Growing a Pineapple (Or Not)
Green Thumbs of Non-Inheritance
The most random things seem to stand out in our minds, and sometimes those things are in regards to other people. Sometimes they even seem to be of no real significance. That is, until we wish we had that talent or ability. For me, there is a memory of my grandpa always having plants around, particularly various kinds of cacti and ivy. At the time, I didn't think much about it. They were just his plants, always there and always alive and healthy.
There are a few other childhood memories I have of him. To name a few, going to Fourth of July parades and firework shows with him or haunted Halloween trains. Or when he let me try beer for the first time in my five years of life, perhaps as a distraction to me poking around at the cigarette package in his pocket. (Yeah, that may or may not have promptly come back out of my mouth into his lap. Shhhhh...I still don't like beer.) I even remember being called a stink pot or Half Pint and sometimes he asks if I am still his Half Pint and I, of course, say always. He does not, however, still have that many plants, if any at all now. It's been over five years since I've been able to go home for a visit.
All childhood memories aside, though, I didn't inherit that green thumb of his. He may not take care of plants too much anymore, but I would love to. They bring beauty, but they are also functional. They help cleanse the air, which is always a good thing. A good thing, if only I could keep them alive. But, I somehow let a fern that lived on air die. That's right. I said it didn't require water and I still let it die somehow. Well, okay, technically it was not alive to begin with and was, apparently by definition, dead when I got it. However, I am confident that had it been alive, I would have found a way to kill it.
See these beautiful hydrangea plants? I got them a couple of months ago maybe. I have been so happy they remained alive and healthy. Not. They were for quite some time, but one bit the dust in the last week or so. I'm not sure how, though I think it had something to do with placing it outside for more sunlight and forgetting about it over night when the temps dipped low. I can't be sure of that, however, because I am not sure what temperatures are too low for them. I know they do well as indoor plants if they have enough sunlight, something they got much less of when the window they thrived in became blocked from the outside with opaque plastic because the siding there leaks and needs to be replaced. It will be, but apparently not in time for my plant to be happy again. It gave up.
As for the blue one, it was still doing quite well despite it's loss of floral beauty. It was sprouting new bright green leaves and seemed happy enough. Then I found it on the counter tonight looking like that with a brown, blackish stem. Shocked, I picked it up to see if it needed water and decided it did need some. So I watered it. To my surprise, it started draining brownish liquid. No wonder it looks so pitiful! I have absolutely no idea which family member is guilty of spilling coffee or coke or some other beverage of choice all over the counter and apparently into the potted plant, too. Whoever it was cleaned up the mess, leaving behind only the liquid inside the plant soil to drain on the counter. I cleaned up the remainder of it, which stained the counter top as it drained through the pot, after discovering it today. I also ran water through the pot until it started draining clear water again. I have no idea if that will save its little life, but I have hope. I have hope because there are still some bright green leaves on the stem. Wish it luck!
How to Grow Grow a Pineapple Plant
Once upon a time I heard somewhere that you can grow a pineapple plant from the fruit, just as a piece of ivy cut from the main plant will sprout roots if placed in water. I thought why not, I'll give it a try. That was a failed attempt, but I learned a few things. One is that plants don't survive a house fire very well even if they were not in a room full of ash. The other is that the closer the crown is cut from the fruit, the better. Trust me, the less fleshy fruit to rot away, the happier you will be.
This time around, I cut the top off the pineapple in much the same manner I did before. Then I decided to cut it even closer to the crown. Again, less fruit left. How untimely for me, but I have since read that there really is no need to cut the crown off. One can simply grab it and pull it off the fruit with a twisting motion. Supposedly this method leaves less fruit left on the bottom of the crown, too. All that is left to do is to peel back some of the leaves on the very base of the crown to expose more of the area where the roots will sprout from.
I tried to peel back some of the lower leaves as best I could, too, but I've since ended up peeling more of those off as they died, probably due to being soaked in too much water. Of course, that is also because I did not originally have the pineapple in that jar. All I initially had was a huge glass mixing bowl. A jar definitely works better because only the bottom will be in the water and not many of the leaves.
At that point, all that is left to do is set the pineapple crown in the sunlight and wait for roots to sprout. And they will grow, though it Change or add water as necessary. As for my new pineapple plant, I hope to be potting it sometime soon. Then the only question will be how long it will live before it somehow gets killed. Any bets? No? It's okay, I wouldn't bet on it either!
Tips, Steps to Take, and Things to Remember
- It takes about two years for one pineapple plant to produce a fruit, and it only produces one at a time.
- When purchasing a pineapple, look for one with fresh, green leaves that are not yellow or brown. However, it has to be all the way ripe in order to grow the roots. The skin of the pineapple should be golden in color, not green.
- Check for insects at the base of the plant. They look like grayish spots on the bottom of the leaves.
- Go ahead and strip some of the lower leaves off the bottom of the crown, off the stem. This will make it easier for the roots to sprout out of it.
- Some recommend that the pineapple crown then be turned upside down for a week before placing it in water in order to let the scars from the cutting heal. I'll admit that I did skip this step and still saw the first indications of roots within a week or two.
- Toothpicks can be inserted into the crown base to help suspend it without complete submersion.
- Place the plant in a sunny window then wait and watch. It can take up to a few weeks for roots to begin to sprout.
- After potting, it prefers a moist, humid environment. If this does not exist, mist the plant on a regular basis.
- It needs sun year round and should not be in locations where temperatures fall below 65 degrees overnight.
- Keep it watered lightly and fertilize the soil as needed, about once or twice a month during the summer months.
- It takes about two years before a pineapple is produced and it only produces one at a time. First a red cone should appear, followed by blue flowers, then the fruit, which will take about six months to fully develop.