Solanum melongena 'Patio Baby'
Common Name: eggplant 
Type: Annual
Family: Solanaceae
Zone: 9 to 12
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: Purple
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Vegetable
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Eggplants are cold-sensitive and require a long warm season for best results. Plant seeds in sunny warm location in peat pots 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting into garden after all danger of frost is past and night temperatures are consistently at or above 65°F. Eggplant roots are subject to cold damage and plants seldom recover from cold snaps. Plant in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil. Do not permit seedlings or young plants to suffer from low temperature or drought. Mulching between plants is useful. Space plants 18 to 24" apart with 30 to 36" between rows. Plants thrive in the heat of summer. Depending on the size of fruit you wish to harvest, pinch out terminal growth and blossoms to allow up to 6 fruits to mature or allow all fruits to set and harvest when small. For mature fruits, harvest after some color appears but always while fruits still have their glossy shine.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Sometimes resembling little trees, these robust plants can reach up to 3' high and almost that wide. They can have purple-tinged green leaves, drooping violet 1.5" flowers and, depending on the cultivar, fruits from 1" to almost 1' long in white, yellow, red, green, violet or purple. The leaves, stems, and calyx can have small thorns.

Genus name appears to come from the Latin word solamen meaning comfort, solace, or soothing in reference to the purported sedative and healing effects obtained from application of the leaves of some genus plants to cuts, wounds, inflammations or skin problems.

Specific epithet refers to the melon-shaped fruit.

'Patio Baby' is a compact, thornless, productive cultivar of eggplant that only reaches around 2' tall with an equal spread. The glossy, dark purple fruits have thin skins and reach around 2-3" long. This early selection is ready for harvest in 45 days.


Subject to problems similar to other solanaceous crops (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers), including verticillium wilt. Avoid these problems by planting resistant cultivars and rotating with non-solanaceous crops. Flea beetles, tomato hornworms, Colorado potato beetles and cutworms can be problems.


Eggplants can be prepared in many ways -- in stews, roasted or grilled, sauteed, stir-fried, breaded and fried, baked, pickled or stuffed. They can be spectacular centerpieces in large containers and very effective in flower garden settings.

'Patio Baby' makes for an excellent container plant.