Vegetables and flowers are the first things that come to mind when thinking about gardening. However, pineapples are often overlooked and easier to grow than many think. We show you how to grow your own pineapple plant at home and when to pick a pineapple for the ideal ripeness.
This famous Hawaiian tropical fruit is a must-have in a piña colada, and no fruit salad is complete without it. Some even spread fresh pineapple over pizza, but whether pineapple pizza is tasty or not is debatable.
It tastes great, both fresh and cooked, and contains many nutrients and antioxidants. However you enjoy eating pineapple, you’re probably wondering how to grow the perfect pineapple and when it’s ready to pick.
You’ll be pleased to know that Hawaii is not the only place where pineapples grow. Pineapple fruit, or syncarp, is easy to grow no matter where you live, as long as you give it the right conditions.
Growing and Harvesting Pineapples
Why buy pineapples at the local grocery store when you can grow your own? Check out our simple pineapple growing tips. We show you how to grow this popular Hawaiian fruit, how to tell when it’s ripe to eat, and when to harvest it for your kitchen table.
Can You Grow Pineapples at Home?
When are pineapples ripe, and can you grow pineapple plants at home? Fortunately, these plants are just as easy to grow as any other. Here is how to grow your own pineapples in a few simple steps.
Purchase the best pineapple from your local market and then twist the top off the base of the pineapple. Prepare the fruit for eating and save the crown for planting.
To regrow a pineapple from its crown, remove the bottom leaves to expose the lower two inches of stem, turn it upside down, and allow it to dry out in a cool, dark area for one week. Stick four toothpicks around the perimeter of the bottom of the pineapple stem.
Fill a large jar with water and position the toothpick tips on the rim so that the bottom of the fruit crown rests in the water. Set the jar in a sunny window at room temperature for a few weeks until the roots sprout.
Fill a garden pot with potting soil that contains 30% organic material, and plant the pineapple in the dirt after the roots are a couple of inches long.
Plant the base of the pineapple so that the leaves are just above the soil and pat the dirt down lightly. Give it a decent amount of water to help it settle and set it back in the sunny windowsill or outside if you live in a warm climate.
When to Pick a Pineapple
Now that you started your pineapple plants, you’re probably left wondering, how long do pineapples take to grow, and how long do you have to wait for a harvest? Here are the stages of a pineapple plant’s growth and how long it takes to produce fruit.
Pineapple Growth Rate
The first stage of growing a pineapple is when you soak it to promote root growth. It takes roughly six to eight weeks before it grows roots long enough to be planted in soil.
After you pot the new plant in dirt, it takes two to three years to reach maturity, flower, and produce fruit. It’s a great idea to re-pot it as it grows to encourage healthy growth during this time.
How to Care for Pineapple Plants
Planting your pineapple plants is only the first step in the growing process. Here are some important things to provide your plants with while you await the pineapple harvest time.
Pineapple plants do not tolerate night temperatures below 65°F, and they crave warmth and humidity. When you first plant your pineapple, consider placing a plastic bag over the leaves to simulate a greenhouse and raise humidity. Doing this also helps the rooting process.
Water your pineapple plant regularly during dry conditions or once a week, and fertilize it with a half-strength fertilizer twice a month during the summer. Place your plants in an area where they receive at least six hours of sunlight daily.
Dealing with Common Pineapple Problems While They Grow
No one wants to see their plants fail after working so hard to plant and nurture them. Here are a few things to look out for as your plants grow to prevent them from struggling or dying off.
Bacterial heart rot is common with pineapples and caused by a bacterium. It causes water-soaked lesions on the leaves’ basal sections and moves to all the leaves in the central whorl.
It spreads from juices of infected fruits, and ants are often vectors. It’s vital to remove and destroy infected parts to prevent spread.
Mealybugs are the most common pest for pineapple plants. They are flat and oval, disk-like insects, and their presence causes mealybug wilt. The leaves turn red, and the tips wither and brown. A natural insecticide takes care of the problem.
Pineapple Harvest Time
After all of your patience and hard work, you finally arrive at pineapple harvest time. Here is how to tell when the pineapples are the perfect ripeness for picking and how to harvest them.
As your plants mature, a red cone appears in the center of the leaves. This then turns into a blue flower, followed by pineapple fruit, which consists of individual fruitlets.
Six months after you first notice the flower, the fruit is mature. At this point, the outside of the pineapple is turning yellow, which is a good indicator that it is ripe.
However, it’s fine to pick a green pineapple to ripen at room temperature. To pick the pineapple, use a sharp kitchen knife to cut it away from the plant where the fruit joins the stalk.
How to Store Pineapples
Now that you have the perfect pineapple, or two or three, sitting on your kitchen counter, what’s the best way to store it? We’ll explain how to store a ripe and unripe pineapple using a couple of methods.
If your pineapple is still mostly green, let it sit at room temperature to ripen to a nice yellow. A ripe pineapple lasts up to three days at room temperature or up to five days in the fridge.
To store pineapple pieces or fruitlets, place them in an airtight container and set them in the refrigerator for five to seven days.
When are Pineapples Ripe from the Grocery Store?
While you’re waiting for your pineapple plants to produce fruit, your impatience gets the best of you, so head to your local market.
Choosing ripe fruits from the store is almost as confusing as knowing when to harvest them. So, when are pineapples ripe at the grocery store?
Grocery Store Pineapples
When browsing the grocery store for a good pineapple, choose one that has vibrant, green leaves. This is a good indicator of freshness. A greenish-yellow exterior means the fruit is ripe, while a darker green color means it won’t be ripe for a few days.
Pick it up in your hand and make sure it has a firm shell with a slight give when you squeeze it. Smell the bottom of the pineapple for a distinct pineapple smell.
It is not ripe if there is no odor. Check the fruit for weight. Oftentimes, a pineapple that is heavy for its size means it is sweeter and juicier than others.
Pineapple fruits have an exotic appearance that you don’t see in an everyday garden, but you don’t have to live in a tropical paradise to grow these sweet and succulent fruits.
If you’re a DIY kind of person, growing pineapple plants and harvesting fresh pineapple is right up your alley.
Now that you’ve learned when to pick a pineapple after growing your own plants, why not impress the fruit-lovers in your life by sharing our pineapple growing and harvesting guide and tips with them on Pinterest and Facebook?