Pineapples aren’t as difficult to grow as you may believe, and they can be grown practically anywhere.
Pineapples are one of the few tropical plants that may develop well indoors and in containers, and most individuals believe that growing them must be left to those living in subtropical places.
Of course, growing them outdoors in a warm and sunny environment produces the best results. Don’t let a little thing like the wrong climate discourage you from trying pineapple gardening.
Pineapple Plant Basics
You should understand some important facts about these fruits before attempting to cultivate them.
Because it is a bromeliad, the pineapple plant must be cultivated in similar conditions as other bromeliads.
Bromeliad plants send up a flower spike when they are about to mature. The fruit of pineapples grows at the spike’s end.
A pineapple fruit is a combination of the plant’s numerous flowers and berries, which combine to form a single fruit. You may not be aware of this.
Pups, often known as shoots or suckers, emerge from between the leaves and form a whole new plant, which the plants reproduce by generating.
Before dying, each plant produces just one fruit.
Pineapples are a tropical, perennial fruit that grows to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide in USDA Zones 10-11. Pineapples are an exotic fruit.
You might have guessed that they need a lot of sunlight because they’re a tropical plant. A location that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight is required.
In partial shade, pineapples may develop, but this is not desirable.
Next, have a peek at the dirt. You should avoid putting them in a location that is damp or has standing water. It is necessary to have well-draining soil.
Pineapple plants aren’t usually thought of as picky. They prefer to be grown in soil that has been supplemented with compost before being planted, but they may flourish in any sort of soil.
It has a number of advantages when you do so. As a soil amendment, compost helps to improve drainage. It’s also a fantastic way to feed your plants at the same time. After you plant, you won’t have to worry about fertilizing.
Putting Suckers or Tops in the Ground
You may either utilize the tops of purchased pineapples or obtain a slip or a sucker when you’re ready to begin.
You may acquire or beg one of them from a friend who is growing pineapples, also known as a pup.
You’ll have to get rid of all of the fruit pulp and tiny bottom leaves if you decide to utilize the top of a store-bought pineapple. Additionally, the suckers’ little leaves must be removed from the bottom. Just take them off, if you don’t want to wear them.
Put the top or sucker into the hole in your garden or pots, wherever you want to plant. Just the base of the top leaves should be buried, with the rest sticking out.
Fill in the hole with soil around the base, pressing firmly to make it solid once you’re in. Give the plant a thorough watering.
Each pineapple needs at least one foot of space between them when you’re growing more than one, but it is ideal if you can stretch it to two feet.
Growing Pineapples in Containers
Planting your pineapples outside is ideal for those with the right climate. They may develop anywhere, even indoors, with enough sunlight.
Pineapples make a fantastic container plant if you don’t live in a warm enough zone.
To prevent standing water, choose a container with a large number of drainage holes. Fill an 8-inch or larger pot with a 30% blend of organic matter in light potting soil. That should give your plant the proper balance of nutrients.
Why would you grow your plant in a pot? It can take three years for fruits to mature if you planted tops, so unless you live in a tropical climate, you’ll need to move your plant inside during the winter.
You may grow pineapples indoors all year if you can provide it with enough sunlight. Houseplants are among the coolest they’ve created.
Caring for Pineapple Plants
There isn’t much that needs to be done once the trees are in place. They’re one of the most forgiving varieties; you can literally plant and forget about them.
Pineapples are drought tolerant and don’t need much water to grow, which is one of the benefits. You’ll love this plant if you live in a drought-prone location or regularly forget to water your plants.
To help reduce evaporation, add a layer of mulch. Make sure the container or location you planted has a lot of drainage if you live in an region with a high amount of rain.
When to Fertilize
There is no need to fertilize your plants for the first few months after planting. After that, you can apply fertilizer in a liquid form. Two excellent options are fish emulsion or seaweed extract.
Apply the fertilizer to the soil with a watering can. Because concentrated fertilizers burn plants, you don’t want to use them.
Bring Them Inside
Frost will take care of these plants. Before the weather gets chilly, you’ll need to relocate the plant indoors.
Just carry and position it somewhere indoors where it will receive at least 8 hours of light if you plan ahead and are growing your pineapple in a container. You can add supplementary grow light if needed.
Are you planning on a chilly snap and planted your seeds outside in the ground? There’s no need to worry. The root systems of pineapples are quite tiny and shallow.
When the right weather returns, you may dig them up and place them in a pot before transferring them outdoors again.
Pests & Diseases That Bother Pineapples
When compared to other crops, pineapples aren’t particularly vulnerable to pests or diseases, but there are a few that you should be aware of.
Bacterial Heart Rot
Water-soaked lesions on the white basal sections of the leaves are a sign of this disease. The leaves will take on a olive green color in the midsection. As a result of this, cavities develop within the fruit.
The fruit’s juices carry this bacterial infection. Wounds may allow the bacteria to enter. The most effective approach is to remove and destroy contaminated plants.
To avoid any bacteria from spreading, don’t use diseased crowns to seed new plants.
The leaves, crown, and fruits of the plant are all infected by this fungal disease. Little, damp patches on the leaves may appear at first. The patches grow in size and become grey-brown over time.
Even before you realize anything is wrong, it may also penetrate the fruit and rot it from the inside.
Since you’re working with plants that have wounds, be sure to protect them from this fungus by not damaging them.
To help avoid it, make sure your plants have adequate air circulation and that their soil drains well.
If the leaves start to turn red or pink, you’ll know that you have mealybug wilt. When the roots deteriorate, the leaves’ tips may also wither and brown, making it simple to pull the plants from the soil.
Mealybugs transmit the virus Mealybug wilt, as you might expect. Controlling the populations is the most crucial step to take, since they may grow out of control if left unchecked.
These insects are covered in a waxy, fuzzy substance and resemble flattened ovals or round discs. Honeydew, a sticky substance, is left behind that ants may gather.
Honeydew can also attract sooty mold, causing a whole new set of issues above and beyond the ones mentioned above. They may also induce wilt (as mentioned above).
Natural predators may be used to regulate mealybugs. Lady beetles are one of the predators. Ants, like mealybugs, work together with mealybugs and may become a significant issue for your plants.
Use a neem-based pesticide to bring them under control if they get out of hand.
You’ll need a lot of patience when it comes to waiting for a pineapple harvest. Your plants will grow after a year, but it may take two to three years for them to bear fruits, depending on the variety.
The fruit grows on the plant’s core. With a huge, dazzling red and yellow bloom, it initially appears strange. The blossom morphs into a pineapple fruit over time, if there is a lot of time.
The pineapples will taste better if you allow them to ripen on the plant. Homemade pineapples taste significantly better than store-bought pineapples if you give them time.
When is the right time for you to know? From brown to yellow, the outside skin begins to change. Dig in when you cut through the stalk that supports the pineapple.
Try grilled pineapple topped with a coating of brown sugar. It’s impossible to stop eating it.