How to grow a pineapple from a top (the top of the pineapple fruit).
Growing pineapples at home is easy to do. It does take a while before the plant reaches a level of maturity. But when you’re patient you’ll be able to bring a taste of the tropics into your home.
To root a pineapple top takes about two months. To get fruit – that’s a different proposition. Fruiting will not occur for two to three years (see the section at the base of this article about how to encourage pineapple plants to flower). In the meantime, though, you will have the lovely spiky pineapple foliage to keep you company.
How do you grow a pineapple top? About pineapples
The pineapple plant (Latin name: Ananas comosus) is what is referred to as a bromeliad. They – bromeliads – are indigenous to the Americas (particularly South America).
The most popular edible pineapple is known as smooth cayenne. This plant has no spines and has striped leaves.
The plant’s leaves are fully capable of absorbing nutrients and water so it’s not entirely dependent on the roots for this pursuit.
Mature pineapple plants, when potted, require containers that are five-gallons in capacity.
Pineapple plants do not handle frost. If you do experience frost where you are, by all means, position your pineapple plant/s outdoors during late spring and throughout the summer months. Before any danger of fall frost be sure to bring your pineapple/s indoors.
How to grow a pineapple plant from the top
Here are 8 easy steps to follow to grow a pineapple plant from its top – from the upper-most leaves.
Step #1: Buy a pineapple (fruit)
Select a pineapple that has even ripeness. One that has a healthy grouping of leaves at the top. Don’t buy an overripe pineapple or ones that have yellowing leaves.
Step #2: Remove the crown
Remove the pineapple top (using a sharp knife) and cut away the remaining fruit. Be sure to remove all of the fruit otherwise it will begin to decay.
Step #3: Remove leaves from the stalk
The stalk is the green part at the top of the pineapple. Remove a few of the lower leaves so that approximately one inch of the stalk is bare.
Step #4: Allow pineapple stalk to dry
Give the stalk some time to dry by setting it aside for 3-4 days. These plants do rot rather easily so the stalk should be completely dry before planting.
Step #5: Plant the stalk
At this stage, you’ll want a six- to eight-inch container. Fill the container with a fast-draining, light loamy mix (cactus potting mix is ideal) that is slightly acidic or even neutral pH. Either this or a blend of sand, peat, and perlite works well too. Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix is ideal:
Hoffman Organic Cactus and Succulent Soil Mix
Some people swear by rooting hormone to heighten the chances of rooting. If you do wish to utilize a rooting hormone HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel is a very good choice:
HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel
Plant the crown into your potting mix at a depth of about an inch. Firm around the sides.
Step #6: Water the stalk
Use a spray bottle to moisten the potting mix. Moisten only very lightly and often enough to keep the potting mix slightly moist.
Tolco Empty Spray Bottle 8 oz. (pack of three)
Position the pineapple stalk in a bright window – preferably south or west facing.
To ensure that your pineapple top is never overwatered you can place it inside an opaque plastic bag. This way it will recycle its own water.
No need for any fertilizer application just yet.
Pineapple plants do not have a call for much water. The leaves are tough and they don’t evaporate much water. Hence, they require only a small amount of moisture to thrive.
Step #7: Wait for rooting to occur
For roots to appear it will take between one and three months.
How do you know if there are any roots?
Gently tug the crown from time to time. You’ll be able to tell if there are roots because the crown will hold onto the soil when tugged.
Step #8: Roots have developed – it’s time to repot
Once there are plenty of roots new leaves will begin to develop from the center.
It’s now time to re-pot into a container that’s 10 inches (3-gallon pot). The potting mix should be rich in nutrients, quick-draining, and again, slightly acidic – acidic to neutral. Again, cactus soil mix is fine for our needs here.
Give your new pineapple plant a further year before re-potting (if need be) into a 12-14 inch pot (five to seven gallon).
What Fertilizer is Best for Pineapple Plants?
You’ll want an all-round fertilizer – one that provides an even amount of macronutrients in addition to some micronutrients (particularly magnesium).
Jobe’s Organics All-Purpose Fertilizer Spikes do the job nicely. Plus, there’s a healthy array of micronutrients in Jobe’s too.
Jobe’s Organics All-Purpose Fertilizer Spikes, 50 Spikes
Fertilize your new pineapple plant throughout the growing season. If you’re using a different fertilizer (not Jobe’s Fertilizer Spikes), apply your preferred fertilizer throughout the growing season one time every couple of months.
How to Make a Pineapple Plant Flower
Pineapple plants aren’t always so keen to flower unless they are given optimal conditions. Those optimal conditions are not always possible when growing pineapple plants indoors. But we can still encourage flowers:
1. Put your pineapple plant into a plastic bag.
2. Place a ripe apple inside the bag and tie the bag so it becomes airtight. The ripe apple releases ethylene gas. Ethylene gas encourages many bromeliads to set flowers.
3. Retain the apple inside the sealed bag for four days.
4. After four days discard the apple and the bag.
Image by annca from Pixabay