How to Grow a Pineapple—All You Need Is a Pineapple!
There are many reasons to grow a pineapple: They offer a taste of the tropics without the travel, serve as a symbol of hospitality, add a pop of fun to any plant collection and even boast health benefits. Read on for step-by-step instructions for how to grow your very own pineapple.
Pineapple Growing FAQs
How do pineapples grow?
Growing a pineapple requires several things – most notably another pineapple. Unlike most fruit, pineapples do not grow from seed, but rather by planting the top of an existing fruit and encouraging it to sprout roots so a new plant forms.
What do pineapple plants look like?
Pineapple plants are low-to-the-ground shrubs. They feature spiky leaves centered around the area from which the fruit will ultimately emerge. Chances are your grocery store carries the variety 'Smooth Cayenne,' which accounts for the vast majority of the world's commercially grown pineapple. The plant ultimately reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet and a width of 3 to 5 feet.
How long does it take to grow a pineapple?
Growing a pineapple is undoubtedly a labor of love. On average, it takes 2 to 3 years for a pineapple plant to mature, so you won't be savoring sweet homegrown fruit anytime soon. But while you wait, you'll enjoy a quirky conversation starter with a texture and look all its own.
What kind of plant is a pineapple?
Pineapples belong to the bromeliad family, which includes a wide variety of flowering species such as ever-popular air plants. Many bromeliads, including pineapples, have the unique ability to collect and store moisture. Their concave leaves direct liquid toward the center of the plant, where it pools and serves as a reserve water supply.
How to Grow a Pineapple
1. Pick the perfect pineapple
At the grocery store, scout out a pineapple with brownish outer skin, lush green leaves, a firm texture with just a bit of give when squeezed, and the sweet scent of fresh pineapple.
2. Remove the top portion
Cut off the leaves and approximately the top half-inch of fruit. Then, carefully cut away the outer skin and fruit until you're left with just the tough, stringy core and the leaves. Remove a few of the lowest leaves. Then, cut the rest of the pineapple and enjoy it as-is or in a healthy pineapple recipe.
3. Dry it out
Allow the pineapple top to sit in open air for 2 to 3 days so the juice can evaporate, which will reduce the risk of rotting after planting.
4. Place the dried pineapple in a rooting medium
Once your pineapple has dried out, place it in a container with a rooting medium (a substance that encourages root growth) such as coarse sand, perlite or vermiculite (available at garden centers). Then, place the container in bright, indirect light, such as an east- or west-facing window, and keep the rooting medium consistently moist. Roots should start to form in 6 to 8 weeks.
5. Plant the pineapple in a pot
Carefully brush aside the rooting medium to check for roots. Once you see them, it's time to move your newly minted pineapple plant into a container. A one-gallon pot will be fine to start, but keep in mind that you'll need a much larger container in the future. Opt for a well-draining potting mix, as traditional garden soil will be too heavy and dense. Keep the plant in bright, indirect light for 2 to 3 more weeks as it acclimates to its new vessel.
6. Find a sunny spot
Move your pineapple plant to your sunniest windowsill, or outdoors if you live in a tropical climate. Pineapples prefer full sun and warm weather–don't let temps dip below 55 degrees.
As a tropical plant, it's no surprise your pineapple will appreciate a steady supply of H2O. Keep the potting mix consistently moist, and mist leaves with a spray bottle when they feel dry.
It will likely take 2 to 3 years before your plant sprouts a pineapple. You'll first see a flower with a red cone in the center, and the fruit will grow from that several months later.
Don't feel like waiting? You can buy a pineapple plant from Trader Joe's.
9. ...and Enjoy!
Pineapples are ripe when the outer skin turns brownish-yellow and begin to emit an unmistakable pineapple scent. To harvest your pineapple, simply cut it at the base with a kitchen knife. While your plant is flowering and fruiting it will also grow offshoots, also known as suckers or ratoons. Pineapple plants only flower and fruit once, so once your pineapple is harvested, the original plant will die back while the ratoons will continue to grow and start the life cycle over again.