The tough but beautiful pineapple plant is easy enough for the brownest thumb to grow. Here is all the information you need about ornamental and edible pineapple varieties: starting a pineapple from a top, when to harvest a growing pineapple and how to cut it up once you have.
Pineapple plants are large bromeliads native to Brazil and Paraguay. Unlike other epiphytic members of the bromeliad plant family, pineapples prefer to grow in soil. Another difference is that pineapples produce fruit.The fruit is not always edible. Ananas comosus is the plant which produces the pineapples you find in the grocery store.
Ananas bracteatus, the red pineapple is a red-leaved ornamental. It produces a tiny fruit which is often used in floral arrangements.
A. bracteatus 'Tricolor' displays narrow dark green leaves striped with yellow. Plants of this variety produce a miniature fruit topped with a tuft of striped leaves.
Cayenne - This is a Hawaiian pineapple plant that produces foot long, oval-shaped fruit with sweet, deep yellow flesh.
Smooth Cayenne - Similar in size to Cayenne but with leaves that are spineless along their edges (the tips are still sharp).
The toothless leaves make this variety easier to handle. This is the typical grocery store pineapple.
Sugarloaf - The large, rounded fruit of Sugarloaf can tip the scales at as much as 10 lbs. but 3-6 lbs. is more typical.
The pale flesh is very sweet.
Elite Gold - The 36 inch tall plants produce bright gold fruit.
Starting a pineapple from a top is easy. Just grasp the leaves firmly and twist the top off a ripe fruit. Set this into an inch of water.
Change the water every other day to keep it fresh. In a couple of weeks, you will see roots growing. Transfer the top into a small pot of soil at this point.
When you start with a home grown fruit, this will work nearly every time. Store bought fruit has a much lower success rate as shipping and storage take so much out of the leaves.
Click the headline above to go to a page that will explain how to grow pineapples from slips or even seeds. Lots of pictures show you exactly what to do.
Fast-draining soil, sunlight and warmth are the key ingredients to growing sweet, juicy pineapples.
I prefer to grow them outside in the ground because a mature plant takes up about a 3 foot square of garden space and the tips of the leaves are pointy and will scratch you if you bump into them.
I have begun to plant them in pots because the local racoons enjoy the fruit as much as I do.
I start new plants in 4-6 inch pots. Once the roots fill this first pot, I transfer the plants into their final containers so as not to keep moving them.
They are easy to transplant when small. Not so much once they get big.
A 12 inch pot is what I normally use. Clay is better than plastic because of its weight. A mature pineapple is quite heavy and will tip a plastic pot. You don't want it falling over after it has set fruit.
Ornamental varieties can be grown in smaller pots as the fruits are small and light.
Growing pineapples in pots gives me the choice of moving the container into a protected area and letting the fruit ripen on the plant, safe from masked bandits.
Click on the headline above to discover how to provoke your pineapple plant into producing fruit.
You can pick a pineapple any time after it reaches full size and begins to color. The fruit will continue to ripen as long as it is not completely green when harvested.
I like to cut as much of the stalk as I can when harvesting pineapples that are not fully ripe. I think leaving the stalk attached gives the fruit more reserves to draw on as it ripens.
I have a vase that I set the fruit into while I wait for it to finish ripening.
You'll know it is ready to eat when you walk into the kitchen and the sweet smell that only a ripe pineapple makes envelops you.
Delicious Fruits You Can Grow at Home