Pineapples you grow yourself—even if they are smaller—are much tastier than the pineapple you buy. This might come as a surprise, but you can actually grow a pineapple at home from one that you've bought from the grocery store or farmer's market. If you're looking for a fun gardening project (with a sweet payoff!), this might just be it. The process is an easy one, though growing a pineapple to maturity can take a long while. Growing it inside can be great for those who live in colder climates, where it's impossible to grow pineapples outdoors.
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|Botanical Name||Ananas comosus|
Can You Grow Pineapple Inside?
Pineapples are not hard to grow indoors. A successfully rooted pineapple plant will start to grow within weeks, provided it gets plenty of warmth and adequate moisture. Once rooted, the pineapple will produce mature fruit in about two years, although this length of time will vary depending on your conditions.
You can start growing pineapples indoors by purchasing a mother plant, removing and planting offshoot plants produced by a mother plant, or by cutting off the top from a mature fruit. Regardless, make sure you have ample space, because it needs at least a 5-gallon bucket or pot for proper growth.
How to Grow Pineapple Indoors
Pineapples prefer full sun, so give them plenty of light—at least 6 to 8 hours a day. When choosing where to place your pineapple in your home, opt for a sunny windowsill that provides plenty of direct sunlight.
If you don't have a spot in your home with enough bright sunlight, consider investing in an artificial grow light to supplement the sun's rays. High-intensity or LED lights are the best choices to help pineapple thrive. Take care during the winter to ensure the plant still gets at least 8 hours of light per day.
Temperature and Humidity
True to their tropical roots, pineapples cannot thrive in cool, dry weather—and never in frost conditions. For the best results, keep your pineapple plant in temperatures that range from 65 degrees Fahrenheit to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. When it comes to humidity, your pineapple plant will likely be fine with the conditions already in your home. If you live in an especially dry climate, you can try misting your plant occasionally, but never to the point of saturation.
Water your pineapple plant profusely throughout its life. As with most bromeliads, you should never allow your pineapple to sit in water, and always water it from the top down. Pineapples will grow more slowly if they're not receiving enough water, but they are generally more tolerant of being under-watered rather than over-watered.
Top and root rot are both fungal diseases caused by watering the plant too frequently or poorly-draining soil. To address this issue, consider repotting into well-drained soil or decrease your watering schedule and allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
Feed young pineapple plants with a weak liquid fertilizer monthly throughout their growing season. After the first year of the pineapple's life, you can fertilize the plant every few months.
Pruning and Maintenance
Pruning a pineapple plant is more a matter of aesthetics than one of plant health. To prune, simply cut down the longer leaves for a more uniform appearance.
Container and Size
A 5-gallon container is suitable for the growing cycle of a pineapple plant. The container can be made of terra cotta, ceramic, or even a plastic bucket, as long as the drainage is appropriate.
Potting Soil and Drainage
Plant pineapples in moist but well-drained soil. Any traditional potting mixture works just fine, but there's a chance you might be able to find a bromeliad-specific soil blend. It's helpful if the soil is slightly acidic in nature, but overall they can thrive in an environment with a neutral pH level too.
Potting and Repotting Pineapple
Pineapples typically should not need repotting. A newly-rooted pineapple will grow long, strappy leaves (about 30-inches long in a healthy plant) that are fiercely serrated (so be careful when handling them!).
As the plant matures, it will begin sending off shoots from the base. These can be carefully removed and potted individually, but the mother plant will not need repotting. After the plant fruits and you harvest the fruit, the mother plant will begin to decline, so it's best to discard it and concentrate on the offshoots.
Moving Pineapple Outdoors for the Summer
Pineapple takes quite well to moving outdoors. Make sure it's in full sun.
Remember that pineapple handles under-watering better than over-watering, so be sure to keep an eye on the skies. If the pineapple gets adequate water from nature, don't bother watering it on your own. Keep it in full sun and pay attention to the forecast for dipping temperatures.
When to Bring Pineapple Back Inside
Bring pineapple plants back inside when the temperatures begin to dip in autumn. Remember that they thrive best in temperatures of 85 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, and temperatures that dip below 70 degrees Fahrenheit or so can lead to dormancy. Before bringing it back inside, take a few weeks to slowly introduce it to more shade to acclimate it to the indoor conditions for winter.
Is it easy to propagate pineapple?
To propagate a pineapple from a grocery store fruit, twist or cut off the leafy top of the plant. Remove some of the lower leaves. Dry out the cutting for a few days. Plant the cutting so the leaves are flush or slightly above the soil line, then start watering to keep the soil moist. Roots will start to form in about 8 weeks.
What plant pests are common to pineapple?
Look for common pests like mealybugs and scale. If you notice signs of an infestation, treat the plant with a non-toxic horticultural oil, like neem oil, frequently until all evidence of pests has disappeared.