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SOLANUM melongena 'Listada de Gandia'

Image of Solanum melongena 'Listada de Gandia'

James H. Schutte

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

SOLANUM melongena 'Listada de Gandia'

Plant Common Name

Eggplant, Italian Striped Eggplant, Listada de Gandia Eggplant

General Description

This fantastic Spanish heirloom is one of the prettiest eggplants you can grow. It originates from the city of Gandia, just south of Valencia on the Mediterranean coast, and produces an abundant crop of large, oval fruits uniformly speckled and streaked with purple and white with mild, white flesh. Fruits are borne in profusion on compact but vigorous plants. The harvest season begins 125 days after sowing seeds, or 80 to 90 days from robust seedlings. Harvest fruits when perfectly colored, 8 inches (20 centimeters) and firm. When summer temperatures heat up, ripe 'Listada de Gandia' fruits may attain pale yellow streaking rather than white.

Eggplant is an easy, warm-season vegetable that’s well worth the effort. Though perennial in its native Africa and Asia, most gardeners grow it as an annual vegetable crop. The felty green leaves of eggplant sometimes have a purplish hue and appear on bushy, upright plants. When temperatures and warm and accommodating, star-shaped lavender flowers with protruding yellow anthers appear on mature plants followed by fruit. For best flavor and smaller seeds, pick the fruits just before they reach full size. Size varies from cultivar to cultivar; some fruits are “baby” sized and others very large. It pays to pick fruit at the peak of perfection; overripe plants develop dull, soft skin and flesh and an unpalatable taste, and under ripe fruits tend to have tough, bitter skin.

Like many warm-season vegetables, eggplant grows best in full sun and light, rich garden loam. Feed and water regularly for best performance and harvest. The fruits can become quite heavy, so it is wise to stake the plants. Floating row covers, pyrethrin sprays and/or insecticidal soap will help provide protection from flea beetles, which otherwise will ravage or even kill plants. These tiny, shiny, black bugs are the most prevalent eggplant pest. They chew lots of small, poked holes in the leaves, which weaken plants and diminish yields. Eggplant is strictly a summer crop in temperate gardens but in tropical and sub-tropical regions, it is grown in fall and even winter gardens. If starting plants from seed, start indoors several weeks before planting, and plant outdoors two weeks after the danger of frost has passed.

Eggplants are best eaten sautéed, roasted or in casseroles or stews. Most cultivars have tough, leathery skin that should be removed before cooking. If provided good care, a single plant will produce lots of fruits for moussaka, eggplant parmigiana, or ratatouille.

Most eggplants are bred for eating, but some are highly ornamental and will also add interest to flower gardens or containers.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    10 - 12

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Width

    1'-2' / 0.3m - 0.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Africa, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    White, Purple

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Bicolor, Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes