TBD on Ning


Planting a pineapple

Pineapple is grown from planting material supplied by the plant itself.
Use the crown (the leafy top) of the fruit you purchased at your grocery
store. Later, your plant will produce other planting material. (More about
this later.)

Preparing a crown

Remove the crown from your pineapple by twisting or cutting it off. Any
adhering flesh should be trimmed off its base, or it might rot after planting.
After trimming, cut the bottom of the crown (its stem) until you see root
, which are small round structures visible around the perimeter
of the stem base. Remove as little tissue as possible to avoid cutting
into young stem tissue. To make planting easier, you can also strip off
some of the lower leaves, exposing up to about three-fourths of an inch
of the base of the crown. The small brown-colored bumps below the leaf
scars are root primordia (the beginnings of roots) and there may even be
a few short roots at the base if the crown.

 After trimming and stripping, place the crown upside down in a dry, shaded place for about a week (5 to 7 days) before planting. This will permit the cut end and the leaf scars to heal and prevent rot.


The easiest way to grow a pineapple is in soil. Use a good light garden
soil, mixing in up to 30 per cent well-composted organic matter. A commercial
potting soil will also work well and will assure a disease-free potting

 Start your pineapple in an 8-inch porous red clay pot. Later, when it outgrows this, transplant it to a 12-inch pot, the largest size you will need.  Plastic posts can also be used, but extra care needs
to be taken to be sure adequate drainage is provided and plants are not

Be sure there is good drainage since pineapples do not like "wet feet." Provide drainage by placing a curved piece of broken pot over the hole in the bottom of the pot. Over this, add about a half an inch (1 centimeter)
of coarse qravel. Then add your soil.

Tamp the soil firmly around the base of the crown at planting. Avoid getting soil into the central leaves of the crown. It is possible to start, and even grow your pineapple in water, but nutrients -- which can be purchased
at a gardening store -- must be added. Ask for a hydroponic fertilizer,
a soluble mix that contains all of the essential plant nutrients, and follow
directions for shrubs.


Fertilize at planting and every two or three months thereafter with a good
household plant food. If using a solid plant food, scatter it on the surface
of the soil and wash it in by watering.

A liquid (foliar spray) fertilizer can also be used. Pour the solution into the base of the leaves and on the surface of the soil. Take special care not to pour the solution into the center of the plant as the young
leaves may be injured.  Follow directions under "small shrubs" given
on the label of the products you use.


The pineapple plant is miserly with water, requiring only about 20 inches
of natural rainfall per year, if well distributed. You need only wet the
soil once a week, and when plants are indoors, it is best to apply all
the water to the soil.

Light and temperature

Pineapple is a tropical plant and frost or freezing temperatures will kill
it. If you live in a temperate climate, your pineapple must divide its
time between your house and your porch or garden.

During summer, set your plant on a sunny porch or bury the pot in your garden. Do not take your plant out of the house until all danger of frost is past. When you first remove your plant from your house, keep it in a
semi-shaded spot for several days to prevent sunburn.

During cold months, keep your plant in the house.  Bring it in early in the fall.  Place it near a window or sliding-glass door for maximum sunlight.  At night, move it away from the window to prevent
freezing.  If the room is warm enough for you to be comfortable, the
pineapple will be at the right temperature.

You can also grow your plant indoors, for example in a basement, by using "Plant-Gro" fluorescent light tubes  This light can also be helpful if your windows do not let enough sunshine into the room where
you are keepinq your plant.  You should keep the light on for between
12 and 14 hours per day.  When the plant gets large enough to bear
a fruit (see Flowering and Fruiting below), you should reduce the daylength
to 10 to 11 hours until the inflorescence appears in the center of the
plant.  You can then return to longer days.

Pests and diseases

As house plants, your pineapple will be subject to a minimum of pests and
diseases if qiven proper care.  The pests most likely to attack your
plant are mealybugs, scale and mites.  All can be removed by washing
the leaves with soapy water, rinsing after with clear water. Or, spray
with an insecticide.  Be sure to follow the directions on the label
when using insecticides.

The only disease you will likely encounter will be heart rot caused by fungi.  In heart rot, the central leaves turn black and are easily pulled out of the plant.  When heart rot occurs, the plant can sometimes
be saved by pouring a fungicide into the heart (center) of the plant. 
If this stops the infection, a side shoot will start growing.  This
shoot will then become your plant and will eventually flower and form a
fruit.  Or you can remove it and begin a new plant (see "Other planting

For good insecticides and fungicides, talk to your nurseryman or visit your local garden store.

Flowering and fruiting

Although the pineapple plant is attractive in itself, most growers want
their plants to flower and fruit.  In Hawaii, a crown takes about
20 months to produce a ripe fruit.  It may take your plant that long,
or longer.

When your plant is  at least 24 inches (60 to 70 centimeters) tall and 12 to 14 months old, an inflorescence bud will begin to form in the center of the leaves.  You will not be able to see the developing
fruit until about two months later when a bright red cone emerges. 
Flower development in Hawaii typically occurs in late December or January
when the days are short (about 10.5 hours) and the nights are cool (55
to 65 F; about 13 to 18 C).

Later, flowers -- light blue in color -open row by row over a period of about two weeks, starting from the bottom.  When the petals of the last flower have dried, the fruit begins to develop. 
If your pineapple plant is at least 24 inches tall and has not flowered
by the time it is 20 to 24 months old, you can "force" it with an inexpensive

Forcing your plant

To force your plant, place a small lump of calcium carbide about the size
of your little fingernail in the center of your plant and pour a quarter
cup of water over it.  This will release acetylene gas which will
force your plant to flower.  To improve your chances of success, it
is best to treat your plant in the evening after the sun goes down and
temperatures are cooler. (Calcium carbide may be obtainable at a welding
shop, garden store, pharmacy or toy store.)

You can also 'force' a plant by enclosing it completely in a polyethylene bag together with two ripe apples for one week. The ethylene gas released from the ripe apples will do the trick.

Harvesting your pineapple

When your fruit is about six months old, about four months after flowering
has occurred, changes begin to occur. The color of the shell
from green to rich gold. The color change of the shell occurs first at
the bottom of the fruit and moves upwards. During this change, the fruit
becomes sweeter and the color of the
flesh changes from white to yellow. The fruit will weigh from two to four

When the fruit is golden half way up it can be picked and eaten. You can wait longer if you wish.

Producing a second or ratoon fruit

Either during or after the fruit on the mother plant has ripened, one or
more shoots, they are called suckers by pineapple growers,  will grow
from the mother-plant stem.  If you want your original plant to produce
another fruit, leave one or at most two of the shoots on the plant to produce
a second or ratoon fruit.  Excess shoots can be cut off and potted
(See Other planting material).  Continue to feed and water
your plant as you did when it was first planted.  In Hawaii, it takes
about one additional year to produce a first ratoon fruit.  If the
plant remains healthy, it may even be possible to produce a third crop,
called a second ratoon.

Other planting material

After the fruit is picked, branches on the main stem of the plant -- called
-- and sometimes on the stem just below the fruit -- called
--can be removed and used for planting material.  After these branches
are about 12 inches long, you can cut or break them off close to the stem. 
Many of the varieties now being grown produce few or no slips, so do not
be concerned if your plant doesn't produce slips.

Prepare and grow your slips and shoots in the same manner you did your crown.  In the case of slips, there may be a small knob at their base. This should be cut off.  Because they are larger, slips and shoots
will produce a fruit in less time than to takes for a crown.  It is
best to use plant size as a guide in determining the best time to force
flowering.  Slips and shoots grow most rapidly while attached to the
mother plant, so it is best to let them grow for several months after the
fruit is removed.

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