Pineapples are delicious and healthy! They are full of vitamins and nutrients that help fight off disease. On top of that, they are perfect for desserts, snacks, and even savoury meals! You can grill them, freeze them, blend them up, or eat them raw. This versatile fruit has a long history of being sought after by explorers and it's easy to grow at home, even using a store-bought pineapple!
Unlike most fruits which you can simply grow from seeds, the pineapple grows by planting the big spiky top. The fruit doesn't really have any useful seeds for propagation, but planting the tops will take root and develop another blossom that will eventually develop into a delicious pineapple. While it's not generally recommended to grow fruits and vegetables from items purchased at the store, pineapple is definitely an easy one to grow at home!
If you are planning to grow your pineapple from the top then you will want to head to the store and begin inspecting what they have to offer. Look for pineapples that are ripe and healthy looking. You don't want to go for leaves that look like they've been beaten up. Look for leaves that are green and firm and in good shape. Too much damage may be too hard for the plant to recover from.
Once you have brought your pineapple home, you can begin by carefully twisting the top off. Do this in one smooth, steady motion and pull it out of the fruit as you twist. Remove the lower leaves, five or six will do and then set the top out on the counter for about a week. This allows it to cure and can prevent some problems like rot!
Pineapples are big plants and whether you grow them in a pot or in the ground, you'll want to make sure the space you have is large enough. Any pot should be at least 18 inches in diameter, and if you plant in the ground you'll want 3-5 feet between plants. Plant the tops with the cured part in the ground. Lightly fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer.
Pineapples are used to heat and sunshine. If you live in a colder climate, you'll want to plant your pineapple in a pot that you can move around indoors where it's warm and where you can get it plenty of access to sunshine. The colder the environment the longer it will take to bear fruit, and if the temperature drops below freezing it's likely you'll lose your pineapple plant entirely!
A pineapple will take about three months to fully establish itself in the ground or in your pot. After that, it can take up to 18 months before it has finished growing enough to finally create a flower. That flower will then take up to three months to produce fruit. You will finally be able to harvest and eat your pineapple after three to five weeks of being on the plant!
In general, a single pineapple plant will produce one flower from the main crown that will turn into a pineapple fruit. A single plant will also, generally, only fruit three times before it will need to be retired. All pineapples create suckers that can be easily transplanted and will all grow their own fruit and suckers once that is done!
On top of making sure it stays warm and gets plenty of sun, pineapples like to have well-drained soil and should be planted in clay pots with extra drainage from rocks and sand at the bottom of the pot. They need slightly acidic dirt and nitrogen to fruit; use fertilizer during the growing season on indoor fruits twice a month and less in the winter time. Make sure you remove all but the two strongest suckers on your pineapple so that it doesn't waste energy.
While you can root a pineapple from its top in water, you should not try to grow one this way. For fruit, they require even moisture which means too much water will prevent them from staying healthy. Root the tops in only a half inch of water and remove to the soil when the tops have sprouted their roots. If you choose to root then do not cure the pineapple top, just remove all but about five of the largest leaves and use toothpicks to balance over the water so that only the exposed core is soaking.
Pineapples are most often thought to have come from Hawaii, but they're actually a South American fruit that was discovered by Christopher Columbus when he landed in South America. While it is believed to have been first found in Southern Brazil and Paraguay, it quickly spread throughout the continent, and Columbus found it in Guadalupe. Pineapples were not introduced to Hawaii until the 1800s. Because they helped to prevent scurvy they became a frequent addition to ships' stores, along with oranges, for sailors headed off on long naval journeys. Both oranges and pineapples contain excellent amounts of Vitamin C!