Planting pineapple: here’s how
Pineapple is not just sweet and delicious, it also contains numerous vitamins, minerals and trace elements. With every bite of this refreshing fruit, you are doing your body a favour. Naturally, you should not eat vast quantities since the fructose content is comparatively high. But why not try growing this tropical plant at home? It doesn’t take much.
Two planting options
You want to give it a try? First, you need an ordinary pineapple. Make sure you buy one with leaves that look fresh and green.
The first step is to separate the stem from the fruit. To do so, grasp the tuft of leaves and twist back and forth until the stalk separates (Figure 1). This usually takes a bit of force.
Then, use a knife or your fingers to remove the rest of the flesh. This improves subsequent root growth.
Now, you could plant the tuft of leaves directly. Optionally, you can add an interim step to speed up root growth. This is called the regrowing method. To do so, prepare the pineapple stalk as described above and then suspend it in a glass of water (Figure 2). Make sure the leaves are above the edge of the glass, and the roots on the bottom end are always covered by water. If the water level in the glass gets too low, just add more. There’s no need to change the water.
Put the glass in a warm, half-shaded place and wait until roots, 3 to 5 cm long, form under the tuft. This can take several weeks.
Once the roots are long enough, you should let the stalk dry for two or three days – either on the radiator or on the windowsill in the sun. This prevents it from starting to rot quickly. Applying powdered charcoal to the cut surface for disinfection is also recommended to reduce the risk of rot.
Then, fill a planter of adequate size – with sufficient drain holes so it does not get waterlogged – with ordinary potting soil. Plant the stalk, making sure the bottom leaves on the tuft are above the soil, and press down the soil on all sides. Small sticks of wood can help support the plant.
If you are short on patience, you can also plant the stalk directly in the soil without using the regrowing method. To do so, perform the process of drying, disinfection and planting described above. Just skip the part with the glass of water. This also works well but takes a bit longer.
Caring for the pineapple plant
Have you planted your pineapple? The best place for your plant is by a window with plenty of light – at least 20 degrees and out of the blazing sun is perfect.
Water very little at the outset so the roots do not rot. Regular spraying is entirely sufficient at first. Later on, it only has to be watered every two to three weeks.
This makes it really easy to care for. However, the rest will test your patience: it can take up to three years for a bud to form. The plant’s single fruit takes another six months to ripen.
On the other hand, the plant is very decorative on its own. With a bit of luck, you will actually be able to harvest a fruit eventually. The right time for harvesting is determined as follows:
- The tuft of leaves is a succulent, green colour and pulling out a leaf is easy.
- The flesh yields slightly to pressure.
- The fruit has a distinct pineapple fragrance.
Once the fruit reaches this stage, your DIY pineapple will surely taste incredible – even though it likely will not grow quite as large and juicy as in tropical countries.
By the way, the tuft of leaves dies off after harvesting. However, it first forms new young plants that can be grown to produce more pineapples.
Interested in other exotic items? Here, we explain how you can also grow your own avocado or olive tree.