Did you know that you can grow pineapples at home from tops? Learn how to do it correctly and how to care for your pineapple plants.
Most of the time, the fruits we buy from the supermarket ripen after they are harvested. Therefore, their taste is not nearly as good as that of fruits ripening in plants and eaten shortly after being picked up. But have you ever thought that you could grow your own pineapple at home?
When you buy a pineapple fruit, you should know that you are also buying something that has the potential to develop a plant that can produce more fruit in the future. If you have not yet tried to grow your own pineapple, the task can be an interesting hobby for both you and your children.
A pineapple plant not only makes a beautiful decorative addition to your outdoor or indoor areas, but it will also eventually produce a sweet and juicy fruit for you and your family to enjoy. However, a lot of patience is needed until that happens. A pineapple plant also produces only one pineapple, and then it dies once the fruit ripens. However, it produces offsprings that will continue to grow and produce fruits when they reach maturity.
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Understanding How Pineapples Grow
Pineapples grow on a low plant set into the ground, unlike many fruits that are produced on trees. The pineapple is in the category of bromeliads, which are all found in subtropical or tropical climates and grow their leaves in a spiral, rosette pattern.
These plants require warm temperatures to thrive. That’s why most of the majority of pineapple crops are grown in South America and West Africa.
Pineapple plants at maturity can grow to several feet across and a few feet tall, so you will require sufficient space to accommodate your plant. It will take about a year to grow your pineapple top into a mature plant. It can take up to 2 to 3 years for the plant to bear fruit. You will need a 5-gallon planter to adequately fit the plant at maturity.
Growing A Pineapple Plant From a Top
The beautiful part is that you don’t have to buy seeds, shoots, or anything else to grow your own pineapple plant at home. It’s enough to buy a pineapple fruit from the supermarket.
To grow a new pineapple plant from the top of a store-bought pineapple, simply cut off the top about 1-1/2 inch from the bottom of the lower leaves when you prepare the pineapple for eating.
Remove a few of the lowest leaves to expose the base and then choose a rooting method.
There are two approaches:
- Root it in water
- Root it in soil
This top can be rooted in a shallow dish of water or directly into a medium-sized pot of soil.
If rooting in a shallow dish, change the water frequently (about once every other day) until the roots begin to form, and then plant it into the potting mix.
If rooting in a pot, keep the soil moist but not wet for several weeks.
I had more success by rooting the pineapple top cuts directly in the soil, but others say they had more luck with the first approach. So, it’s up to you to choose. Or, you can try both of them with two different pineapple cuts and see which one works better for you.
Bringing Your Pineapple Plant Inside For Winter
If you live in a cold climate, you will have to keep a close eye on the weather and the calendar to ensure that you bring your pineapple plant indoors before the first frost. Otherwise, the cold will kill the plant.
Bring the container inside and place it in an area of the home that receives a good deal of sunlight for most of the day. Also, keep the plant out of cold drafts.
The plant may be quite heavy to move around, so you may want to use a garden pot mover. You can find a number of different types of plant carts with rollers on the bottom that will make moving your pineapple plant indoors more convenient.
You will need to feed your pineapple plant monthly with a general-purpose plant food. Water regularly, but do not over soak.
Getting your plant to produce fruit can be difficult indoors. A trick I found online is to place an apple in a bag over the top of the plant. This should provide ethylene gas that supposedly encourages the pineapple plant to bloom.
Growing Your Pineapple Plant Outdoors in Warm Climates
If you live in a warm climate, with temperatures that stay above freezing year-round, you can leave your pineapple plant outside in a partial sun throughout the year.
Feed the plant monthly, and water it during dry periods. Regular feeding will help to ensure a full-size pineapple to eat.
When a pineapple begins to develop, you may have to cover the plant with garden netting to keep squirrels and other creatures from nibbling on the fruit. Harvest the pineapple when the skin turns a golden yellow color. That’s when the fruit has really ripened.
Growing More Pineapples From Shoots
As mentioned earlier, a pineapple plant will only flower and produce a single fruit and then it will die. However, before that happens, the mother plant should grow smaller shoots at the sides of the main stem. These can be used as to grow more pineapple plants.
So, gently remove the small splits and plant in moist soil. These cuttings can be shared with friends or family and used to produce eye-catching exotic houseplants or help them grow their first pineapple fruits.
Again, it must be said that patience is required when waiting for a bloom to form on your pineapple plant that will develop into a growing fruit. Keep your plant watered and fed, with plenty of sunlight, and you will succeed in growing your own pineapple at home.
Not all the attempts of growing your own pineapple plants at home from tops will be successful. I had several failed attempts before one of my tops finally rooted. Some people have more luck and succeed on their first try, while others need more effort.
However, it costs you nothing to try. You buy the pineapple for consumption anyway, and if you manage to turn it into a plant that will produce another fruit in the future, it is a bonus.
The success rate may also depend on the source of the pineapple fruit you buy and how fresh the fruit is. If the top leaves are already wilted when you buy the pineapple, then your chances to grow a new plant from it will drop considerably.
I hope you found this information useful and wish you success in growing your own pineapple at home from tops.