Life Style

How to Properly Prune Eggplant

Eggplants require some fairly specific growing conditions, but keeping them pruned all season long ensures delicious, ripe fruits! Discover how!
gardener pruning eggplant in garden..READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶▶▶

If you’re on the hunt for a fruit ideal for grilling, making dips, and adding to a summer garden, look no further than the eggplant. They thrive in warm temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit and grow well when given six or more hours of sunlight daily. They enjoy moist, well-drained soil and are hardy in zones 9 to 12.

Eggplants also require specific care to reach their full potential. If the plant is not properly maintained and pruned, it produces low yields or grows underdeveloped fruit. So, if you are growing eggplant in your garden this season, learn how to correctly prune your plant to effectively grow ripe, tasty fruits!

Materials Needed
Green gardening shears

Very few tools are required when it comes to pruning eggplant. Clean your pruning shears between each pruning to prevent the spread of disease. An effective method is to wipe the blades of your shears with a Lysol wipe after each use to disinfect your shears without causing harm to the blade or plant. You can also use baking soda or even milk.

Clean pruning shears
Gardening gloves

Step 1: Pinch off New Flowers
Eggplant flower

Depending on the climate, eggplant can be transplanted outdoors in or around June. Depending on the variety, it’s ready to harvest anywhere from 65 to 80 days after transplanting or 100 to 120 days if you start from seed.

Eggplants begin to grow purple, star-shaped flowers six to eight weeks after transplanting.

You need to pinch off the first batch that appears as soon as you spot them. Doing this prevents your plant from fruiting too early and encourages it to divert its energy into growing deeper roots and strong stems. Using your thumb and index finger, grab the flower at its base, where it connects with the plant’s stem. Then, twist off from the plant.

You only need to do this process with the first batch of flowers. After this step, new buds will form, producing eggplant ready to brave the growing season.

Step 2: Remove Lower Leaves

As your plant develops plenty of green foliage, be ready to snip away the leaves closest to the ground. Begin this step as soon as your plant begins to flower. This step encourages sunlight and airflow, which helps keeps the environment dry and free from humidity in which diseases thrive.

In addition, similar to removing new flowers, removing lower leaves encourages your plant to divert its energy toward growing strong stems and large fruit. Identify the leaves closest to the ground and any that appear brown and dying off. To remove them, grab your clean pruning shears. Snip off the leaves as close to the stem’s base as possible.

Step 3: Remove Suckers

Like tomatoes, as eggplants mature and produce foliage roughly six to eight weeks after transplanting, they also produce suckers (also known as shoots). Suckers are growths that originate from the base of your plant or between where the stem joins a branch. When left alone, suckers are intended for propagation purposes, but they also divert energy away from essential fruit production. Removing suckers as you see them appear helps ensure optimal plant growth, including high yields and full-size fruits.

Pinch suckers off using your thumb and index finger. If you prefer, snip them off at their base using clean pruning shears.

Step 4: Pinch off New Blooms Before the First Frost
Eggplant and flower

Keep an eye on the forecast toward the end of the growing season. Eggplants are sensitive to cooler temperatures below 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit and won’t grow new fruit when the frost arrives, around September or October.

Fruit grow where you see new blooms. Pinch off these new blooms to redirect the plant’s energy from growing new fruit that won’t ripen before the first frost. This way, the plant directs its energy to growing the existing eggplant.

Remove new blooms roughly four weeks before the first frost arrives. To do this, use your thumb and index finger, grab the flower where it connects with the plant’s stem, and twist off. Alternatively, use your clean pruning shears to cut below the base of the blossom.

Step 5: Harvest Young
Mature eggplant in garden

Depending on the variety, eggplants are ready to harvest anywhere from 65 to 80 days after transplanting or 100 to 120 days if you start from seed. Encourage your plant to produce high yields by harvesting fruits as soon as they are ready. If temperatures are still optimal, picking eggplant young and often encourages new and plentiful fruit production. Plus, the longer you wait to harvest, the more bitter the fruit tastes.

To spot an eggplant ready to harvest and eat, investigate its skin for clues. Gently press your finger on the fruit’s skin. If it doesn’t rebound, it’s ready to harvest. In addition, the skin of ripe fruit is glossy and smooth.

To harvest, wear gardening gloves and use pruning shears to snip close to the stem, just above the cap on the top of your eggplant.
Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor!

Even though eggplant requires specific growing conditions and maintenance to produce high-yielding crops, you can serve up the best baba ghanoush on the block knowing that your eggplants were tended to with the right amount of pruning.

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