Pineapples belong to the bromeliad category, which means they’re related to the Spanish moss and the bromeliads that are grown as houseplants. Most people prefer buying their pineapples from the market, but did you know you can grow one yourself? Today we are going to learn how to grow a pineapple plant in your own home.
How to Grow a Pineapple Plant – Before Planting
1. Pick the Right Pineapple
Next time you’re headed to the grocery store, remember to buy a good pineapple for growing it too. Look for a fruit that is firm and has green leaves. The skin on the fruit should be in a golden brown shade and firm to the touch. The best indicator to see if a pineapple is ripe is the smell. It should have a sweet and heady smell that shows you it’s the right fruit for starting your own pineapple plant.
It’s essential for the fruit not to be under-ripe since it wouldn’t help produce another pineapple otherwise. It shouldn’t be too ripe either, so check this by tugging at the leaves a little. If they will come right off, the fruit is too ripe. Finally, check if it doesn’t have any scale insects at the base of the leaves. You can recognize them by their aspect as small grayish black spots.
2. Twist the Leaves Off
The next step if you want to learn how to grow a pineapple plant is to twist off the leaves. Hold the body of the fruit with one hand, and with the other hand grab the leaves at the base. With a firm move, twist them off. In this way, you make sure that the base of the leaves will not be affected. Also, you are minimizing the amount of fruit attached to the leaves, which is not necessary for your pineapple plant to grow.
However, if it’s hard for you to twist the leaves off, try slicing off the top. Make sure you cut off any excess fruit found around the root. The tip of the area where the leaves come together should be intact. This is the place from where you’ll see new roots sprouting, and without this, the plant will not grow.
3. Take Off Some Lower Leaves
After you’re done removing the leaves from the body, you should also strip off some lower leaves to leave the stem visible. Leave a couple of inches of the stem exposed. This step will help the stem sprout roots after you plant it. Once again, if you notice some extra fruit remaining there, make sure you cut it away.
4. Let It Dry
Before planting the pineapple, the scars where you cut and removed the leaves need to harden. That’s why you need to turn the crown upside down and let it dry for a week.
Soaking the Pineapple Crown
5. Get a Glass of Water
Some people think soaking the pineapple is an important step in learning how to grow a pineapple plant the right way. Though it’s not a compulsory step, we will still include it here for those of you who consider it necessary. The first thing you need to do is to get a large glass and fill it with water. Be careful when choosing the glass, since its mouth should be big enough to hold the pineapple crown inside, but small enough to not get it submerged entirely.
6. Use Toothpicks
Take a few toothpicks and stick them into the pineapple crown. They should be placed across from each other, next to the top of the stem. Make sure they stay in place. Later, you will use the toothpicks to suspend the crown in water.
7. Place the Crown in Water
Now is the time to use the toothpicks and place them on the rim of the glass. Make sure the stem is submerged in the water, but the leaves stick out.
8. Keep the Glass in the Right Spot
Next, keep the glass next to a sunny window and see when the roots begin to sprout. In a few days or weeks, you should notice white roots poking out and starting to grow. Make sure the plant doesn’t stay at extreme temperatures and change the water every few days. This helps to keep mold at bay.
You can also check out this clip illustrating the process:
Planting the Crown
9. Prepare the Pot
Take a 6-inch pot and fill it with some light garden soil. Make sure the soil has a 30% blend of organic matter, which contains the right mix of nutrients for your pineapple plant.
10. Plant the Pineapple Crown
Ideally, you should plant the crown when the roots reach a couple of inches long. They should be long enough to take root in the potting soil as well. Be careful, since if you plant it too early, the plant will not grow well. When planting it, ensure that the base of the leaves stays above the soil level. Next, press the soil around the base of the crown. Don’t get any soil on the leaves though.
Caring for Your Pineapple Plant
11. Ensure the Right Temperature and Humidity
If you want to know how to grow a pineapple plant correctly, you should pay attention to the temperature and humidity. The plant requires a sunny, humid, and warm environment to thrive. Make sure that the temperatures at night won’t drop lower than 65 °F. In case you’re growing the pineapple indoors and have dry conditions, a solution would be to mist the plant regularly.
For those of you who live in a warm climate, you can keep the pot outside. However, if you’re experiencing cool winters, it would be better to take the pot inside during the cool months and respect the storing conditions. Knowing how to grow a pineapple plant means understanding how important the sunlight is for this fruit.
A good trick to boost the rooting process is to cover the top of the pot with a plastic bag. The idea here is that this will create the effect of a mini-greenhouse.
12. Nurture the Plant
You should water the plant lightly once a week. Luckily, this is one of the plants that don’t require high maintenance, so if you planted them right into the ground, the rain can hydrate them enough. Too much water can be damaging to them, while they can survive too little. Moreover, you need to fertilize the plant twice a month during summer. For this, use a half-strength fertilizer.
13. Wait for the Fruit to Grow
Everybody who learned how to grow a pineapple plant on their own knows that they grow slowly. In about a year you will notice a significant growth in the plants. You may even have to wait 2 – 3 years before you’ll get your own fruit, so be patient. When it forms, you will see it appearing in the center of the plant. First, it will look like a bright red and yellow flower. Then, it will slowly turn into the pineapple fruit you know and love.
14. Pineapple Pests
While you are waiting for your fruit, make sure you check the plant for animals. Some animals prefer living among the lush leaves of the pineapple and might hurt your fruit. One such example would be the tree frogs. Besides, squirrels are known to enjoy ripe pineapples, so if you know there are some in your neighborhood, you might want to pay attention to them. As such, don’t wait too much for the fruit to get ripe, otherwise, the squirrels may taste it before you even notice.
15. Harvest the Pineapple
You can harvest the pineapple when it’s ripe on the plant. They will have a better taste than the ones bought from the store, where they ripe on the shelves. When you notice the outside skin of the fruit turning from brown to yellow, take a saw and cut the stalk that supports the pineapple. Then, you just need to eat it. When you’re done, don’t throw it away! You can repeat the entire process above and thus, obtain an unlimited supply of pineapples for your home.
16. Store the Fruit
Ideally, you should consume the pineapple within three days after you bought it or harvested it. During this period, you can store it at room temperature. However, if you don’t plan on eating it that soon, it’s better to keep it in the refrigerator. Before you do so, make sure you core, peel, and cut the fruit into chunks. Store them in an airtight container and keep them 2 – 4 days in the refrigerator.
However, if you want to store it longer than that, you can freeze it. Keep it in the freezer for a maximum of 6 months in a labeled, airtight container. If you don’t want the pieces to freeze together, spread them out on a cookie sheet, and then place them in the freezer. Once they are frozen, place them in the airtight container.
It’s easy to learn how to grow a pineapple plant by yourself at home, but you need to pay special attention to the temperature and humidity. Other than that, you need to have a lot of patience until you’ll notice the plant growing a fruit. You can console yourself with the thought that the taste will be certainly better than that of the fruit you buy from the store.
Image source: depositphotos.com