My family loves fresh pineapple so we often buy them in grocery stores that have produce departments.
But beyond its juicy goodness, did you know you can start a pineapple plant with the top leafy part of the fruit you’ve having for a snack? My wife has at least 6 plants around our home that she started - she just really likes them as house plants!
It’s easy to get a plant started. Here’s how.
• A whole, ideally well-ripe pineapple. You can tell when a pineapple is ripe by pulling a leaf off its top: the easier a leaf pulls out, the riper the pineapple is.
• A clear cup or glass that’s wide enough for root to reach into water, but narrower than the diameter of the plant leaves, so they can rest on its lip. You can use a solid cup, but it’s fun to see the roots develop without pulling the plant from the water
• Potting soil
• 5"-8" pot
• Drainage stones (bought or washed from outdoors)
Prepare for Planting - Growing Roots
• Before you cut the pineapple for consumption, grab the pineapple body tightly with your less dominant hand (left, if right-handed; right, if left-handed). You can wear a glove to better grasp the prickly pineapple body.
• Use your strong hand to grasp the entire leafy top and twist the whole top slowly but surely to pull it away from the fruit, and remove it.
• Peel off a few of the bottom leaves so the white ‘root’ is fully exposed.
NOTE: you may also cut off the pineapple top, but you must leave about an inch or so of the fruit at the top, then carefully scrape skin and fruit off to expose the root.
• Fill the glass or cup about 2/3 full with water.
• Place the leafy top into the cup so its leaves rest on the edge of the container, and the ‘root’ sits in the water.
• Watch water in cup – top off or replace water when it starts to evaporate or gets cloudy.
Planting in Soil
• Within a week or so you’ll see white roots beginning to form in the water. When roots are about 1” or so, it’s ready for planting into potting soil.
• Select a small pot about 4-6” wide.
•. Put a layer of small drainage stone in the bottom of the pot. If you. If you don’t have stones made for planting, you can even get some small stones from outdoors and wash them clean of soil under a faucet
•. Fill the pot about three quarters of the way; water soil to make it fully moist, but not muddy.
•. Make a little hole in the soil, big enough to contain the roots without crowding them; place leafy top and roots into the pot.
• Cover up roots with soil in the pot; add more soil if needed to bring level to within ½” of the top – press soil firmly around root, and water lightly so it settles, and soil is thoroughly moist.
• Place in warm sunny window or under a grow light; do not let soil dry out – water every couple days. Ideally, temperature should be above 65 degrees F.
A pineapple plant will grow slowly, and eventually become a lovely house plant with a long life. The good news is they are very hardy plants and will grow even when neglected a few days.
How To Get Your Plant To Bear Fruit
It takes at least two years for a pineapple plant to grow and mature to the point it can bloom and support an actual pineapple. It can be tricky to get one to grow under the best of circumstances, but it can be done with you helping it along.
When you’re ready to give it a try, put the pineapple plant into a big plastic bag – a trash bag will do – and put an apple in the bag, then seal it and put the bag in a shady spot for FOUR TO FIVE DAYS. The apple gives off ethylene gas that will encourage the plant to bloom and set fruit.
Remove the bag and put plant back into the sun. If you get flowers to bloom, you can expect it will take about 6 months for fruit to mature.
Note that many growers find this bag start technique requires they do it a couple times before they have luck getting fruit. But, even if you never grow fruit, the plant itself is beautiful and will become part of your home’s character.