Pineapples are bromeliad plants, which means they are cousins to Spanish moss colorful houseplant bromeliads. They can absorb water and nutrients through their leaves, except for their roots of course.
A mature pineapple plant in a pot is several feet wide and tall and needs a five-gallon container for the planting. A year has to pass for a plant to grow this big. During the summer, feel free to put the pot outside, but bring it in again before the first fall frost comes.
How to Root a Pineapple Crown
Buy Fresh Pineapple
When buying a fresh pineapple to eat next time, choose an evenly ripe piece with a nice and healthy set of green leaves at the top of it. Avoid those with dead or sick leaves or the overripe ones.
Slice Off Pineapple Crown
With a sharp knife, slice off the top close to the crown of the fruit, and cut away the rind and the remaining fruit. All fruit flesh will rot later, so make sure to get it all. Next, make very thin slices in the stalk, all the way until you see a ring of brown dots, or the “root primordia”. You will use these unformed roots for growing a new plant.
Remove Leaves from Stalk
Next step is to pull off some of the lower leaves from the stalk to expose around an inch of bare, leafless stalk.
Allow Stalk to Dry
Put away your pineapple crown aside for several days in order for it to dry. Pineapples rot very easily, so it is important to dry it before planting it in the soil.
Plant Pineapple Stalk
Get a 6” to 8” flowerpot and fill it with a light and fast-draining mixture. Cactus potting mix will do, or a mixture of peat, sand, and perlite. Regarding the pot, clay is the best option, but any will do really. You could also dip the end of the crown in rooting hormone before plant it if you wish. Plant the crown about one inch deep, and gently firm the soil around it.
Water Pineapple Stalk
Water the stalk lightly, only to make the soil moist. You can use a spray bottle, as it is more than enough. Put your pot in front of a bright window, and water it only when it is dry, just to keep it moist enough. Do not use fertilizer yet at this stage.
Wait for Pineapple to Root
After around 1-3 month, the plant will make roots. You can test its progress by gently tugging on the crown in order to see if it took hold in the soil. Do not pull very hard, or you will break the young roots.
Repot Pineapple Plant
Once it firmly roots into the soil, new leaves will start to grow from the center. Here, feel free to repot the plant. Move it to a 10” to 12” pot, and use a rich and fast draining mix. After another year of growing, move it to the final home it will have, a large 5-gallon planter pot.
Pineapple needs bright light or full sun during the day. It can also handle some shade, but the light has to be sufficient. Keep the pot away from freezing temperatures. Keep it well lit and in a warm place during winter.
Water and Fertilizer
Overwatering and overfeeding kill the pineapple plant the quickest. Water when needed only, and feed it once a month at the most, using balanced organic fertilizer of regular strength. Keep the plant lightly moist, and never allow it to be waterlogged or completely dry.
Most of the growing happens during warm seasons and slows down with shorter days.
Like the rest of the bromeliads, it is difficult to make the pineapple bloom. Also, it is not likely to bloom or fruit for 2-3 years. A popular way to make it bloom is to expose the plant to ethylene gas. Enclose it in plastic with several overripe apples for a few weeks in the winter. While the apples decompose, they will release ethylene that stimulates flowering of the pineapple.
When the pineapple plant flowers, several months have to pass for it to grow the fruit. Smaller plants produce smaller new pineapples, but they still taste great. Pick them when they are evenly ripe and golden in color.
You can root all of your new pineapples to make more. When you harvest, look at the base for small baby shoots. Harvest the fruits carefully, land leave these small shoots to grow a little. You can then gently remove them, and plant them in their own pots to grow.