Pineapple tops are used to start new pineapple plants for house planting or to grow fresh fruit. The plants require a minimum of 6 feet by 6 feet of space to produce fruit. Pineapple plants are not cold hardy and can be grown only outdoors to USDA planting zone 9. When purchasing a pineapple tree, make sure it has a nice greenish-golden color and healthy looking foliage when planting.
Cut the top off the pineapple ½ inch below the leaves with a very sharp knife. Cut away the fleshy part of the pineapple, leaving the core attached to the leaves. Carefully peel off some of the bottom leaves. Allow the pineapple top to dry for two days.
Fill a medium-size container with a mixture of half course sand and half potting soil. Place the core of the top into the soil up to the remaining leaves. Wet the soil until it is moist, not soggy.
Place the container in bright, indirect light. Place the container in a white garbage bag and tie loosely at the top if the air inside the home is very dry. Place the bagged container in a south-facing window. The bag will block some of the sun and create a humid environment for the plant to root.
Keep the soil slightly damp, and roots should develop in about two months. Remove the bag when roots develop. Tug on the plant. If it resists, there are roots.
Prepare the location outside in full sun by digging a planting hole the same size as the container you were using. Rid the soil of all weeds, grass and stones. Amend the clean soil with one part compost to two parts original soil.
Remove the pineapple plant from the container. Gently knock off most of the growing medium. Place enough amended soil in the planting hole to keep the pineapple plant at the same level it was in the container. Fill in around the plant with the soil. Hand tamp it down firmly.
Water the soil until it is moist top to bottom and when the soil starts to feel dry at the top. Never leave the plant soggy or in standing water.
Apply a 10-10-10 granular fertilizer every two months. Follow manufacturer’s directions for the amount to use.
Spread a 3-inch layer of organic mulch in a 3-foot diameter around the plant to keep the area free of weeds.