Pineapples are a tropical plant, but did you know they can be grown in the Ozarks, too? Now that pineapple is “in season” in our Ozark supermarkets, here’s an idea for growing a future pineapple in your own home.
At the supermarket, choose a pineapple with fresh, green foliage. Cut off the top of the pineapple at least a half inch below the green leaves. Pull off a few of the lowest leaves, and trim away the outer portion of the pineapple leaving the tough core of the fruit.
After trimming, allow the pineapple top to air dry for a few days. The drying period will allow the fruit tissue to dry and discourage rotting when the top is planted.
The dried core should be inserted into a light-rooting medium like perlite, vermiculite or coarse sand, up to the base of the leaves. The rooting medium should be watered and kept moist, but do not allow it to become waterlogged.
The rooted pineapple top should be placed in a bright, indirect light in a warm location. Roots should appear in six to eight weeks.
After the pineapple has developed a root system, the plant can be removed from the rooting medium and place in a well-draining, traditional potting soil. Keep the pineapple plant well watered and in bright, indirect light for two to three weeks.
When the three-week transition period is over, the plant can be moved to a sunny window. The potting soil should be kept moist. Fertilize the plant with a water soluble fertilizer for houseplants every couple of weeks in the spring and summer and once a month in the fall and winter, or apply a time-release fertilizer once in the early spring and once in the late summer.
Like a houseplant, the pineapple plant can go outside in late spring, after danger of frost, and should be brought indoors before the first frost of autumn.
It takes two to three years for a pineapple plant to mature. Due to our climate, it may be difficult to get a pineapple plant to bloom. An apple and the pineapple plant placed in an enclosed plastic bag for three days may successfully encourage a pineapple plant to bloom within two to three months.
Growing a pineapple at home is an easy way to do a garden project with a child or to grow a conversation piece for your home and garden.
Questions or comments about gardening? Contact Joleen at email@example.com.