Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Plant & Grow a Pineapple Top: Take Two!

Today we wanted to pop in with an update on our homegrown pineapple plant — you heard that right, we've been trying our hands at growing a container pineapple indoors here in Virginia over the last several months, and it's going surprisingly well:


This whole project began almost 2 years ago when we first tried to regrow a pineapple from the leafy top scraps of a pretty dried out fruit. Being completely honest, that experiment didn't go so well and after several weeks of trying to breath new life into that plant, we called it a lost cause — but that didn't stop us from trying again!

We were so intrigued by the idea that it's possible to regrow a pineapple from the top leaves, we simply couldn't let it rest. Rumor has it, a successfully rooted pineapple plant can take up to 2 years to produce fruit. Here's a really nice shot of what one looks like firsthand from our friend Alice's Instagram travels in Sri Lanka over the summer:


Pretty crazy, right? It almost looks fake!

The original concept and method for regrowing a pineapple from its top turns out to work really well, but the trick for our latest success was in using a fresher green top, instead of one that had already dried out.


As a refresher on the process, we just twisted the green leafy top away from the pineapple fruit, chopping the fruit to enjoy and setting the top aside to regrow another plant from:


We prepared the top for regrowth by peeling back a few layers of leaves around the base, then gently sliced the end of the base where any remnants of fruit remain (this base will be resting in water, so we didn't want any fruit left to mold or rot):


From here, I just rested the base in a couple inches of water in one of our finest glasses, I mean, solo cups and just let it be by the windowsill, changing the water every few days:


As you can see, the leaves began to dry out significantly over the few weeks we left it in there, but despite the initial drying out, we began to notice small roots making their way out from the base:


Once the roots were about 1/4" long, we planted the top in a planter nested with well draining organic garden soil:


After bringing the planter inside, I decided to cut away any portions of dried leaves and it was at that point we could also see very slow, but new green growth making its way up through the center of the pineapple base:


From there, we've just continued to water the plant regularly, letting it hang out with our other indoor plants in the office near our front window:


That last shot above was taken in May, so over the past 5 months, we've seen about this much progress:


Not bad, eh?

From starting the top in water to where you see us now has probably taken the better part of 8 months. If the plant continues to grow, we should see it sprout a pineapple over the next year or two. This has definitely been more of an ornamental plant and growing experiment for us — while we'd be thrilled to get a pineapple from our efforts over time, we're just excited to be able to say we have a pineapple house plant in general!

What about you? Do you live in a climate where pineapples grow freely or would you try growing one from the top for fun? I have to admit, before trying to grow a plant ourselves, I didn't actually know pineapples grew from plants in the ground, one fruit at a time — I naively assumed they grew on trees.

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25 comments:

  1. I'm so happy that this project is going so well! I tried it once myself, with no success, but after reading that your second try worked, I'm encouraged to try it again!
    Please, keep us posted about its progress!

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    1. Please do and keep us posted as to your success!

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  2. I just harvested my homegrown pineapple earlier this week. It was quite delicious.

    I started my crown in 2010 but it was slow going and sent off rattoons/pups instead of fruiting. I got fruit off of one of the pups. It may have gone faster if I could transplant it to a larger pot but my balcony didn't have enough room. Zone 10 for me.

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    1. We certainly hope that we get the opportunity to try ours!

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  3. My daughter stuck a pineapple top into soil (with a cactus) about 3 or so years ago. It just sat in the pot, and we really took no mind of it. We watered the cactus every now and then. One day (many months later), we noticed the pineapple top was sending out more leaves. We transplanted it, and we began to water it more frequently. For quite a while (over a year) it grew quite nicely and became quite an attractive addition to the family room. This past summer, I put it in a bigger pot, and I left it on a pedestal outside most of spring and all of summer (I just brought it in this week). Since I live in Illinois, it got plenty of rain and sunlight, and it grew quite a lot. It now has very sharp, spiky leaves and is quite lovely. It has not produced any fruit, but it doesn't need to because I am just happy we have this plant which always turns into a conversation piece when someone who has never been here comes over.

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    1. Eighteen months for my plant with no flower or fruit, but the plant is very healthy and is a lovely addition to my shelf garden!

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  4. I have two in my garden one started 2 years ago and one 1 year ago. They are huge, but so far no fruit. Pretty plants even if they yield no fruit! I live in the Desert Southwest

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  5. After stripping the base and trimming it, did you leave the top out to dry for a while, or did you put it directly in the water? I've heard it should be dried to allow the cut end and the leaf scars to heal and prevent rot. I'm eager to try this though, it's a cool addition!

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    1. Good question! We went ahead and put ours directly in water with success after trimming — if you try it with the healing, we'd love to know if it works better!

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  6. I too had no clue they grew as a "bush" on the ground! They just dont look like that kinda fruit! & seems like most fruit comes from trees or vines anyway so when I was looking up on how to grow 1 myself I saw that pic & was like "YEAH RIGHT!" They definitely look kinda crazy comin up from the ground like that! But ive been wanting to try growing a pineapple plant for awhile now so I finally remembered to ask my husband to pick 1 up from the store! He brough back all kinda crazy fruits, a pommelo (or however u want to spell it, ive seen many different spellings), minnioles, a juan canary (which is a yellow honeydew, which was AWESOME tasting I might add!), my pineapple, a couple peaches, &, I dont think I can regrow this but their really good too, a couple jicamas!! The last is a root that is the only thing not poisonous on the plant I guess so not so sure about growing that but it looks like a potato/turnip, & tastes kinda like an apple/coconut/potato! Interesting variety he picked! I have a couple seeds from the minnioles, a couple that dont look to great from the pummelo, a gobs from the honeydew so im trying to germ. those right now. My final is the pineapple which im REALLY hoping turns out like yours has! Thanks for all your pics & explaining it so well! I cant wait to try it now & will probably today! I'm hoping the others start as well! Ill have a very interesting plant table if so!:-) I live in southern ohio btw! Hot humid summers but ever o so LOOONG lasting winters! Which I am very sick of as of now!:) but thank u again very much! So glad I found your site & ill definitely be looking at it more! You are very good in detail & have great explanatory pics to go along!

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  7. Looks like LD already said it, but my mom also put a top straight into a pot of soil and it took off with no extra care. She had it close to 2 yrs at least one year. I think a flood ended up getting it. It grew good in SE Texas. Probably should of had it in the ground or in a bigger pot by then.

    My questions are: Does the fruit keep coming? Are do you keep propagating the (rattoons)? How much of a freeze can they handle?

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  8. 2 years ago and this is where I'm at, picture and plant located in tampa bay fl
    https://plus.google.com/photos/photo/115973853639299327708/6128875924709123730

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  9. 2 years ago and this is where I'm at , plant located in tamp fl

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  10. Just got back from our wedding g on Kauai. Brought back some Sugar Loaf pineapple. The tops are all growing nicely and are ready for planting in soil. I agree...just having pineapple plants in our home is amazing. If we ever get fruit, it will be a bonus. We live in Az so I'm worried. I don't want tried pineapple, although it's yummy when I mean to do it. So I guess I will keep them inside. If interested in Sugar Loaf, visit Hole in the Mountain on line. Jude Huber and her hubby grow amazing fruits there. I warn you...once you've tasted Sugar Loaf, you won't want others.

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  11. Just got married on Kauai. Brought back several Sugar Loaf pineapples. The tops are all growing and are ready for planting in soil. I agree...I'm just happy to say I'm growing pineapple plants in my home. If I ever get fruit, it will be a bonus. I'm worried as I live in AZ. I don't want fried pineapple, unless I mean to do it...quite yummy!

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  12. How do you know when the pineapple should be picked? I have had 2 Pineapples for about 2 months but they don't get any bigger. They are about the size of a large orange.

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  13. I have the top from a pineapple I got in Hawaii in 2011. Started by rooting in water. It did great. Lots of little roots. I kept it in the water for a really long time. Busy, kept forgetting to look up how to plant them. Then I finally planted it and my cat(s) decided it would be fun to eat/play with. :( So it got knocked out of the soil and the little roots dried out. I was so sad because I kept it going all that time, so I wanted to see if I could bring it back. It still has some thick roots (or that's what it looks like) coming straight down the middle so I stuck in back in the glass of water in my windowsill and it's growing!! New growth slowly but surely coming out of the middle.Now I'm wondering - can I plant it again? No new little roots have formed and I can't see any of the little buds that were hiding under the leaves to get it started initially. Can anyone help?

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  14. Pineapple will produce a total of 3 fruit roughly 8-9 months apart. Each fruit will diminish in size each time it produces. Then the bush is done and prolegs toon has to recur. I harvested fresh pineapple in Maui for a year and we twisted the tips off of every one (the cannery bound ones) for replanting.

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  15. I live in VA, and I have a couple of pineapple plants growing in my kitchen. You are not supposed to let it sit in water -- just let it dry out and then plant in pot. My older pineapple plant is 2 years old and about 3 ft tall. It's gorgeous. The other is about a year old and the leaves a darker green. I guess they were different breeds. In summer I'll take them out and use the apple trick to get them to produce fruit.

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  16. Curious about the Feb 18th 2016 post what is the apple trick? I have just purchased a pineapple & want to grow the top. I actually have one already growing in my garden, my neighbour gave it to me it's going great guns. This will be my first attempt and was told by the neighbour that grows them sucessfully to put it in water so that's what I will do. but would love to know what the apple trick is???

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    1. I have heard of the Apple trick but I am not sure how to do it, I am going to you tube that one. I have also heard of using sodium bicarbonate, but again not sure of the amount. Both of those are suppose to be used when the plant is a year old to produce fruit earlier.
      I am going try my hand at starting 2 plants, one at my house one at my dad's. Good luck.

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    2. I live in Central Fl.
      I just harvested one,4 pound pineapple and have 2 more bearing fruit.
      Instead of putting the top in water, try planting the top and one inch of the fruit below it , in a soil called Miracle Grow.
      It takes about three years before you can enjoy the fruit it bears.
      Do not over water and cover your plants when the weather drops to 60 degrees. Use a heavy plastic and the plants will stay warm.
      I uncover the crop for a short time, to let the sun give it natural light. Then I recover them till next day. This I do only during the cooler weather .

      You can pot them, or put them in the garden
      Once you start one , give it more soil every couple of months.
      I enjoyed my first one this past week and I am looking forward to harvesting the other two.
      Since my pineapple plant has also given me two ,baby plants from its stalk, I removed them and also put them in my soil...

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    3. You can pick our pineapple when the fruit color changes from the green to a soft yellow. The color change starts from the bottom of the plant, and works it way up to the green leaves...about 2 months. Keep an eye on it and when the fruit it ripe, it tends to lean. Good luck and happy eating!

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  17. I have been trying to grow pineapple for quite awhile. Right now I have 7 total in various growing stages. I just cut the tops off from store bought fruit, peel down lower leaves and put in jars of water to root. After they begin rooting, I pot them. I live in the south, so once it gets warm, all are out until October or so. I still have not gotten flowers or fruit???? I have one that was a throw away at the grocery store, that already had a baby fruit. I am trying to save it. It's looking really good right now. I wish I could post pictures here. I would love to show them off! :)
    #pineapplepatience

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  18. Great post!! How long did it take for your plant to sprout new leaves once you planted it? Mine has been in soil for about 2 months now and although it looks pretty green still, Im not seeing any new growth..

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