One of the world’s most widely known and well-loved tropical fruits is the pineapple. You can have it for dessert or drink its Vitamin C-rich juice, and enjoy its numerous health benefits.
It’s indigenous to South America, and these days, countries such as Brazil, Costa Rica, and the Philippines export a large chunk of the world’s supply of this delicious fruit. It is commercially grown in greenhouses and massive plantations, but–given the right conditions–you can also grow pineapples in your very own backyard.
Growing pineapples is pretty easy and all you need is a pineapple, a space for your plant, a spot that receives a great dose of warmth and sunlight, basic gardening tools, and you are good to go!
Steps to Grow a Pineapple Plant from a Fresh Pineapple
1. Get A Pineapple
What makes growing a pineapple plant cool is the fact that it does not grow from seed. What you have to plant instead is a pineapple crown. Now, to start, you have to pick an evenly ripe pineapple from which you will later obtain the crown.
When buying a pineapple for planting, look for one that has green leaves, golden brown skin, and is firm to the touch. These signify that the fruit is ripe. Another way you can check is through its scent–it’s supposed to smell sweet.
2. Separate the Crown
One way to do this is to use a sharp knife to slice off the section of the pineapple that is fairly close to the crown and cut away the rind or any fruit flesh that may rot. Following this, make thin slices in the stalk, and stop once you see a ring of brown dots, which will form the roots of the plant you will grow.
You can also simply hold the fruit with one hand and use the other to grasp the leaves at the base and carefully twist them until they come off. This ensures that the base of the leaves is not damaged, and this results in a smaller amount of flesh coming off with the leaves.
3. Expose the Stem
Remove some of the lower leaves to expose the stem. This promotes sprouting of the roots after planting. While you do so, you may also take the time to remove any remaining fruit since it won’t be needed for growing a pineapple plant.
4. Let It Dry
Set the crown aside and let it dry. This is because pineapple is vulnerable to rotting, and letting the crown dry up before planting helps reduce its risk. Once it’s dry, you can already plant it in a pot until its roots grow, then transfer it to a larger space later on.
5. Soak the Crown
While some people prefer to plant the crown right away once it has dried up, some choose to soak it in water first. If this is the way you want to do it, fill up a jar with water, and soak the lower end of the crown a few centimeters into the water while keeping it from sinking by attaching toothpicks on four sides.
Leave this setup in a spot that is warm and receives sunlight for a few days or weeks, until you observe white roots growing out of the bottom. Make sure to check the water and change it now and then to prevent microbial growth.
6. Pick the Right Type of Soil
When growing pineapples, ensure that the soil is neutral or slightly acidic and that it’s somewhere between the sandy and loamy type.
7. Have the Right Conditions
As tropical plants, pineapple plants thrive in areas that are warm and sunny. Thus, they must receive a great deal of sunlight all year round. Ensure that the temperature doesn’t get too low and if it does, you may choose to grow your plant indoors, ideally near the window.
8. Plant the Crown
When the roots are finally a few inches long, it’s time to transfer the crown. You can use a pot for this, but it’s better if you have a large area outside of your house with soil wherein you can plant it since pineapple plants may be larger than other common houseplants, and also, they tend to be spiky, thus making them less indoor-friendly.
When planting, ensure that the base of the leaves is just a bit above the soil level. Remove any soil that might get on the leaves and press the soil surrounding the base of the crown to secure it.
9. Water Your Plant
Pineapples are tropical fruits, which means that they can withstand heat, however, it’s still necessary that you water them. Do this once a week.
One of the nutrients that pineapple plants need the most is nitrogen. You may supply this for your plant using a dry fertilizer with 6% to 10% nitrogen, 6% to 10% potassium, 6% to 10% phosphoric acid, and 4% to 6% magnesium.
You may also use fertilizer foliar spray but be careful not to overspray since this may lead to leaf burn. If the soil is somewhat alkaline, you can add chelated iron near the base of the plant to maintain the acidity needed to promote plant growth.
11. Harvesting the Fruit
One sign that your plant is about to beat fruit is when you observe a reddish cone starting to show from the center of the leaves. This will eventually become the fruit after around half a year. To find out if the fruit is ready for harvest, check if it is yellowish or when it’s in its mature green phase. This doesn’t mean the fruit is ripe yet–you’ll have to let it ripen at room temperature. To harvest, slice the fruit off the plant, just a little below its base or in the section where the fruit meets the stalk.
Once the fruit has ripened, store it in a refrigerator for several hours and serve it for snacktime or dessert! As you might have noticed in the straightforward steps discussed above, growing pineapples is very easy. Also, they’re not very high-maintenance, so even if you’re a busy person, growing your pineapple plant should not be a struggle! What’s even better is that you get to enjoy its nutrient and vitamin-packed fruit once it has matured.