Growing Pineapples: Learn About The Care Of Pineapple Plants
I would venture to say that most of us consider pineapples to be a rather exotic, tropical fruit, right? While commercial pineapple cultivation does indeed occur primarily in tropical regions, the great news is that you too can grow pineapple plants in the garden, and it’s easy! Read on to find out how to grow pineapple plants and useful information regarding pineapple plant care.
How to Grow Pineapples
Pineapples are a tropical herbaceous perennial belonging to the bromeliad family. They grow to about 5 feet (approx. 1-1/2 m.) in height with a 3- to 4-foot (91 cm.-1 m.) spread. The idea that pineapples are an exotic, decadent fruit isn’t farfetched. They were first introduced to Europe in the 1700s where they were delicacies of great value sought after only by the very wealthy.
Growing pineapples really is very simple. Because of their tough leaves, they lose little water through evaporation. They have small root systems like other bromeliads, and are not fussy about the quality or quantity of their soil. Due to this, they make excellent container grown plants, especially nice for those of us whose climate is less than tropical. If you do live in a warmer region, growing pineapple plants in the garden is a match made in heaven.
To start growing pineapples, you’ll either need the top of a store-bought pineapple or if you know someone that is growing their own, ask for a sucker or slip. If you’re using the top of a purchased pineapple, make sure to remove all the fruit pulp as well as the small bottom leaves. Remove the small leaves from the bottom of the suckers too. Just pull them off.
Then, simply dig a shallow hole in the garden or in a pot and plunk the top or sucker into it. Choose a sunny spot, if possible, although pineapples will grow in dappled shade. Firm the soil around the base, and if the soil is dry, give the plant some water.
If you are planting multiple pineapples, give them at least a foot between each plant. Be sure not to plant them in an area that gets standing water or tends to be soggy.
That’s it really. The care of pineapple plants is just as simple.
Care of Pineapple Plants
Pineapples are fairly drought tolerant and can thrive with very little water. If you are in a low water area, or if you never remember to water your plants, a thick layer of mulch should be incorporated to reduce evaporation. You might also want to consider growing your pineapples in a slightly shaded area, especially if you live in a tropical or sub-tropical area.
If, however, you live in a region with plentiful rain, that’s okay too. If you have the pineapple in a pot, be sure it has well-draining soil and drainage holes. Don’t drown the pineapple by overwatering though!
Additional pineapple plant care is minimal. Pineapple leaves uptake most of their nutrition. For the first few months after planting, just leave the plant alone — no fertilizer, that is. After that, you can use liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or seaweed extract. Make a diluted solution and use a watering can to apply to the soil and the leaves. Stay away from artificial or concentrated fertilizers, which can burn the plant.
If you use chicken manure, sprinkle it on the soil at the base of the plant and into the bottom leaves. The color of the leaves will be a telltale sign of whether or not to feed the plant. If they get a reddish/purple tinge, it’s time to feed the pineapple.
The ideal way to feed your pineapple is to incorporate compost into the soil prior to planting and mulch heavily around the plant. Some of the mulch/compost will end up in the lower leaves as well as around the shallow root system, and as it breaks down, it will nourish the plant.
The only other thing to pay attention to is if you live in a cooler climate. If so, then you probably have the pineapple outdoors in a pot. Be sure to move the plant inside in an area with lots of sun as the weather begins to cool. Pineapples are no match for frost, so move it inside well before the weather turns.
How to Care for a Tropical Pineapple Plant
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a delicious fruit that is most commonly seen in most parts of the United States only in grocery stores. Pineapples are suitable for growing in the warm climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10a and above, but in cooler zones. they can be grown indoors. If you're growing a pineapple, plant care is important because these plants need the full sun and heat of the tropics to develop into healthy plants.
3 Methods for Growing Pineapples
Method 1: Starting a Pineapple From a Top Cutting
Starting a pineapple from a green top is possibly the cheapest and easiest way to begin. Buy a well-ripened fruit with the healthiest looking top you can find. Some rough leaves are okay, but try to find the best one of the lot. Simply remove the top by grasping the fruit in one hand and the top in the other and twisting it off in one steady motion (like wringing out a towel). Remove the lower half dozen or so leaves from the bottom of the green shoot, then set it aside and allow it to "cure," or dry out, for about a week. Set the top in a shallow bowl of warm water. Change the water every few days, and observe as roots grow over the next few weeks. Then plant the cured pineapple top in a 10-inch pot filled with a coarse potting mix, and fertilize it with a balanced liquid fertilizer (shower the liquid right over the top). The plant will grow indoors like a tropical houseplant with moderate light and can be moved outdoors in warm weather.
Growing Plants From Produce Scraps
How to Propagate Vegetables
9 Plants You Can Start From Kitchen Scraps
Method 2: Buying a Pineapple Plant
Photo by: Shutterstock/EQRoy
Pineapple plants may be available in your local garden center or there are also sources online. When growing pineapples, remember that their roots do not like to stay wet. In fact, they like similar soil conditions as cacti: well drained and on the dry side, but with an acidic pH of 4.5-6.5. To determine when to water, the soil should be dry and you should check inside the junctions where the leaves meet the plant. If there is water in those little pockets, then skip watering. If there is no water, then water over the top of the plant. Fertilize monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer (5-5-5, 10-10-10, etc.) mixed according to the manufacturer's directions, and showered over the plant just like a normal watering.
Method 3: Starting Pineapples From Seed
To start a pineapple from seed, you will first have to obtain the seed. Occasionally there will be seeds in a store-bought pineapple. Buy a yellow-ripe fruit. As you cut the fruit, look for the small black seeds about three-eighths of an inch in from the outside edge. Rinse the seeds. Germinate the seeds by lightly wrapping them in a wet paper towel and placing it in a plastic zipper bag. Keep the bag in a constantly warm (65-75 degrees F) place. It takes about six months for the seeds to sprout, at which time the baby plants can be carefully planted in temporary growing containers (1-2 quart size) where they can be babied until they are large enough to plant in the garden or a permanent larger pot.
Growing a Pineapple From Tops
- Slice the spiky top so there is not fruit flesh left on the base.
- From around the base, you will need to remove the small bottom leaves until you have about one to two inches of exposed stalk. Pluck the leaves off by hand. Do not cut them off.
- Before you plant the pineapple top, you will need to let it dry for a day or two. By doing this it will allow the cut end to callous. They will reduce the risk of root rot and helps the plant to grow better.
- Dig a small hole and plant the top. Make sure that it is straight and does not fall over. Make sure the leaves are not covered by the soil.
The plants need to be grown in a light, aerated potting mix or you can make your own combining equal amounts of perlite and sand. When you plant it, make sure that the potting soil is just up to the base of the leaves. Water it thoroughly and then put it in a sunny place but make sure that it is protected from the direct sunlight.
Until the roots appear you will need to keep the soil moist but not too damp for the next few weeks. The roots should start to develop over the next six to eight weeks. After the roots develop, it will need more light at least six hours each day. Make sure that you water it only after the soil has dried out.
You can transfer the pineapple plant to a sunny outdoor spot after the roots have developed or you can continue growing in a container. Never let your plant sit in waterlogged, soggy soil or it could develop root rot. The plant will die then.
How Long Does It Take to Produce a Pineapple
1- If you plant a pineapple crown you should wait for a little over two years before you see any fruit.
2- If you plant a sapling you will be eating pineapple in 16 months.
It will be a long wait, but it’s worth it.
It is not hard to grow pineapples but you have to have patience as it can take almost two years from planting to having a pineapple that is ready to eat. Pineapples are easy and fun to grow from their tops. Once you have a plant, then you can harvest the suckers and soon you will have plenty of pineapples/
The pineapple is a perennial or biennial plant, which means that the plant can live for two or more years. It might seem like a hassle to get pineapples to start growing and also the long wait until they are ripe but it is well worth the wait. When growing pineapples, it is a way to create your tropical vacation without leaving home.