By Nikki Phipps
(Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)
Did you know that the leafy top of store-bought pineapples can be rooted and grown as an interesting houseplant? Simply choose a fresh pineapple from your local grocery or produce store, cut the top off and sprout your plant. Try picking one having the most attractive foliage, or variegated, for a unique pineapple rooting top that you can enjoy year round.
How to Grow Pineapples from Tops
Rooting and growing pineapple tops is easy. Once you bring your pineapple home, cut off the leafy top about half an inch below the leaves. Then remove some of the lowest leaves. Trim off the outer portion of the pineapple top at the bottom of the crown, or stem, until you see root buds. These should resemble small, brown-colored bumps around the stem’s perimeter.
Allow the pineapple top to dry for several days to one week prior to planting. This helps the top to heal, discouraging problems with rotting.
Planting Pineapple Tops
Although it’s possible to sprout a pineapple in water, most people have better luck rooting them in soil. Use a light soil mix with perlite and sand. Place the pineapple top in the soil up to the base of its leaves. Water thoroughly and place it in bright, indirect light.
Keep it moist until roots develop. It should take about two months (6-8 weeks) for roots to establish. You can check for rooting by gently pulling the top to see the roots. Once significant root growth has occurred, you can start giving the plant additional light.
Growing Pineapple Plants
When growing pineapple tops, you’ll need to provide at least six hours of bright light. Water your plant as needed, allowing it to dry out some between watering. You can also fertilize the pineapple plant with a soluble houseplant fertilizer once or twice a month during spring and summer.
If desired, move the pineapple plant outdoors in a semi-shaded location throughout late spring and summer. However, be sure to move it back inside before the first frost in fall for overwintering.
Since pineapples are slow-growing plants, do not expect to see blooms for at least two to three years, if at all. It is possible, however, to encourage the flowering of mature pineapple plants.
Laying the plant on its side between watering is thought to help promote the flower-inducing production of ethylene. You can also place the pineapple in a plastic bag with an apple for several days. Apples are well known for giving off ethylene gas. With any luck, flowering should take place within two to three months.
Learning how to grow a pineapple top is an easy way to enjoy the interesting, tropical-like foliage of these plants in the home year round.