Growing Pineapples the Easy Way

Who doesn't like fresh juicy pineapple? Luckily, growing pineapples is not too difficult. In fact pineapple can be one of the easiest fruits to grow. Pineapples are part of the bromeliad family, they're the only edible bromeliad. The plant is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay. If you live in the US pineapple will grow well in Florida, in fact Florida used to be one of the largest producers of pineapple in the U.S. After 1930 climate change made it more difficult and Hawaii became the primary grower of pineapples in the U.S.

Columbus was the first to bring pineapple back to Europe where it was eagerly received. It was difficult to grow in the European climate, and it wasn't until the late 1600's that pineapple was successfully grown in a hothouse. Of course only royalty could afford it which led to it being called the fruit of kings. It became a symbol of royal favor and welcome to be given a pineapple as a gift. This is why you often find a pineapple motif carved into buildings or as decorations on top of a bedpost.

Growing Pineapple

Ripe pineapple grown in my yard, it was bright yellow and made the whole house smell like pineapple.
Ripe pineapple grown in my yard, it was bright yellow and made the whole house smell like pineapple.

Growing a Pineapple Plant

If you'd like to try your hand at growing a pineapple there are two routes you can take. You can plant the pineapple outside in the ground, or you can plant it in a large pot so that it can be moved around. If you live outside of Florida or the midwest where is seldom gets really cold for long then growing a pineapple in a pot is probably the best solution for you. Pineapple can not take temperatures below freezing, it's optimal temperature range is between 65-95°F (18.33-45°C). If you live in an area that gets below freezing then you can move your pineapple plants indoors to a sunny window during the winter.

Pineapples are drought tolerant but they do need some water. To much watering can cause root rot. They like slightly acid, well drained sandy soil with lots of organic matter. The soil should be friable (loose) to a depth of 2 feet. They also need to be planted in a sunny area, although I've had good luck with planting them in partial shade on the north side of the house. Nematodes which are a big problem in Florida have been reported to cause problems, but I've never had trouble with them bothering pineapples, just tomatoes.

How Do Pineapples Grow?

Pineapple flower by Patti Haskins via Flickr
Pineapple flower by Patti Haskins via Flickr
Ripe Pineapple, probably Natal Queen variety, by TriplePsi via Flickr.
Ripe Pineapple, probably Natal Queen variety, by TriplePsi via Flickr.

Growing Pineapples on the Dole Plantation

Rooting a Pineapple

Many of the instructions I've seen on the internet say to root your pineapple top with water.  Basically you get a jar of water and immerse the top partially.  When roots start to appear then you plant the plant.  It does work but it's a step I've never taken.  In fact the way they do it commercially is to plant the plant directly in the ground.  Commercially they plant the "sucker or ratoon, which is a side shoot the plant puts off as the pineapple becomes ripe.  You can leave the sucker on the mother plant, or pull it off and plant it just as you would a top.  Each pineapple plant makes only one pineapple, any successive fruit will come from the ratoon.  

The video of the Dole plantation gives you a very good view of the ratoon, and a good view of what the root bud looks like.  You can see the exact same thing when you cut a pineapple top and trim the fruit.  

My Home Grown Pineapple

Notice how bright yellow the pineapple is.  It was really sweet too, not acidic at all.  My wife and I ate the whole thing at once.
Notice how bright yellow the pineapple is. It was really sweet too, not acidic at all. My wife and I ate the whole thing at once.

How to Grow a Pineapple Top - The Way I Do It.

The easiest (and cheapest) way to get a pineapple is growing pineapple tops, also known as a crown. If you buy a whole pineapple from the store, when you cut off the top save it and you can plant it to grow your own pineapple. Cut the excess fruit from the bottom of the crown, and pull off a ring of the small leaves. You can see what it looks like in the video above. Let the top dry out a day or two. Get yourself a pot, (even if you want to plant it in the ground later) and fill it with potting soil. You want to get the top to root before you plant it outside. Make sure your pot has a hole in it for excess water to drain out. Pineapples don't like wet soil. Fill the pot with potting soil, and push the top far enough in so that it stands up straight by itself. Soak it with water and then leave it. Put it outside in a nice sunny area. Give it a little water every week, not too much, it does best if the soil dries out between waterings. In fact my father gave me some of his rooted plants, we just pulled them out of the ground, wrapped them in some dampened Spanish moss and put them in a plastic grocery bag. They were in the bag about three weeks before I planted them and they turned out fine. In fact the picture of my pineapple is one of those plants. Anyway, in about three to four weeks after planting the top, you'll start to see the leaves on the top get longer and new leaves appear. When you start to see the top start to grow you can plant it in the ground or move it to a larger pot if you need to. A sunny area, well drained make for good pineapple growing conditions.

Growing pineapples at home is easy, but your pineapple will not come quickly sad to say. It takes 18-24 months before a flower appears, and once the pineapple flowers it will take months before the fruit is ripe. If you've grown your pineapple in pots or grown it inside, it might be a smaller pineapple but just as tasty.

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Any Juicy Pineapple Comments? 9 comments

tim-tim profile image

tim-tim 6 years ago from Normal, Illinois

Interesting! I am just afraid about the bugs coming with all that sweet juice. Thanks for sharing. I am trying to grow an avocado and it is not doing well:(


Terry 6 years ago

I've had two pineapples out of my plant - in a pot - but now the leaves have grown smooth and there's no flower. Has it had its day?


David Verde profile image

David Verde 6 years ago Author

Most plants will only produce two crops, but I've heard that a large healthy plant will make more but each one will get successively smaller. If you have more than one shoot grow after the fruit those can be removed and potted, then they will produce fruit like a new plant.


Wajeeha profile image

Wajeeha 6 years ago from Karachi, Pakistan

I love pineapples. As it is sweet to eat and fun to grow... Thanks for sharing David :)


craftybegonia profile image

craftybegonia 5 years ago from Southwestern, United States

Very interesting! Does the plant attract lots of bugs if kept indoors?


David Verde profile image

David Verde 5 years ago Author

I've never kept it indoors, but I've never seen it attract a bug outdoors.


punacoast profile image

punacoast 5 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

You're right, pineapples are so easy to grow! Have you ever tried a white pineapple? It has a much sweeter and milder taste, as opposite to the sharp acidic yellow pineapple variety. Great hub. Aloha!


David Verde profile image

David Verde 5 years ago Author

Punacoast, I've never tried white pineapple, but the yellow pineapple I grew wasn't acidic at all. I think that most U.S. mainland pineapples are "Smooth Cayenne" the main Dole cultivar.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 3 years ago from Texas

Wow! Great information! Voted up and awesome! :)

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