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Why Does Eggplant Stop Growing?

To understand how we grew eggplant into winter, watch this clip.

Why Eggplant Stops Growing

If you grow eggplant and try to stretch your growing season you will eventually notice that production will slow. This isn’t because the plant is dying. Instead, it’s likely going into a conservation phase.

Eggplant can be grown as a perennial, meaning you can grow and harvest from it for years. Most people will see in-season fruit production noticeably slow after 3 years though.

Despite this, in the off-season (aka, colder times of the year) your eggplant will stop growing as well, even if it has many years of life left. This is because it’s sensitive to cold weather. Eggplant prefers soil temperatures in the 70s and 80s. If your soil temperature dips to 60, this sends a signal to the plant to conserve.

Essentially, it’s afraid it may die from cold weather, or any seeds from the fruit it drops won’t be able to germinate in the cooler weather. (Most seeds like warm temperatures to germinate).

If you see this happening and know that you will continue to get cooler weather for an extended time (even here in Orlando, January and February will have nights consistently in the 50s and sometimes 40s and 30s), you’ll want to overwinter your eggplant. (Bryan explains above and in more detail in this video link.)

Overwintering involves removing all of the fruit and flowers and pruning the plant back to have about 3-4 main stems. If you don’t get freezing weather, just leave the plant in your garden and it will start growing when the temperatures are right. If you do get freezing weather, carefully dig it up, pot it, and bring it inside where it can stay warm, while still getting light. When temperatures outside warm up, replant it in your garden to start its next season of growth.

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