this lovely next year.Date published: 2014-09-17Rated 5 out of 5 by Herbalist from Pretty AND Palatable Even though I grew this beauty in a self-watering tub, my one plant produced prolifically for months. Fruit was slow to turn seedy, had skin so thin there was no need for peeling, and was the ideal size for a 2-person household. "Shooting Stars" is so perfect that my neighbor picked up one I had in a bowl of fresh-picked fruit and vegetables on the table because she thought it was artificial and was amazed to find it real. I'll definitely grow this variety again!Date published: 2013-09-01Rated 5 out of 5 by CaitlinsCrops from Great Eggplants! This was one of the funnest vegetables I've ever watched grow. It's absolutely gorgeous in the garden! Just give it plenty of space. I used a small tomato cage for support.Date published: 2013-08-10