How to grow a pineapple

How to grow a pineapple (with pictures) - Best Step-by-step Guide

Updated on 07/06/18

How to grow a pineapple

How to grow a pineapple (with pictures) - Best Step-by-step Guide

Updated on 07/06/18
11 minute read

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In this article, I will show you the best way to grow pineapples at home, indoors and outdoors.

This method is proven and works every time. A big bonus -  it is super easy! 

This article contains a lot more information, answers, and tips for better and faster results.

Continue reading and learn How To Grow A Pineapple.

Next read: How to grow a pineapple (3 months update) - PART 2.

 

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Table of Content:

 

  1. How To Grow A Pineapple From A Top.
  2. Why growing a pineapple?
  3. How to plant a pineapple?
  4. How do pineapples grow?
  5. What type of soil is best for growing a pineapple?
  6. Pineapple slips and suckers.
  7. How long does it take to grow a pineapple?
  8. How many pineapples per plant?
  9. What time of the year do you plant pineapples?
  10. What type of fertilizer to use on Pineapple?
  11. Can you grow a Pineapple in your house?
  12. How often do you water a Pineapple plant?
  13. Why are the leaves on my Pineapple turning yellow?
  14. Do pineapple plants need a lot of sun?
  15. How long do pineapple plants live for?
  16. how long does it take for a pineapple to be ripe?
  17. How do you know when to pick your pineapple?
  18. Can I grow a pineapple in a pot?
  19. How often should I fertilize a pineapple plant?
  20. How to grow a pineapple in water?
  21. Pineapple varieties.

 

How To Grow A Pineapple From A Top

That is the easiest part!

When starting pineapple in water, the goal is to have a rooted stalk ready to be transplanted. That stalk is then put in the ground or in a pot and then it is a waiting game. 

There are few nuances in rooting and starting the plant. Some people recommend a few similar but slightly different ways. I will address them all. I think that the plant is resilient, and will grow easily with each approach. Here is the best way to grow a pineapple.

Get the starting pineapple plant

  1.  Buy a nice looking pineapple from the store. Make sure it has a healthy top/crown.
     
  2. Twist off the top from the pineapple. You can see how to exactly do it in the video above.
     
    how to plant a pineapple - Twisting off the top of the pineapple
     
  3. Remove some of the leaves near the bottom of the pineapple top. Leave 2-4 cm / 1-2 inches of exposed stalk. You can pluck the leaves by hand. 

    how to grow a pineapple - pineapple top with bottom leaves removed

     
  4. Put the crown in a container or a cut-off bottle, 2 - 4 cm / 1 - 2 inches deep. Make sure the bottom part is fully immersed in water.  You can use toothpicks to hold the top. If you use a plastic bottle, please recycle it after the rooting stage is over.  

    how to grow a pineapple - Grow pineapple in water

     
  5. Wait for roots to grow. It may take up to 3 weeks. 

    Rooted pineapple top, rooted in water for 3 weeks.

     
  6. How to plant the pineapple stalk - Take the rooted stalk, transplant it in a pot and water it twice a week. Keep the soil moist, do not soak it often. 

    How to grow a pineapple - planting the pineapple plant is soil
  7. Enjoy the rest of the day.

It is that easy.

Here is the final result: A pineapple fruit growing on the plant

There are some nuances.

The pineapple plant stalk will take 1-3 weeks to grow roots. You will notice the noodle-shaped roots as they start coming out. At that point, you can transplant the pineapple plant in soil. I recommend a pot, though directly in the ground is also ok. 

When the pineapple is ripe in time, you can enjoy eating eat right off the plant or mixing slices of it in your fruit salad, smoothie and more. Try using all the edible part of the pineapple using pineapple slicers. You can find a few on Amazon for under 10$. They can help you get the most out of your pineapples.

 

Other similar methods:

Some people cut 2 cm / 1 inch with a knife, from the top of the fruit so the stalk has a disc of fruit attached to its bottom. They then transplant it immediately in the ground. They say it works.

Some follow the way I suggested, but they do not clean the lower part of the stalk from the leaves. They leave the top as is. 

Some do not even root the stalk in water. They plant the stalk immediately in the ground.

Want to know something? All of the above methods will work. Some faster than the other, some cleaner than the other. It doesn't matter. Worst case, you lose one stalk and restart the process with a different approach.

What works for you is good. 

One last thing, in how many pineapples per plant section, I explain how many pineapples will grow from the plant and how you can grow more pineapples per plant. Read more.

 

 

Why growing a pineapple?

First, pineapples are delicious. Pineapple is a very popular fruit, with a unique taste that leaves you craving for more. Whether with vanilla ice cream, served combined with an alcoholic drink or eaten right of the plant, pineapple (ananas) is tasty!

Second, it is a great houseplant. Adds a lot to your garden. 

Another reason is that is very easy. especially for novice gardeners.

Some people feel discouraged when growing pineapple because it takes a couple of years to bear fruit

So what? Many fruits, especially those on trees, take years until they are eating worthy. relatively, pineapple plants produce fruit in a short time. Believe it or not.

Another argument is that each stalk will grow only one pineapple. That is only if you choose to grow only one stalk. Plant the suckers, plant the slips and soon enough you will have enough pineapple to feed your neighborhood.

Keep reading to find out more about how to grow a pineapple in water and remember - keep calm and grow a pineapple plant. 

 

How to plant a pineapple

Planting a pineapple is easy. No special preparation or experience is needed.

After rooting the plant, prepare a small pot with good quality soil.

Dig a small hole in the soil so the pineapple and its root can fit easily without any pressure. 

Plant the pineapple in that hole. Cover the base of the plant with soil so all is leveled.

Water the pineapple and you are done!

 

In time, when the pineapple will grow in size, you may want to re-pot the plant so it can grow bigger and eventually grow nice fruit. 

Here is a video explaining how to re-pot a pineapple plant on YouTube.

 

How do pineapples grow

Growing a pineapple plant (ananas plant) is a very easy task to do. There are few gotchas though. It can't just grow anywhere, it needs a certain condition and treatment. Read more to learn everything you need to know in order to grow a delicious pineapple.

There are more than 2000 varieties of pineapple plants. Some are for eating, some are for juices and more.

Pineapples grow on a bushy plant. The plant will reproduce by growing suckers and slips. Each will grow a pineapple as well.

Those newly grown suckers and slips will also produce slips and suckers themselves. That is the way the plant propagates.

Pineapples can be grown by replanting the top or from seeds. The latter includes the process of germination.

Pineapple plants are grown commercially mainly in the south and central America, Africa and south-east Asia where the climate is most suitable.

Pineapple plants do not grow only one fruit. In how many pineapples per plant I explain how pineapple plants grow multiple fruits.

Do not worry my friend, you can easily grow a pineapple plant in your backyard, in a pot outside or even inside your house!

 

How do pineapples grow?

how to grow a pineapple - How do pineapples grow? grow pineapples inside your house, in pots or garden

 

What type of soil is best for growing a pineapple?

When growing pineapple plants in a non-commercial way, types of soil plays a less significant part.

Farmers do heavily prepare the soil in order to maximize yield and profit.

luckily, for growing one at home, it is less complicated. Nonetheless, the nutritional value of the soil is very important.

Pineapple plant grows best in the range of 0-500 meters / 0 - 1640 feet above sea level. It may change from a variety to the other.

In some parts of the world, pineapple plants grow at the altitude of 2000 meters / 6560 feet above sea level but it may reduce the sweetness. It depends what is the purpose of the fruit. 

The soil composition

The soil should have good drainage, uniform in texture and stable. The soil should be fungus free since some varieties of pineapple plants are highly sensitive and damaged easily by those.

Usually, a high-quality potting mix does the trick. A good approach is using a standard good quality potting mix, combined with some coco coir fibers for great drainage.

It contains everything that the pineapple plant needs. 

Compacted soils, soils with high levels of clay, etc, should be avoided due to poor drainage and high levels of humidity that remain in the soil. It will provide a good ground for fungus and that is bad.

 

PH levels

PH levels should be in a range of 5 - 7. Soils that are too acidic or too alkaline will promote the growth of fungus. I can say that the lower PH level recommended is 4 and the highest is 7.5. It really depends on the variety of the pineapple plant. I use a standard PH soil meter to make sure the soil is in range. You can find it on Amazon for around 13$.

If the soil was not treated lately, an addition of calcium to the ground may be good for the pineapple. Calcium can come in the form of gypsum or lime.

My personal opinion is: If your soil is not old or heavily used, using a decent pot mix, with a combination of fertilizing every 6 - 12 months should be sufficient. Nonetheless, those key factors I mentioned, are important to consider.

 

Pineapple slips and suckers

What are pineapple plant slips and suckers? You should know they are important! Use them to grow more pineapples or cut them off in order to let a single pineapple grow with all the plant's resources.

As I mentioned in the how do pineapples grow section, slips, and suckers are how the plant propagates. 

Before we move on, sometimes you will see online or at the local nursery that suckers or slips may be referred as pineapple ratoons

I am not an expert botanist, but I think that reference may be wrong. I will address that technique at the bottom of this section. Moving on.

The suckers come out of the roots, usually next to the main crown you planted, near the base of the stalk. Suckers are the extensions of the plant and they will also grow a single pineapple each, given the conditions.

 

Pineapple stalk with a sucker that grew next to it

how to grow a pineapple - Pineapple suckers and slips

 

Slips look a lot like suckers. Pineapple plant slips grow out of the stalk and will also produce a fruit.

You can detach them from the plant, root them and you will get a new pineapple plant. Suckers and slips produce fruit faster than a crown. 

Why Grow one pineapple plant if you can use your plant to grow couple more? Plant the suckers and slips to get more pineapples and enjoy them during the season. It also makes the waiting for a pineapple shorter, you create a stream of ripe pineapple rather than one at a time.

 

Tip: As I mentioned in the how long does it take to grow a pineapple section, pineapples that grow out of slips and suckers may take less time to grow. 

 

Pineapple ratoon

Before I finish this section, I would like to address the ratooning technique

Ratooning means cutting down the plant in order to promote the growth of new shoots or slips for that matter. 

I don't think this is necessary with pineapple plants. The pineapple plant will grow new slips and suckers even if you do not cut it. 

Anyway, as I mentioned before, I am not an expert botanist but I learned that pineapple plants do grow new slips and suckers (ratoons shoots for that matter) even without cutting the main stalk. 

Leave it be and it will grow. 

 

how long does it take to grow a pineapple

Growing a pineapple to the stage it can be harvested and consumed takes time. Assuming we are not talking about industrial growth, these are the estimated periods for growing pineapple yourself from a pineapple top:

  1. Rooting the crown: 2 weeks.
  2. planting and letting roots to grow: 2-3 months. After that stage you have a healthy Pineapple growing.
  3. grow a flower: 15 months.
  4. mature and ripe: 3-4 months.

So, how long does it take to grow a pineapple?  around 2 years to grow, maybe a little less.

Pineapple growing time also depends on the variety and the planting conditions.

This process can be shortened by forcing the plant to yield fruit. This is usually done on a farm in order to keep the yield uniform in time. It doesn't make any sense for the farmer to sit there and wait for the fruit to grow and ripe randomly. Right? 

Here is a video with a grown pineapple fruit on the bush. It took more than 1.5 years to grow, 

Tip: Growing pineapple from suckers and slips may take less time, up to 2-3- month difference. 

 

How many pineapples per plant?

It depends. Assuming you grow a pineapple plant from the top of a fruit, a pineapple will grow only one fruit per plant.

The same top will produce suckers and slips and if those are not cut from the plant, they will produce fruit as well. This way you will get a large bushy plant with more fruit, thus, many pineapples per plant. 

If you leave it to grow freely, a pineapple plant will keep producing fruit, but one fruit per stalk. After producing one fruit, a stalk will die.

Normally, in order to keep the growth in place and produce more pineapples per plant, it is recommended to detach those suckers and slips gently by hand and root them separately. That way the main plant has the energy needed to produce nice fruit and you can get more fruit in separate containers by transplanting the slips and suckers. 

 

To conclude so far:

In order to answer how many pineapples per plant you need to remember the following:

Each stalk will grow only one fruit, but more stalks (slips and suckers). Each of those will grow one fruit itself and the cycle will continue. 

Theoretically, you can grow as many pineapples per plant as you want by replanting the slips and suckers. 

 

What time of the year do you plant pineapples?

Pineapple plants are grown year-round. They can be planted in any season. The conditions for the plant to develop are temperatures that are not so hot and do not go down below 10-12C / 50-54F.

The pineapple plant may not survive below zero temperature and extreme temperatures fluctuations.

Tip: If you expect an unusual extreme short period cold weather in your area, move the pineapple indoors if possible. When the temperatures are normal again, place it back outdoors.

 

What type of fertilizer to use on pineapples?

Pineapple plants are easy to grow at home. Even so, pineapple plant care is important.

Fertilizing your plant is an important part of plant care routine. 

When growing non-commercially, fewer chemicals and fertilizers are needed since there is no need for simultaneous mature or even ripping.

Also, the ground should not have to sustain a continuous growth of massive crops.

Having said that, I would recommend using standard fertilizer, the kind you can use for fruit trees. At the bottom of the section, there are some examples of fertilizer on amazon.com you can check out. Some are Miracle-Gro (miracle grow) that can work well with pineapples (a great example of pineapple plant food).

Usually, it comes in liquid form, but solids also work fine. It contains most of the necessary minerals and chemical elements the pineapple needs to grow successfully (e.g. Potassium, Calcium, phosphates of many kinds, Nitrogen, etc.).

Fertilizing your pineapple may also keep your soil ready for another plant. Malnourished soils are susceptible to diseases and generally yield poor quality fruit. In addition, the plant may suffer from yellow leaves, smaller fruit, warms, roots diseases and more.  

Check out this YouTube video about using Miracle-Gro all purpose plant food for your pineapple.

Tip: fertilizing is important. It strengthens the plant, making it more resilient and produce a healthier and tastier fruit. Do not over fertilize though. It can be a double-edged sword.

 

 

Can you grow a pineapple in your house?

Definitely yes. You can grow in your backyard, in a raised bed, pot, whiskey barrel etc.

One thing to consider, that if the container is too small it might prevent from the plant to grow sufficiently. Another potential issue is that your back-yard soil may be less nutritious and suffers from many fungi, diseases, and pests. It is recommended to prepare the soil if you like to have a healthy plant.

Preparing the soil may include fertilizing (with something like Miracle-Gro), rocks removal and even replacing soil altogether.

 

How often do you water a pineapple plant?

Pineapple plants are best if watered twice a week.

The goal of watering the pineapple plant is moistening the soil. No need to over flood or keep dry. Just moist the soil well.

A pineapple plant, on average can consume 1 gallon of water (4 liters) in a week. Maybe less when it is younger and depends on the size of the container. That's 100 gallons (400 liters) of water for one fruit.

Conserve water by using drippers or water the soil directly with a concentrated stream. 

Tip: drainage is important. access water can cause diseases and kill the roots of the plant. Make sure the soil is moist through the entire depth of the container and no water is trapped at the bottom.

 

Why are the leaves on my pineapple plant turning yellow?

This may happen naturally but usually, it is a sign of a problem with the plant. The leaves may be turning yellow or brown, keep calm (and grow pineapples!) and check those possible reasons: 

  1. Access water - lack of drainage.
  2. Insufficient water.  
  3. Overexposure to sun radiation/light.
  4. Exposure to cold weather.
  5. The plant gave its fruit from the stalk and it is dying.

If possible, change the position of the container and check the moisture levels of the soil. 

Another possible reason for a pineapple plant to turn yellow is malnourished soil. The pineapple plant fails to get all the basic minerals and chemical elements it needs from the soil, therefore, develops yellow leaves. 

Yellow leaves can be a sign of a disease, not only the lack of plant fertilizer in the soil. The malnourished soil is more susceptible to diseases. This section explains more about fertilizers for pineapples.

If you know other reasons, please let me know in the comments below.

 

Do pineapple plants need a lot of sun?

Generally, no.

A lot of sun is a relative thing, though.

The plant needs the sun in order to grow but can be sensitive to the sun's radiation. So make sure the plant is in a place that sunlight reaches it but not under too much DIRECT sunlight.

Some growers even grow their pineapple plants under a semi-transparent tarp or a net. That lowers the magnitude of sun rays reaching the plant.

Keep in mind that some varieties are more resilient and can take more sun. 

I recommend the following way: start by placing your pineapple plant in a semi-sunny location and keep an eye on it.

If it grows well, you are golden.

If you encounter problems with the growth or the plant seems to suffer from a disease, try moving it to a sunnier location. 

How long do pineapple plants live for?

The plant and its sucker and slips?

For a long time (assuming no diseases or climate changes).

Why is that?

The plant keeps growing suckers from its roots and those suckers grow more suckers in time so it is reproducing this way. After a stalk gave fruit, It will turn brown and die.

The pineapple plant will keep producing fruit, but one fruit for each stalk it grows.

So to conclude: If you choose to trim the suckers and slips, the plant will give one fruit and die. If you leave those to grow freely, you will have a field of pineapple that will grow for a long time. 

 

How long does it take for a pineapple to be ripe?

After a flower is visible in the center of the stalk, it takes up to 3-4 month for a fruit to ripen.

 

How do you know when to pick your pineapple?

When you see a green fruit it is not ready yet. Gradually the color will change to yellow and then to orange-ish color. Basically, it is ok to pick when the fruit is yellow in color. 

Pineapple is a fruit that requires a lot of patients. Give it its time and you will enjoy the journey.

 

Can I grow a pineapple in a pot?

Absolutely yes. You can start in a small plastic planter of your choice at the beginning when the plant is young. I wouldn't use growing bags since they can be unstable and if the plant will fall out of the soil it might traumatize it.

how to grow a pineapple - pineapples growing in pots

I'd use 17cm / 6.5'' diameter (at the top) to start with. They hold 2 liters / 0.5 gallons of soil and provide a good start.

The pots do not take a lot of room in the garden, to begin with. As the plant gets bigger, relocate it to larger pots.

Make sure you don't choose high or too wide pots. The balance is that that the width of the pot is getting greater with the width. A mid-size pot can be 33cm / 13'' diameter (top) and 24cm / 12'' height.

When the plant gets bigger than that, choose a good planting pot for it, so the plant can grow more roots. The plant is also bigger by now, it needs more water.

 

 

Repotting a pineapple plant

It is common to start a pineapple plant in a small pot or planter. It saves place and water.

When the plant gets bigger, it is recommended to re-pot the pineapple plant so it can grow bigger and faster. 

A plant that remains in small pots grow slowly and takes more time to produce fruit.

I recommend 30-40 cm / 11 - 15 inch. diameter pot as the final size. There is no need for a bigger pot.

Here is a video on YouTube that will show you the process of repotting a pineapple plant.

 

How often should I fertilize a pineapple plant?

Farmers have a strict routine for fertilizing pineapples since their goal is more product, by quality and size in less time. When you grow pineapple yourself, at home or backyard, a less strict routine is in order.

I would recommend not to over-fertilize the plant. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer you buy. If not provided, I think that once every 6 - 12 months is sufficient.

Remember, over fertilizing is not good. It produces the opposite result. The plant can potentially suffer from poisoning. 

If you plant the pineapple top outside, in your garden, where the soil is old and lacks nutrition, I would fertilize the soil before planting the pineapple. 

If you want to know more, This section explains more about fertilizers for you pineapples. 

Here is a great video that shows how to fertilize a pineapple using Miracle-Gro.

Tip: If in doubt, always follow the manufacturer instructions. More is not always better.

 

How to grow a pineapple in water

Growing pineapple in water is a simple thing to do, assuming your idea is to grow a pineapple in soil but root it first in water.

If your intention is to grow a fully ripe fruit and not only to root the plant in water, using a hydroponic system or similar system, I can provide the following input on the topic:

  1. Cost-effectiveness - pineapples take between 15-20 months until ripen. Sometimes more. It seems a waste of hydroponic real estate since the yield is low per square foot of a system. Those systems can be expensive.
  2. Even if you go for a homemade a hydroponic system, which can be cheaper, the fertilizer for that system can be more expensive if bought pre-built. Also, I think you need to use more in comparing to fertilizing the plain old soil. By the time you got your pineapple, you went through 10 gallons of fertilizer. Not an expert in that field though.
  3. Maintenance of the system - as I said, pineapples takes a lot of time to grow. Seems like keeping the system maintained for 2 years so in the end there is a pineapple, seems like a waste of time and money. Hydroponics systems are usually best for fast yielding crops.
  4. The efficiency of the system - Pineapples need space to grow. So if you have. let's say, 3 meters / 10 feet of a system, you will be able to place only a few plants. That is not efficient. 

I am not an expert, I would love to hear that I am actually wrong and it is manageable in some configuration. Let me know what you know/think in the comments.

 

Pineapple varieties

I mentioned in the how do pineapples grow section that there are many varieties of pineapple, and I am talking about the ones that are commercially sold in the store. 

Each location in the world has its own popular variety that suits the taste of the local population.

Here are some pineapple varieties:

  1. Smooth Cayenne - mildly acid flavor, low on fiber and juicy.
  2. Queen - low fibers, juicy, very fragrant. A very popular variety. 
  3. James Queen.
  4. Natal Queen.
  5. Pernambuco.
  6. Mauritius.

There are many more pineapple varieties. You can find out more here.

 

To Conclude

To answer How to grow a pineapple? I can say that all is needed is a pineapple top, a container of water and time.

You don't have to be an experienced gardener. You bought a pineapple and don't know what to do with the top of a pineapple? Just plant it wherever you can.

Starting pineapple in water is an easy thing to do. 

In how long does it take to grow a pineapple I discussed the growth duration of the fruit. It is not so long as many people claim in comparison to other fruits.

Follow the instruction above, and soon enough you will have a healthy pineapple plant. 

Remember, growing pineapples takes time. Don't forget some pineapple plant care to make sure it is growing well. 

The fruit grows on a bush. Not a tree :)

You now know all about how to plant a pineapple. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

 

Next read: How to grow a pineapple (3 months update) - PART 2.

Related: How did the Pineapple get its Name?