How to Grow Pineapple Plants
Growing pineapple at home isn’t a difficult process, but it will take several years for the plant to mature enough to bear fruit. Since you start a pineapple plant from the top of a whole pineapple, make sure to select a pineapple that is firm, with vibrant green leaves at the top of the stalk.
Pineapples grow successfully outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 11 or 12. Homeowners outside this hardiness zone often choose to plant pineapples in a hot house or in large pots which they can move indoors and outdoors as weather permitss.
Things You’ll Need
- Whole pineapple
- Rooting hormone
- Cactus potting mix
- 8-inch clay pot
- Spray bottle with water
- 10 to 12-inch clay pot
- Potting soil
- 5-gallon pot
- Firmly grasp the top stalk of the pineapple, in your dominant hand, and the fruit of the pineapple in your non-dominant hand.
- Twist the stalk around and out of the fruit. Some pineapples eyes are particulary sharp, so consider holding the fruit with a towel when twisting off the stalk to avoid getting poked.
- Remove about 6 leaves from the bottom portion of the stalk, pulling them down and away until you have about 1 inch of exposed stalk.
- Set the stalk aside for a few days for the lower portion (that was inside the fruit) to dry out a bit. Allowing the stalk to dry helps the avoid root rot and will grow a pineapple more successfully.
- Dip the lower portion of the dried stalk in rooting hormone.
- Fill a clay pot with cactus potting mix, and plant the pineapple about inch deep into the soil. Tamp soil around the stalk to ensure good rooting.
- Water-in the pineapple lightly with a spray bottle until the soil is moist but not wet.
- Set the pot aside in a sunny window or terrarium. Keep the area humid by spraying water near the plant periodically, or consider placing a plastic bag over the pot to keep moisture levels up. Expect the pineapple to root in about 1 to 3 months.
- Check for rooting by gently tugging the crown of the stalk, a rooting plant will resist being moved. You’ll know the pineapple has definitely rooted when you notice new leaves growing from the center of the stalk.
- Repot the pineapple in a larger pot, such as a 10 to 12-inch clay pot using rich (but well-draining) potting soil. Monitor moisture levels and wait about a year until planting in a large 5-gallon planter.
- Monitor water levels to keep the soil wet but not waterlogged.
- Place the pot in a sunny outdoor location, but move pots indoors during cold months, or cover with a burlap sack. Plants will grow vigorously during warm months and slow down during the cooler months.
- Expect fruit in about 2 to 3 years after planting. Mature fruit should appear several months after the mature fruit blooms. Mature fruit will look golden yellow and smell very sweek.
- Remove the mature pineapple fruit from the stalk with a sterilized saw. Sterlizing the equipment lessens the likelihood of transmitting disease.
Pineapples generally only grow one fruit at a time, although your plant may grow an offshoot or suckers near the base of the plant. The offshoot likely won't be grow at the same rate, or even start growing at the same time as the main fruit.
Some pineapple plants will grow a second fruit in the growing cycle, however the fruit will likely be smaller and of a lesser quality.
Pineapple Problems & Pests
Like other houseplants, pineapple plants are suseptible to root rot and even top rot. Rot is farily easy to identify by observing the plant and the soil around the plant. Look for signs of distress, such as drooping, withered or dried leaves, and soil that is too damp. Replace soil and add mulch to help with adequate soil drainage.
If your pineapple plant has started to grow horizontally instead of vertically, your plant likely has a zinc deficiency and is suffering from "crookneck". Treat soil with a 1% zinc sulfate solition to help correct the issue.
Check your underside of plant leaves periodically for pests such as mealybug, scale, or nematodes. Mealybugs will leave a waxy substance near the fuzzy bug, however scale may be more difficult to identify, and might hide under waxy substances. Treat mealybugs and scale by spraying the plant with horticultural oil. Discourage nematodes by using sterile soil and sanitizing gardening equipment. If you do find nematodes, dispose of the plant after it bears fruit.
How to Cut Fresh Pineapple
- Lay the pineapple down on its side on a cutting board, and slice off the top and bottom.
- Stand the fruit upright, and trim the rind by cutting off strips in a downward motion, working your way around the fruit. Only remove enough of the rind’s “eyes” as necessary to conserve fruit. If you leave too much of the eyes on the fruit, you can always shave off a little more with another trimming.
- Cut the pineapple in half with the while the fruit is still in the upright position, and then pivot the fruit to cut another half, so the fruit is in quarters.
- Trim the core out of each quarter piece, by laying each piece down, and removing the center triangle portion, in a movement away from yourself.
- Slice each quarter into desired sized pieces. You’ll likely need to cut each quarter into two (or more) strips, and then proceed cutting each strip into the desired size pieces.
- Store pineapple in the refrigerator for up to one week in an airtight container, or up to 1 year in the freezer.