If you’ve ever wondered how to grow a pineapple, here’s a tip: start with them as houseplants. It’ll take some time, but if you’re patient you’ll eventually have a taste of the tropics in your living room!
Now, first, let’s have a quick vocabulary lesson. You might hear people talk about pineapple ‘trees,’ but there’s no such thing! Pineapples are plants — you’ll learn more about that in the next section.
Rooting takes a couple of months, and it’ll likely take two to three years to get fruit, but in the meantime, you can enjoy the spiky foliage and the fun of growing a tropical treat.
Here’s how to root and grow pineapples indoors in your home.
If you want to grow pineapples, you need to first learn about them. Here are some fast facts:
- Pineapples are a type of bromeliad, which makes them a cousin to Spanish moss and the colorful bromeliads commonly grown as houseplants.
- Smooth Cayenne is the top cultivar of pineapple; that is, it’s produced by selective breeding. It’s spineless with striped leaves and low-fiber flesh.
- Pineapple leaves can absorb some water and nutrients; so can the plant’s roots.
- A mature potted pineapple plant will be several feet across and tall, and a mature plant will need a 5-gallon planting container.
- It will take at least a year of growing to get a plant to this size. You can put the pot outdoors during the summer, but you need to bring the pineapple plant inside before the first frost of fall.
How to Root a Pineapple Crown
Follow these easy steps to start growing a pineapple plant:
Step 1: Buy Fresh Pineapple
The next time you buy a fresh pineapple to eat, choose one that’s evenly ripe, with a nice healthy set of green leaves at the top. Avoid ones that are overripe or that have dead or sick-looking leaves.
Step 2: Slice Off Pineapple Crown
Using a sharp knife, slice off the top of the pineapple fairly close to the crown.
Carefully cut away the rind and remaining fruit — it’s important to remove any fruit flesh that will rot later.
Then, make very thin slices in the stalk, until you see a ring of brownish dots. These are the “root primordia,” the unformed roots that you’re about to grow.
Step 3: Remove Leaves from Stalk
Pull off some of the lower leaves on the pineapple stalk, exposing about an inch of bare stalk.
Step 4: Allow Stalk to Dry
Set the pineapple crown aside for a few days to allow the wound to dry. Pineapples are susceptible to rot, so it’s important to dry out the cut end before planting.
Step 5: Plant Pineapple Stalk
Fill a 6- to 8-inch flower pot (clay is best, but any pot will do) with a light, fast-draining mixture — such as cactus potting mix — or a mixture of peat, sand and perlite.
If you like, you can dip the end in rooting hormone before planting. Plant the pineapple crown about an inch deep, gently firming the soil around it.
Step 6: Water Pineapple Stalk
Water the pineapple stalk very lightly, just enough to moisten the soil — a spray bottle works well for this.
Put the pot in a bright window, and water the plant when it’s dry, just enough to keep it moist.
Don’t use any fertilizer yet. To keep from overwatering, some people put the pot in a terrarium, or in a lightly sealed plastic bag, to allow the plant to recycle its own water.
Step 7: Wait for Pineapple to Root
It’ll take about one to three months for your pineapple to root. To test the progress, gently tug on the crown to see if it is taking hold in the soil. Don’t pull hard enough to break the roots.
Step 8: Repot Pineapple Plant
Once your pineapple has firmly rooted, it will begin growing new leaves from the center.
At this point, you can repot the plant in a 10-to 12-inch pot, using a rich but fast-draining potting mix.
After about a year of growing, you can move it to its final home in a large 5-gallon planter.