Heat-Tolerant Eggplant Varieties



'Nadia' Egglpant

'Nadia' Eggplant Variety: Not So Good with Heat

Leading up to 2012, we had tried lots of different eggplants for yield and flavor, finally settling on Nadia as our favorite. The summer of 2012 was hot, and we discovered 'Nadia' eggplant has trouble setting fruit in hot weather. How hot are we talking about? We're in central Virginia, winter plant hardiness Zone 7a, and AHS heat Zone 7.

You can access state heat zone maps and a key to the zones here. There are 12 zones on the map, indicating the average number of days each year that each region has "heat days" – those with temperatures over 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30C). That is the temperature at which plants start to suffer physiological damage from the heat.

Heat Zone 1 has only 1 day each year above 86 degrees F. Zone 5 has 30 to 45 days, Zone 6 has 45 to 60 days, Zone 7 has 60-90 days above 86 degrees F. Well, quite a few were a deal hotter than 86F. Personally, I find a big difference between days over 90F and those over 95F.

We were disappointed to have to go back to the drawing board to find a variety with better heat tolerance. With climate change rolling in, we decided it really would be wise to prepare for more hot summers and trial some heat-tolerant eggplant varieties. We ruled out unusual shapes and colors, because what we have a demand for is the classic "teardrop oval" eggplant shape in classic purple-black.

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