Pineapples (Ananas comosus) are perennial plants that grow in a rosette of long sword-like leaves in a spiral arranged around a short stem.
A mature, healthy plant will produce a flower stem that emerges from the middle of the plant, eventually producing a pineapple fruit.
Many people will simply grow this plant for decorative purposes. Although the plant may sometimes produce fruit when grown as a houseplant, it is unlikely to ripen in average household conditions.
It is common to think these tropical fruits are hard to grow at home, but it’s easier than you may think!
However, it certainly needs time, commitment, and plenty of knowledge about getting your own pineapple plant to flower, fruit, and mature.
The most common issue that growers run into is that growing pineapples can take a long time. But how long will growing pineapple at home take?
Well, we’re about to answer your questions in the article below!
Table of Contents
How Long does Pineapple Take to Grow?
Growing Pineapples is not reserved for impatient gardeners. Sadly, you cannot expect a large plant to produce a giant fruit within a couple of months.
Growing a fully matured fruit takes a Pineapple Plant between 18 and 36 months, depending on the growing method and environment the pineapple tree is growing.
There is no such thing as a shortcut to growing pineapple fruit, but providing your plant with the right conditions can minimize the length of time you spend waiting!
Fun Facts About Pineapple Plants
Pineapples Are Made Up Of Many Small Fruitlets
The Pineapple plant belongs to the family of Bromeliaceae, one of many Bromeliad varieties that grow a fruit. However, it is one of the only ones with a fully edible and nutritious fruit.
Pineapples belong to a category of fruits known as aggregate or fused fruit. This means it comprises a cluster of tiny berries fused to grow as a single fruit! How cool is that?
Pineapples Plants Only Produce A Single Fruit In Their Lifetime
The saddest thing about growing pineapples is that once your plant has produced a mature fruit, the flower stalk will die off, followed by the plant itself. You can do nothing to prevent or stop this; it is simply its circle of life.
After the mother plant has flowered and fruited, she will grow offshoots, eventually growing into full plants and repeating the same life cycle.
The Pineapple Plant Can Absorb Nutrients And Moisture Through Its Leaves
Like other plants from the Bromeliad family, and pineapple plants have a special feature hidden in their foliage.
Their leaves have scale-like ‘hairs’ called Thricomes, which have the special ability to absorb water from the air and nutrients. Due to these Thricomes, it is a popular practice to use foliar spray fertilizers in pineapple cultivation.
The Size of the Stem Can Determine the Fruit Size
You can guess how large your pineapple fruit will become by examining the size of the stem (butt) of the plant! Although the central stem is hidden behind the leaves, you can determine the stem size by its shape!
A broad, large leaf covers a large stem and will grow a large fruit. Narrow, smaller leaves will grow on a smaller stem and produce small fruit.
Origin of Pineapple Fruit
Pineapple plants naturally grow in the tropical regions of Central and South America. The indigenous people have cultivated and domesticated pineapple varieties for thousands of years.
The first pineapple in the Western world was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493, during his second voyage to the Americas.
The fruits have grown in popularity over the years, and they are now grown all over the world. Most commercial pineapples nowadays are cultivated in Thailand, Brasil, and the Philippines. The biggest exporter of pineapples is Costa Rica.
Some popular and well-known pineapple variety is the Smooth Cayenne, which you will usually find in grocery stores. Other popular pineapple breeds are Pernambuco, Sugarloaf, and Red Spanish.
What Factors Affect Growth Speed?
Did you know that the taste of pineapple fruit varies according to its growing conditions? Providing the right environment for your Pineapple Plant is crucial to grow and produce healthy fruits.
Continue reading below to find out how to keep your Pineapple Plant thriving!
Being native to Central and South America, Pineapple is a tropical plant, so it is best to grow it in an environment that mimics tropical climates.
Pineapples will grow best in USDA zone 11-12. It will not grow well in colder climates.
A temperature ranging from 15-30 ºC (60-85F) works best. Avoid exposing the plant to heat above 40C (105F), as this will inhibit its growth!
Similarly, avoid temperature drops below 10 ºC (50F), as pineapples do not tolerate cold temperatures.
If you don’t live in tropical regions, and cannot provide sufficient warmth, don’t worry, you can cultivate Pineapples as indoor plants or in greenhouses with great success!
The soil should be non-compacted, well-aerated, and loamy if you want favorable pineapple production. And most importantly, the soil must be well-draining as good drainage is essential for a strong root system.
As pineapples are a member of the bromeliad family, they do not have a big root system, making them prone to rot and disease if the soil is too dense and compact.
Pineapple Plants prefer sandy soil with neutral to slightly acidic pH within the range of 5.0-7.0 for fruit production. A mix of peat, perlite, peat, or Spanish moss will give you a nice, airy soil mix!
If pineapples are irrigated outdoors, they need 80-100 mm of rainfall monthly. If you’re experiencing drought or extreme heat during the growing season, remember that you will likely need to water manually often!
Make sure never to allow the soil to dry out completely and keep up with a regular watering schedule.
Indoor pineapple plants will appreciate frequent watering, especially during warm summer months. Water deeply when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Please avoid watering if you notice the soil is still wet or moist, as this risks overwatering and root rot!
Providing your Pineapple Plant with the right nutrients is probably the most important part of growing Pineapples. If the plant lacks essential nutrients, it will have difficulty producing fruits.
The plant needs different nutrients at different growth stages; thus, providing the plant with the right fertilizer at the right time is important.
During the growing process, fertilizers should be applied in two stages, once before planting and once during growth.
Amend your soil with ¾ tbsp of a slow-release fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 10-20-20 before planting. Then wait 3-4 months before applying the second dose of fertilizer.
The University of Guam recommends applying foliar fertilizers rather than liquid or granulated fertilizers, as the plants are good at absorbing nutrients through their leaves!
Using fertilizers high in nitrogen, potassium, and iron is the best option for decent vegetative growth.
You can spray the leaves every 2-4 weeks, but do not exceed the package recommendations because you risk burning your poor Pineapple leaves!
For an outdoor plant, direct sunlight is much needed. Providing your plant with plenty of sunshine helps the plant grow and develop this tropical fruit’s flavor.
If you are growing an indoor pineapple plant, you should give the plant six hours of direct bright light.
Placing the plant near a south-facing window in your home is a good idea for receiving adequate sunlight. However, full sun when the temperature rises above 35°C can cause sunburn to the fruit and the foliage, so consider offering protection during the hottest hours of the day!
Academic Studies on Nutritional and Medicinal Aspects of Pineapple
Besides being a tasty tropical fruit, pineapple possesses great nutritional and medicinal value to human beings.
An article published in the International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences by three members from Bangladesh Open University, Shahabuddin Medical College and Hospital, and Ibn Sina Medical College and Hospital Bangladesh clearly shows us the usefulness of pineapple for human health benefits.
The ripe fruit of a Pineapple contains a complete set of nutrients containing macronutrients, micronutrients, and vitamins; the detailed composition is in the table below, so while you’re enjoying fresh pineapple juice or slices, you are also reaping plenty of medicinal and nutritional benefits!
Only one ripe pineapple fulfills 16.2% of our daily Vitamin C requirement, the primary water-soluble antioxidant in our body.
Malic acid in the pineapple helps boost our immunity, increase skin complexion, and helps to maintain oral health.
Magnesium is crucial for healthy and strong bones and can be obtained 73% of the total daily requirement from just one cup of pineapple juice.
Pineapple is an excellent cerebral toner that can cure memory loss, sadness, and melancholy. And the list goes on for the health benefits of pineapple, which urge humans to include it in our primary fruit list!
Table: Nutrition in 100g Pineapple
|Vitamin A||130 I.U|
|Vitamin B3||0.489 mg|
|Vitamin C||24 mg|
Different Ways to Plant and Grow Pineapples
There are various methods to plant and grow pineapples.
Once the mature pineapple plant produces a fruit, it dies back. However, the mother plant produces offshoots as she begins to decline. You can propagate these baby offshoots to grow new pineapple plants.
The most basic method is growing from seeds which is the longest and most time-consuming method. Other methods include growing from crowns, slips, suckers, and hapas.
To learn about all the ways of Pineapple cultivation, please read below!
What Is The Fastest Way To Grow Pineapples?
The fastest and easiest way to grow Pineapples at home is through suckers or slips.
This method allows you to harvest your first fruit as early as 18 months after planting! However, there are a few downsides and compromises you need to take into account.
You will find all about the fastest ways to grow pineapples below!
The leafy top of a pineapple is called a crown. Growing a new plant from the crown of the pineapple fruit is simple.
You can take a fresh pineapple from the grocery store or local farmers market. The pineapple crown is the pineapple top with leaves and stuff.
To grow a Pineapple Plant from a crown, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Select a Pineapple
The pineapple should have the following qualities:
- The base of the fruit should be fresh and healthy. Do not use old and withered fruits for propagation.
- The leaves of the pineapple should be green and fresh. No brown patches, yellow leaves, pests, etc., should be on the foliage.
Step 2: Remove and Prepare the Top of the Pineapple
After you have selected a good pineapple, firmly grasp the top of the fruit and jerk it until it gets separated.
Alternatively, you can cut the top off with sharp and clean scissors or a knife. Then, go ahead and peel off the lower leaves of the top.
Remove the leaves until you start seeing root buds (root primordia). This is where roots will emerge!
Step 3: Allow the Cut to Dry
After you are done, allow the cut end of the Pineapple Top to dry out. Place your pineapple top in a sunny window for at least a few hours, preferably overnight.
This allows the cut wound to ‘seal,’ which can help prevent fungi and bacteria from entering the cut and causing the crown to rot.
Step 4: Allow The Pineapple Top To Root
When the top is dry, it is time to put it in water or other media. Pineapple crowns can take root in perlite, vermiculite, coarse sand, and plain old water.
I recommend using perlite or vermiculite as it allows more airflow, reducing the risk of rot.
Place the pineapple crown submerged up to the base of the lowest leaves. If you’re using perlite, vermulicite, or sand, keep it moist while the roots grow.
Wait 2-6 weeks for roots to develop on your new plant.
Step 5: Care And Maintenance While Rooting
When growing in water, you can see roots forming over time. This can be a little more difficult in perlite or sand, which is a little more guesswork.
During root development, your Pineapple Plant is prone to rot and disease, so it is important to regularly refresh the water and keep the medium you are using wet at all times.
Try another pineapple top if the roots do not grow after seven weeks. If you notice rot starting to form at the base, cut it off with a sharp and clean knife before trying again.
Step 6: Pot The Pineapple Top
After the roots have grown about 3 inches, it is time for potting. Use a well-drained, loamy soil mix such as a succulent mix.
Place the pineapple top in the soil so its lower part is in the soil, but its crown is still outside. Keep it in a place that is warm and receives indirect light.
After some weeks, the roots will grow in the soil. Tugging it very gently lets you check if the crown has been rooted.
If you notice some resistance, roots are forming. With proper care, your Pineapple Crown will grow new foliage swiftly!
How long does it take to grow a pineapple from the crown?
After potting the crown, it takes 7-14 weeks for the roots to grow. If you want to grow new fruit from this method, you can expect mature fruit 20-38 months after planting.
Commercial pineapples rarely have any seeds due to hybridization, a difficult practice involving cross-breeding different plants to create ‘perfect’ seedless fruits.
Because of this progress, you won’t find any seeds on most of the local grocery store pineapples.
However, the seeds can be found in garden centers and markets abundantly. If you live in an area where Pineapples grow in the wild, you can also obtain seeds from these fruits!
Growing Pineapples from seeds is probably the most straightforward method, but sadly, it is also the most time-consuming.
Nevertheless, growing fruits from the seed is a satisfying and rewarding progress, which, in our opinion, is worth the wait.
Step 1: Get the seeds
To harvest seeds, all you need is a pineapple. Cut the pineapple open with a sharp knife and look for the seeds.
The pineapple seeds are black and usually found an inch from the outside edge of the fruit. Please thoroughly rinse the seeds with clean water before moving on to the next step.
When buying seeds from a package, ensure they are fresh and organic.
Step 2: Germination
Now comes the preparation for their germination.
Place the seeds on a moistened paper towel (do not cover the seeds entirely) and put them in a closed plastic zipper bag. The paper towel should be very slightly moist but not soggy.
Place the seeds in a shady, dim spot like a cabinet or basement. If you notice the seeds are turning black (rotting), please try to rinse them thoroughly. If this does not fix the issue, toss them and try again!
Step 3: Transplant to soil
Seeds will take 12 to 24 days to germinate, but it will take around six months to be large enough (one to two quartz size) to be placed in a permanent large pot.
Transfer them to well-drained soil and make sure to keep the soil moist. Place them in a pot with drainage holes in the bottom to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged.
Keep the plant in indirect sunlight to protect the young shoots against sunburn.
How long does it take to grow a pineapple from seeds?
Growing a pineapple from seeds is the most time-consuming method. It takes the seeds about 12-28 days to germinate, and you’ll have to wait up to 36 months (three years!) to grow a mature, edible fruit.
Pineapple Slips or Suckers
After a mature pineapple plant has produced fruit, it will begin to die back. But don’t worry. It will take years before the plant dies completely; during this time, it will produce many new baby plants that you can grow into a new pineapple plant!
Slips are tiny plantlets that grow at the base of the plant. You can easily propagate these side shoots to create a new plant by removing them from the mother plant and planting them in their own pot.
Suckers are also known as pups that grow between mature pineapple leaves. This method is similar to the slips before, but these suckers grow on the original plant, between the leaves, rather than beside it.
The method of growing these is the same, so feel free to follow the steps below to grow your Pineapple plant from slips or suckers.
Step 1: Prepare the slip
Once the shoots on your Pineapple Plant are about 4-6 inches (10-15cm) large, you can simply break them off or cut them from the Mother plant using sharp and sterile pruners.
If there is brown or dark discoloration at the bottom of the slip or sucker, prune it off.
Step 2: Dry the slip
Once your baby plant is removed, let it dry to seal off the cut end. Put it in a dry shady place until it is calloused, and no more liquid is at the cut end.
Step 3: Plant the slip
After it is dry, put the base of the plant in the soil. Make sure that the leaves are all above soil level to prevent them from developing rot and disease.
The soil must be well-draining to avoid water logging. Continue care as you would for the Pineapple crown, and the offshoot should take root and continue to grow leaves very quickly!
How long does it take to grow a pineapple from a slip?
It can take up to 18 months for Pineapple suckers to mature and produce fruits. A slip can take 18 to 29 months.
It’s a much faster method than growing from seed or crown, but for this method, you’ll need to wait for your mother plant to produce these offshoots first, which can take several years!
How To Chemically Induce Pineapple Flowers
Sometimes, we’re all a little impatient regarding gardening, especially when dealing with slow-growing plants such as pineapple.
Well, I have good news for you! There are some ways you can speed up your Pineapple flowering (and thus fruiting!) using special growth hormones.
Find out more about these methods below!
The pineapple plant flowers when it has good growth with a leafy top of 30 or more leaves.
Commercial pineapple growers use plant hormones called ethylene, which is most commonly used for inducing flowering. Ethylene gas is found in the air around a rotting apple.
If you have an apple at hand, you can try to induce Pineapple flowering at home. To do this, put the apple in the center of the pineapple crown and wrap them in a plastic bag.
As the apple decays, it will release ethylene gas, which is trapped inside the plastic bag. This process may speed up Pineapple flowering by 1-2 months.
Calcium Carbide is a chemical compound that, when mixed with water, produces a gas called acetylene, which is very similar to ethylene, which we explained before.
Thus, calcium carbide can be used as a chemical and more regulated substitute for Ethylene. This method is popular among commercial growers.
If you want to try calcium carbide for your Pineapples, use a high-quality product according to package instructions.
The reaction of calcium carbide with water produces flammable gas and can irritate the skin upon contact. Wear gloves and keep this product far out of reach from children!
Common Problems with Growing Pineapples
Although growing delicious pineapple fruit at home is not difficult, you may face some issues along the way. Sadly, Pineapple plants are susceptible to several diseases and problems.
Below, you can find the most commonly seen issues and how to treat and prevent them.
Brown pineapple leaves, and leaf tips are commonly the result of too much harsh, intense sunlight.
Although pineapple plants love full sun exposure, the direct summer sun may be too hot and cause leaf scorch on young, unacclimated pineapple plants.
Please slowly acclimate your pineapple plantlets to the full sun before exposing them to direct afternoon sun! Start with a few hours of direct sun daily and build it until the plant can withstand full sun.
Even so, during temperatures above 95F (35C), protect the plant against the sun and keep it hydrated!
Your pineapple plant does not like wet soil conditions as it is susceptible to root rot. With too much water, there is no oxygen in the soil which can suffocate the roots and make them fall prey to rot-causing bacteria.
If your Pineapple is suffering from root rot, you can try to revive it by removing the dead leaves, chopping off all the rotten, black roots, and repotting it to fresh soil.
To minimize the risk of root rot, use well-draining soil and avoid overwatering, which is the leading cause of root rot in Pineapple plants.
Top Rot (Phytophthora Heart Rot)
Top rot is one of the most commonly faced diseases for Pineapple growers.
This fungal disease causes the base of the leaves of the pineapple crown to turn mushy and fall from the stem, and its growing point will turn brown and rotten. Eventually, the entire plant will collapse and rot.
Sadly, there is no effective cure for heart rot, so prevention is crucial!
You can prevent Top Rot disease by ensuring that your pineapple crowns are not planted too deep so that there is decent airflow around the base of the plant.
Also, avoid overwatering and watering directly on the center of the crown, as the fungus is more active in moist, dark environments.
Many pests, including mealy bugs, scale insects, and mites, can attack your poor pineapple plant. But they are easy to dispose of.
If you notice any pest on the plant, isolate it from other plants to avoid the spread of the pest, rinse the plant down with a strong stream of water, and spray it down with biodegradable soap and water.
Alternatively, a neem-oil solution also works wonders at treating pest infestations!
FAQ: How to Grow Pineapples
How Many Pineapples Do You Get From One Plant?
A mature plant only grows a single fruit in its lifetime. But don’t worry; your pineapple journey does not end there.
The mother plant will grow dozens of offshoots that you can propagate and grow into new plants that will fruit again!
Why Does It Take 3 Years For a Pineapple To Grow?
Pineapple fruits are made up of many small fruitlets that form a uniform, large fruit. The plant needs to grow a flower stem with over 100 flowers that need to bloom and form a fruit.
Growing each of these separate sections takes a long time and a lot of energy!
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