Questions on: Pineapple
Ron Smith, Horticulturist, NDSU Extension Service
Q: I have looked through the vegetable/fruit section, as well as the houseplant section of your Web site, but didn't see anything about starting pineapples. How hard is it to start a pineapple crown? (e-mail reference)
A: About as hard as eating freshly baked chocolate chip cookies! To start, purchase a fresh pineapple. Twist off the vegetative growth and allow it to cure on the counter for two days. Stick the vegetative stem into a well-drained, pasteurized soil mix. Keep it moist, but not soggy. Place the plant in a sunny location. In about six weeks, growth should be evident. In a year, you probably can harvest your own pineapple.
Q: I heard you can grow a pineapple from the crown of one you can buy in a store. If so, how? (Bismarck, N.D.)
A: To grow a pineapple, twist off the crown (leafy top part). Trim away any of the fruit, which should be very little, if at all. Strip off a few lower leaves, then store in a dry room-temperature location upside down for about two weeks to allow the cut end and leaf scars to harden. This is important, as it prevents rotting of the end. Plant in an 8-inch clay pot that is filled with lightweight potting soil that has about 1 inch of gravel or crushed clay pots at the bottom. Place the crown in the soil and firmly press the soil around the base. Water about once a week and fertilize every three months. In a nice, warm sunny location, the plant will produce fruit in 20-22 months.
Q: Last spring we rooted and planted the top off a fresh pineapple. We got tired of it and pulled it out, but there were many hairy type roots. Now we have discovered six new little plants coming up in the same pot. What I need to know is how to take care of them? Do we feed them anything, should we divide them now or later, and will that hurt the root system? Any information you can give me would be appreciated. (e-mail)
A: E-mail is great, but it gives me no clues as to where you are making reference to. It makes little difference with pineapple, however, as it will grow just about anywhere in the United States indoors with plenty of sunlight. So be sure to place them in a sunny window.
Water the compost only when it is dry, and resist the temptation to overwater. In a few months, some small pineapple fruits may appear. Nothing spectacular, but interesting and fun to try.
I would suggest just letting the cute little ones go on their way of developing. As we get closer to spring, give them a monthly shot of all purpose houseplant fertilizer and see what happens.
Back to the Hortiscope Table of Contents