How to Grow Pineapples
Pineapples are great, a high mineral and vitamin content, sweet and still easy on the calories. Growing the Pineapple fruit is a great gardening endeavor and cooking adventure at the same time. This "How To" guide will assist you to grow this fruit successfully, and it's easy. If you thought it was only possible for people living in the tropics to grow those tasty pineapple chunks then think again. Pineapples certainly are grown in the tropics, but they can be grown in temperate climates if you have a sheltered spot where the frost does not penetrate. And if you don’t have that, then you can grow a pineapple in a pot and take it indoors through the winter.
Grow Pineapples in Containers
Pineapples can be grown quite successfully in pots because they are a member of the bromeliad family and so have quite small roots. The leaves take much of their nutrients up, but this doesn’t mean that you should give them lots. Too much liquid fertilizer will burn the leaves ad spoil the plant.
So where do you get a plant to grow? Using the top of a shop-bought one is the easiest way. Simply cut the top off, pull away any smaller leaves from around the bottom and stick it in a pot with the fruit side down. Let the bottom dry out for a couple of days first, though. This will take 2 years to fruit. The leaves of the mature plant are spiky and sharp and you should leave a space of about a square meter per plant, not for the roots but for the leaves to spread. Don’t put them in near to where you walk or the children play.
Getting a Pineapple Slip
You can get faster results by buying a slip from a pineapple grower. A slip is an immature plant that has grown from the side of another plant. Don’t start this slip off in a glass of water - that’s the worst thing you could do. Pineapples don’t like wet feet or boggy ground, so when you plant out make sure you have good drainage. Pineapples don’t require a lot of water, but they can withstand lots if it rains often where you live. Just make sure the soil drains well
Tending the Plant
When growing your pineapple in a pot, it can be fed occasionally with seaweed extract or fish emulsion, but only if it is a weak solution - much weaker than the packet states. Pelleted chicken manure can also be used - in pot or garden - but remember that the roots are small so put it close to the plant. Some should even be sprinkled on the bottom leaves because pineapples take up nutrition through the leaves. For this reason any compost should be kept close around the plant so that it is partly over the bottom leaves. If the leaves have a reddish tinge it means your pineapple plant needs more food.
In the 2nd year when it is ready to fruit, the plant will send up a stalk from its center and this is where the pineapple will form. It will take six months from flower to ripe fruit so you need to be patient. The basics in a how to grow pineapples are not really complicated. Now it's time to have your gardeners instincts move in, perfection here means transcending the technicalities and development of your "green fingers".