Pineapples are a favorite backyard crop all over the world. They are easy to grow and maintain and thrive both indoors and outside. When healthy, they produce beautiful flowers and delicious fruit that can be stored for long periods and enjoyed for months out of the year. Pineapples might not be the wisest choice for gardeners with limited space, however, as the plants multiply quickly and can take over a garden in a short time.
Start your pineapple plant by using the top off a store-bought pineapple. Twist the top, or crown, from the store-bought pineapple until it comes free. Remove all the fruit flesh and bottom leaves. Allow the top to dry for several days before planting.
Plant your pineapple in an 8-inch pot full of moist garden soil. Replace the soil and firm around the base so that the pineapple does not tip over. For better drainage, you can add an inch of gravel to the bottom of the pot.
Transplant your pineapple to a warm location in your yard at the beginning of summer. In moderate climates, the plants do best in sunny areas. However, in regions where the temperature remains hot throughout the entire growing season, you should plant your pineapple in partial sun or shade to ensure the soil remains moist. The soil should be well drained and sandy, with a pH of between 4.5 and 6.5. When planting multiple pineapple plants, leave approximately 12 inches between each one.
Water the soil around your pineapple plant once each week. Pineapples do not require a lot of water, as long as you mulch around the plants to minimize evaporation. Too little water will negatively affect fruit production.
Bring your pineapple indoors when the weather turns cold. Pineapples cannot tolerate frost or temperatures that drop below freezing. In warmer climates, the plants thrive outdoors year-round.
Fertilize every 3-4 months, or more often if you notice a reddish or purplish tinge developing on the leaves of your plant. This indicates it is starving. Nitrogen is necessary for fruit production, and your pineapple may benefit from the addition of iron and magnesium to the soil. During the first few months, pineapples take in nutrition through their leaves. Therefore, make certain that any fertilizer you apply lands directly on the leaves of your plant during this time.
Harvest your pineapple when you hear a solid sound when tapping on the side of the fruit. Unripe pineapples sound hollow. Pineapples grown from tops may take up to 2 years to fruit.
Watch your pineapples for signs of disease or insect infestation. Mealy bugs, mites, nematodes, and beetles are all attracted to pineapple plants and can cause serious damage if ignored.