Aubergine 'Ivory F1' is a beautiful miniature eggplant that produces fruit that are oval in shape, white skinned and grow to about the size of an egg. It is a unique variety bred specifically for container production. Its compact habit makes it a perfect choice for mixed flower and vegetable planters.
Traditional eggplants can be tall and require staking and are difficult to handle at times as they are thorny. 'F1 Ivory' stays compact, does not require staking and is thornless unless stressed, making it much easier to handle and harvest.
These smaller fruited varieties are easily grown in containers. Make sure your container is large enough and keep it well watered. In cooler climates, growing aubergines in containers is a good option as they can be moved to a protected spot whenever a cold spell threatens.
Aubergine 'F1 Ivory' is an early maturing variety that produces creamy-white, oval shaped fruits that grow to 15cm (6in) long, with creamy white flesh and firm white skin. It is a compact well branching variety with fruits averaging around 80 grams in weight. It crops heavily on predominantly spineless plants.
The fruits can be picked from August onwards, or when fruits are at least about 15cm (6in) long and the skin surface is still shiny, once they lose the shine they start to become bitter. The ideal variety for pots and containers.
Aubergine 'F1 Ivory' is very ornamental and tasty the plants have purple flowers and silvery grey foliage that make this an attractive plant even from an early stage. The plants grow to a height of 55cm (22in) and a spread of 45cm (18in). They are well suited to growing in containers or in open ground in a warm sunny location and will grow easily in a greenhouse or tunnel. The ivory smooth fruits mature in just 60 to 65 days from transplant.
Popular in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. Try serving them grilled, roasted, or stir-fried. Delicious when sliced in half and baked with oil and herbs.
Sowing: Sow January to April for growing under glass or March to April for planting outdoors
Whilst Aubergine is a Tender Perennial, it is cultivated as an Annual.
Seeds are typically started eight to ten weeks prior to the anticipated frost-free date.
Soaking the seeds overnight may help germination.
Sow 6mm (¼in) deep into 9cm pots containing a moist seed compost and “just cover” with a sprinkling of compost or vermiculite (do not exclude light as this helps germination)
Place in a propagator or warm place, and keep at a constant temperature of 20 to 25°C (68-77°F). Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination will take between 8 to 21 days Transplant seedlings carefully while quite small into 15cm (5in) pots and grow on at 18-21°C (65-70°F).
For Outdoor Crops:
Acclimatise plants to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days. Plant out into sheltered site when all risk of frost has passed and the soil is warm. Plant 45cm (18in) apart in rows 90 to 120cm (3 to 4ft) apart. Aubergines grow well outside, but need gradual acclimatising to the more varied conditions.
A brilliant tip for this: enclose a block of plants, spaced about 60cm (2ft) apart in each direction, within a box of straw bales. These provide a brilliantly cheap but effective windbreak. If a cold night is forecast, simply drape fleece over the bales and anchor it with bricks.
For Greenhouse Crops:
Grow as above, but transplant into in 20cm (8in) pots or growing bags.
Stake as you would for tomatoes. Provide plenty of water, especially in dry weather.
Black plastic mulch is helps to warm the soil, prevent weeds and conserve moisture.
Feed every 14 days with high potash (tomato) fertiliser once the first fruits have set. Cease feeding when fruits are fully formed. Mist the foliage regularly with tepid water to discourage red spider mite and to help flower set.
The flowers are relatively unattractive to bees and the first blossoms often do not set fruit. Hand pollination will improve the set of the first blossoms. Tap flowers daily to assist pollination. Remove the main tip/growing point when plants are 30cm (12in) high.
Harvest: 75 days to harvest
First harvests can be made from the early sowings from July onwards. Harvest at their desired size, but while fruits are still shiny and young. Fruits are typically cut from the vine just above the calyx owing to the semi-woody stems.
Pick regularly or plants will need further support to support the weight of the fruit.
Freezing is the best method for home preservation.
Harvest before seeds become mature and when colour is uniformly dark.
Although we think of aubergines as being a vegetable they are technically a fruit. This is because the aubergine we eat is the ripened ovary of the flower.
Other fruits disguised as vegetables include the tomato, peppers, courgette and closely related to the courgette, the cucumber, pumpkin and squash.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 10 Seeds Common Name Patio Eggplant Other Common Names Apple of Love, Poor Man's Caviar. Other Language Names Brinjal, Melongene, Guinea Squash Family Solanaceae Genus Solanum Species melongena Cultivar F1 Ivory Hardiness Tender Perennial Height 55cm (22in) Spread 45cm (18in) Spacing Outdoors: Plant 45cm (18in) apart in rows 90 to 120cm (3 to 4ft) apart.
Greenhouse: Transplant into in 20cm (8in) pots or growing bags.
Position Full Sun Time to Sow January to April for growing under glass or March to April for planting outdoors Germination 8 to 21 days at 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F) Harvest Harvest at their desired size, but while fruits are still shiny and young. Time to Harvest 78 Days Notes Cultivated as an Annual