From seed, this tropical plant will test your patience!
Growing a pineapple from a crown is easier but it could be 24 months before a flower even appears. After that, you will need to wait for the fruit to develop. Read on for details of how long it takes to germinate, grow and pick fruit from this delicious, spiky plant.
Pineapple seeds can take six months just to germinate, so you really need to think long-term with this plant. From seed planting to fruiting can take up to 36 months, although most growers report a flower, then a developing fruit after about 24 months.
So you need to think about whether you can provide at least 8 hours of daily sunshine, a decent tropical temperature for them, and a large pot or area for them to produce fruit.
The wild form of pineapple was found by the Spanish in an area of southern Brazil and Paraguay, where native people had been eating it forever. Thus, think of hot sunny climates close to rivers and the sea and you understand how best to grow this plant.
How long does it take to grow a pineapple from the crown?
The crown is the name for the spiky, green leaves at the top of the fruit you buy in a local supermarket. Growing one of these is quicker than growing from seed, but allow at least 24 months and up to 28 months.
This plant needs direct sunlight in the summer months. A lot depends on how warm the temperature is where you are growing the plant – it needs at least 60° Fahrenheit to thrive. They grow best between 68° Fahrenheit and 86° Fahrenheit.
How to grow a pineapple from seeds?
The tiny, little black specks you often see when you cut a pineapple fruit, are actually the seeds, which are notoriously slow and difficult to germinate.
- Remove the black seeds carefully from the fruit and allow them to dry well. They need a heating mat to germinate unless you live in a tropical climate!
- There are various methods. Some gardeners prefer to use soil and perlite, on a heated mat while others swear by getting seeds on a piece of wet tissue, kept warm in a polythene bag and there are even cases of high seed germination in a glass jar, with some moisture but not wet conditions. As soon as you spot the seeds swelling, you know that germination is starting, and at this point, ensure that no frost can kill them off.
- As soon as you spot green growth, get these little seeds planted in the soil. These are tiny and very cute so handle these little seeds very carefully; maybe use tweezers.
- You will need to pot these seedlings on and try to give them a big pot to avoid having to re-pot too often. The bigger leaves spike a lot!
How many pineapples do you get from one plant?
Every pineapple produces only one very delicate pinkish-red flower, which develops on a stem that then becomes the fruit. Usually, you get one flower and one fruit per plant.
How long before you can harvest pineapple?
This is a plant to test your patience! It is possible to grow it outside its preferred tropical temperatures but the length of time taken for fruit to develop is then increased.
Once the beautiful reddish flowers appear, you still have to wait for at least another 6 months for pineapples to grow to a size where they can be picked. It is pretty to watch this happen. But they are not tomatoes; quick, plentiful, and done in one season!
How to grow pineapple fast?
I’m afraid to tell you that there is no fast for this plant. Essentially, the plant needs to be big enough to feel able to flower and fruit. The essential ingredients are allowing sunshine, soil, and temperature to help the leaves grow.
Some gardeners say that spraying the leaves with diluted, low-strength fertilizer helps the process along. I would add that you can maybe add some coffee grounds to the pot or surrounding ground, as this will release some nitrogen for your pineapple plant.
However, my honest advice is that you need to wait and let the flower come and cultivate your patience. See how to chemically force the process along in the FAQs below.
Can you grow pineapples indoors?
Yes, you can, providing you have the crown (green leafy part) of a pineapple and the patience of a saint, as they say. Some people try rooting them in a jar of water first.
There are many opinions about whether this is the best method! The beneficial thing about planting indoors is that you can keep this choosy plant frost-free and guarantee it a steady temperature.
To plant a crown, follow these steps:
- Cut away all the fruit flesh from the crown.
- Fill a large pot with compost, ensure there is good drainage and make a small hole to drop the crown into. The reason for the size is so you don’t have to re-pot often. The leaves are spiky and difficult to handle as they get bigger.
- Pat the soil around the base, to make sure the crown is well-settled.
- Next, add a mulch to provide nutrients as this plant takes ages to grow.
- Water it well the first time in the pot. However, from now on, be sparing with your watering. Pineapple leaves can retain a lot of moisture and don’t need so much extra.
- Next, all you have to do is wait, and expect to wait another 2 years. Fertilize with seaweed diluted in water twice a year in spring and fall but be careful. These plants do not need lots of fertilizer. When you see a flower bud sprouting, you know that the fruit is starting to happen.
How can I force a pineapple to flower?
When a plant fruits normally, it is at the height of its growth. For a pineapple, this means that it must have a good, leafy crown of leaves with 30 or more leaves. At this stage, the plant is almost ready to flower but you can aid this by using a plant hormone called ethylene.
This chemical is found in the air around a rotting apple. And this is a trick of pineapple cultivators. Pop the apple in the center of the crown. Then, put a plastic bag around both. The ethylene created in the bag usually causes the plant to flower within a month or two after this treatment.
One note of caution – keep the plan out of direct sunshine when doing this. Remove the bag after 5-7 days and fingers crossed!
Pineapples in pots outdoors cannot tolerate frost at all. These are tropical plants. Therefore, move them indoors to as sunny a position as possible for the winter months.
The soil must not be wet all the time; these plants need good drainage. They prefer slightly acidic soil too, so bear that in mind when you plant and provide them with a good layer of mulch too.
Did you know?
Pineapple provides you with lots of vitamin C. However, you should avoid eating this fruit if you have any troubles with your kidneys because it contains bromelain, which breaks down protein in the body.