Wait! Instead of throwing out that pineapple top – recycle it.
A great way to continue to enjoy that delicious pineapple you just ate is to grow your own. It doesn’t take much- just time and patience. Pineapple plant is a “kitchen scrap plant” that can be started by simply rooting the crown (pineapple top) and planting it in soil. Not only will you have a decorative plant but you will also produce a sweet edible pineapple that will give you the satisfaction in knowing that you grew it yourself. It’s a great project to start with the kids!
Here is how to grow a pineapple:
Use a pineapple top (crown) with healthy, unbruised leaves. Twist or cut off the spiky top of the pineapple. Peel off about a fourth of the lower leaves to expose the stem. You will see small brown bumps that will eventually become the roots (root primordia). Leave the pineapple top in a shaded area on the kitchen counter to dry for several days and then plant it in 6 inch pot with well-drained soil. You can brush rooting hormone on the bottom to speed up rooting (optional). Firm the soil around the plant to secure it in place and water. Keep the soil slightly moist. If the environment is dry, enclose the potted plant inside a plastic bag to increase humidity and speed up rooting. If kept at 70F (21C) it should start to root within 2-4 weeks.
Root in water
Another way to grow a pineapple crown is to root it in water. Suspend the bottom of the pineapple crown in a glass of water. Change the water every few days. Roots should emerge in 2-4 weeks. Plant the rooted crown in well drained soil and keep the soil slightly moist (not wet). Move the crown to a sunny, warm (75F) humid location with night temperatures above 65F degrees. You should see new growth in about 2 months. In drier conditions, increase humidity by misting and keeping a bit of water in the center crown. When you see new growth, feed your pineapple plant with a half strength balanced fertilizer twice a month during the summer months. Another option is to use a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or seaweed.
Flowering and Fruiting
It can take several years for the plant to be ready to flower and bear fruit. The plant should have at least 25 normal sized leaves to be large enough to flower. If after 18 mos. you don’t see anything happening-place the plant in a plastic bag with two very ripe apples cut in half for a few days, this will release ethylene gas which will triggers their blooming stimuli. In 1-2 months you should see a red spiky bud followed by blue flowers in the center of the plant. This process can take 2-3 years but it’s worth a try just to have a novelty bromeliad to enjoy. When pineapple plants are forced to bloom too early the young plant will produce smaller fruit. For larger fruit it’s best to have a minimum of 40 mature leaves 18 inches long.