How Long Do Eggplant Plants Live?

Most eggplant cultivars are grown as annuals and thus live for only a single year. In such cases, the plants die immediately after harvesting the eggplant fruits. Eggplant can be grown as a perennial, in which case it will live for about 3 years but this is uncommon. Healthy eggplants are short-lived even in ideal circumstances, so don’t plant eggplants if you want a plant with a long lifespan. Consider other nightshade family plants like tomato plants if you want a plant that can surprise you by living several healthy years.

How long do eggplant plants live?

How Many Years Does an Eggplant Plant Produce Fruit?

Eggplants usually grow for only a single year before dying. This member of the nightshade family is one of the shorter-lived fruit plants. If you live in a tropical climate, the eggplant may produce fruit for 2–3 years. These purple fruits will ripen July through October.

  • Eggplants produce fruit every year they’re alive.
  • Most eggplants will only live a single year.
  • In rare cases, eggplants can live up to 3 years.

A single plant can yield 6–20 ripe eggplants in a single season. If growing eggplant in pots, this yield will generally be smaller than if grown outdoors. There is also the popular Japanese eggplant which can have slightly different yield sizes. Be sure to harvest your eggplants before fruit rot sets in. 

Do Eggplants Come Back Every Year?

Eggplant plants can come back every year but they usually won’t. Eggplants rarely survive long past the harvest months. A perennial plant eggplant is a rarity outside of tropical climates. 

  • Eggplants can come back every year in ideal, tropical conditions.
  • Most eggplants die after their first harvest.
  • The longest-lived eggplants only live for 3 years.

If you live outside of the tropics, it’s best to consider your eggplants as annuals. If you do live in the tropics, take care to try to increase the longevity of your beautiful eggplants. Be sure to provide all the attention and care they need to grow healthy and strong.

How Do You Increase Your Eggplant Yield?

One way to increase your eggplant fruit harvest is through judicious pruning. Eggplants usually develop where the stem forks off in two or more directions. However, if you prune off eggplant leaves below the fork, you can encourage more fruit development lower down. Use a sharp knife or gardening shears to trim off the leaves. You’ll also want to remove dying or yellow leaves. This will allow your plant to focus more energy on fruit development. Use these gardening shears to easily remove any dying or obstructive leaves.

  • Prune off eggplant leaves at select locations to encourage more eggplants to grow.
  • A single plant can produce up to 20 eggplants in a single season.
  • Take proper care of eggplant seedlings and provide ideal growing conditions to ensure healthy mature plants.

Other than that, the only way to increase yield is by providing ideal growing conditions. Make sure your eggplant plants are well cared for from the time they are eggplant seeds to fruiting. All eggplant varieties will need 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water per week, 6 hours of direct sunlight, and sandy loam soils.

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Can Eggplant Plants Get Too Old?

Most eggplant plants simply won’t live long enough to become too old. Perennial eggplants will start to age out of fruit bearing by 3 years. It’s uncommon for them to live long beyond that. 

  • Eggplants simply do not live long enough to get old.
  • In regions with winter frost, eggplants will die during the first winter.
  • Worry more about frost damage to your eggplants than old age.

You should worry less about your eggplants getting too old than you should about the danger of frost. Cold weather, spring frost, or any low daytime temperatures can easily kill any variety of eggplants. Be sure to provide overhead frost protection and ensure moist soil. This will help protect your eggplant from chances of frost death. 

Can You Revive an Eggplant Plant?

It’s generally very difficult to revive this plant since they don’t often live long enough to fully recover. However, reintroducing ideal growing conditions can help your eggplant plant bounce back. The best conditions for eggplant growth include:

  • Warm soil temperature.
  • Hot weather and warm climates (preferably tropical).
  • Sandy loam garden soil.
  • An inch of water per week to keep the soil moist.
  • Full sun (6 hours of direct sunlight each day).
  • Balanced fertilizer.
  • A layer of organic matter as mulch.

If you meet these conditions, most eggplant varieties will bounce back from disease issues or inconsistent watering. Make sure you provide well-drained soil for your eggplant. Use this balanced fertilizer to give your eggplant all the nutrients it needs.

What is the Lifespan of an Eggplant Plant?

Most eggplant plants will only live for a single year. While some can be grown as perennials, they will still fail to live longer than 3 years. Let’s go over the key eggplant facts we covered in this article:

  • Most eggplants will only live for 1 year.
  • Some eggplants can live up to 3 years in ideal circumstances.
  • You can increase your eggplant yield through careful pruning.
  • Eggplants need proper soil moisture and abundant sunlight.
  • Eggplants cannot get too old but they can easily die of frost damage or other cool weather.
  • Revive failing eggplants by introducing ideal growing conditions like rich soil and organic fertilizers.

Eggplants are typically grown as annuals. It’s best to plan for your eggplant to produce fruit for one year, then die. So, you can grow them on the same cycle as squash, zucchini, and pumpkins.

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