Do you know how to grow a pineapple? Contrary to popular belief, pineapples don’t actually grow in trees. These tasty, tropical fruits have an incredibly curious growth habit which makes them an exciting challenge for many gardeners.
Pineapples have quite the aesthetic appeal too. In fact, pineapple plants can make for an eye-catching houseplant in the first few years of growth.
Are you interested in trying your hand at growing some pineapples at home? Here's everything you need to know on how to grow a pineapple from cultivation, care and growth.
How Do Pineapples Grow?
As pineapples are readily available at most grocery stores, many people are disillusioned as to how this fabulous fruit comes about. Native to South America, pineapples or Ananas Comosus is, in fact, a type of bromeliad.
As such, the plant comprises a short stem, with rosettes of long, stiff leaves. In the centre of the rosettes is where the pineapple fruit grows. The pineapple plant is incredibly intricate, and the fruit it produces is particularly delicious and nutritious.
As these plants require a good amount of warmth and sunlight to produce fruit, many gardeners opt to begin growing their pineapple plant as a houseplant to be moved outdoors in the summer.
Ideal conditions for pineapples include USDA zones 11 and 12.
How Long Does It Take to Grow a Pineapple
In commercial plantations, the growth cycle of the pineapple is anywhere between 32 and 46 weeks. However, when grown at home, this may take slightly longer, especially if conditions are sub-optimal.
Unfortunately, pineapple plants only produce one fruit per plant, and once the fruit has been produced will die.
How to Grow A Pineapple
There are a few ways in which you can begin growing pineapples at home. Nonetheless, the growth conditions will be the same for each style of propagation.
Pineapples will need a lot of sunlight to fruit. Ideally, you’ll want to pick a spot with full-day sun. However, partly shaded areas will suffice, as long as your pineapple plant is getting at least 6 hours of light per day.
More so, pineapple plants enjoy loose, well-draining soil. So, avoid any soils which tend to hold on to a lot of moisture. A peat, sand and perlite mix should do the trick.
How to Plant a Pineapple
While you can grow a pineapple from seed, this process can be quite lengthy. Most gardeners opt to propagate their pineapple plant from a pineapple top, from a slip.
How to Plant a Pineapple Top
You can propagate a new pineapple plant from any pineapple bought at your local grocery store. It is recommended to choose a pineapple that is evenly ripe and has lots of leaves.
Be sure to prepare a small pot with a well-draining soil mixture before planting. Here’s how to plant a pineapple top:
- Step 1. Using a sharp blade, carefully slice off the crown of the pineapple. Gently cut back the flesh around the stem. This will inhibit the growth of mold or fungus.
- Step 2. Cut into the stalk until a small ring of brown dots becomes visible. This will be where the roots begin to form.
- Step 3. Remove the leaves around the lower part of the stem.
- Step 4. Allow the stem to dry out completely before planting.
- Step 5. Once dry, dip into a rooting hormone and plant into your soil mixture.
- Step 5. Water sparingly. Once roots have developed, you can transplant them into a larger container or into your garden.
Growing Pineapple from a Slip
Another propagation method for pineapple is to remove a slip from the bottom of any pineapple. Simply remove the sharp, leafed area at the base of the fruit. Then, follow the same planting guidelines as with the pineapple crown.
How to Grow a Pineapple from a Sucker
Should you already have an existing pineapple plant, you have the possibility to grow a new plant from suckers. Suckers are the smaller green shoots that grow between the leaves.
These can affect the growth of fruit, so it is a good idea to remove them anyway. Here’s what you’ll need to do:
- Step 1. Using a sharp, clean blade, locate the base of the sucker and cut it loose.
- Step 2. Allow the cut end of the sucker to dry out completely.
- Step 3. Dip the end into a rooting hormone and plant into a well-draining soil mix.
How to Care for Pineapple Plants
Once planted, your pineapple plant will only need some moderate attention and care. As pineapples don’t like having wet feet, watering should only be done every 6 to 8 weeks.
Using a soaker hose is a great option to give the soil sufficient moisture without waterlogging.
Here is our review on the best garden hose on the market.
During the beginning growth stages, it is also recommended to support your pineapple plant with a good amount of nutrients.
Adding some dry fertilizer to the soil every 6 to 8 weeks is best. Once established, consider using a 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Pruning should be avoided at all costs. Damaged leaves can affect fruit production, so ideally, you won’t want to remove leaves before fruiting after fruiting slips can be removed.
How to Harvest Pineapples
You’ll know your pineapple is ready for harvest once it begins to yellow. Ideally, it should have a firm shell and still be slightly soft when you squeeze it.
To harvest, use a sharp blade and cut through at the base of the pineapple where the stalk joins the base of the plant.
You can then leave your pineapple to ripen in a cool, dry area or in your fridge. Should your pineapple seem to be ripe already, you can enjoy it straight away.
Do Pineapple Plants Like Coffee Grounds?
Many fruiting plants enjoy nitrogen-rich soils. Adding coffee grounds to your soil is a great way to give it that nitrogen boost. Your pineapple plant will thank you for it.
How Many Pineapples Can You Get from One Plant?
Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to get one fruit per plant. Luckily, however, most plants will produce suckers which you can use to propagate a new plant.
Can You Grow Pineapples in Winter?
If kept indoors or in a greenhouse, it is possible to grow a pineapple in winter. It will, however, take far longer to fruit than when grown in a warmer climate. The optimum temperature range for pineapples is above 60°F.
Why is My Pineapple Not Growing?
Stunted growth is usually an indicator of sub-optimal conditions. Ideally, pineapple plants want a humid environment with plenty of suns. However, if your pineapple plant is looking scorched and sad, you may need to up the humidity.
Are you looking for some other fruiting trees to add to your collection? Take a look at our guide for How to Grow Banana Trees at Home.
Wrapping Up Our Pineapple Growing Guide
While it may take some before you are able to enjoy the fruits of your labour, they will definitely be delicious. From how to plant a pineapple top to making sure your pineapple has everything it needs for optimal fruit production.
So, there you have it, everything you need to know on how to grow a pineapple.