Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Ichiban Eggplant

Ichiban eggplant

Ichiban eggplant

Ichiban eggplant

Ichiban eggplant

Gardeners agree that Ichiban is one of the best-tasting, thin-skinned eggplant varietals. This delicious Japanese eggplant grows quickly with fruits that are 10 inches long, and 1 to 2 inches in diameter. This deep purple fruit is popular among chefs because of its sweet mild taste. Ichiban eggplant likes warm weather, like all eggplants, but does well in cooler climates and will produce into the fall season. You’ll need an eggplant cage for this one. It may only grow about two feet, but it produces a lot of fruit, which will need support. Ichiban eggplant also thrives in containers, especially in cooler climates.

Days to maturity

  • 50 days

Sun Exposure

  • full sun

Soil pH

  • 6.2 to 6.8

Hardiness Zones

  • zones 4 to 10


  • plants: 18 inches
  • rows: 24 to 36 inches


  • 1 inch per week

Sow Indoors

  • eight before planting

Transplant Outdoors

  • two to three weeks after last frost
  • once soil is consistently 50 degrees F
  • harden by reducing water and temperature to 60 degrees F for one week before transplanting
  • use row covers for best success, to keep soil warm, and remove once plants blossom


  • prefers moist, well-drained soil
  • mulch can help eggplants keep warm and boost growth
  • needs stakes and/or eggplant cages
  • clipping fruits encourages more production

Have you ever grown Ichiban eggplants? Please tell us about your experiences.


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