The pineapple plant is an herbaceous perennial that is native to the bromeliaceae family. This fruit plant grows sword-like leaves that grow from 2 to 8 inches long and spiral around the fruit's center stem. During its growing season, the pineapple plants blooms up to 10 flowers per day for up to 40 days. This blooming pattern results in the production of a seedless syncarp that results from the fusion of its many flowers into one fruit, the pineapple.
Position the pineapple plant in a warm climate area that provides at least eight hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid cooler temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and hot temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Select a planting location that provides good air circulation with extremely windy conditions.
Plant the pineapple plant in a nutrient rich, sandy loam. Ensure that the soil is well-drained and contains a neutral to mildly acidic pH level. Plant the pineapple plant in a hole that is three times the diameter and at least two times the height of the plant. The completed plant mound should be raised slightly above the surrounding soil level.
Position the plants in an area at least 5 feet from other plants and trees. Plant multiple pineapple plants at least 12 inches apart. Promote larger plants and fruit production by spacing the plants further apart, up to 3 feet.
Care and Maintenance
Prune away 2/3 of the plant's suckers, hapas, and slips to promote vigorous fruit development and increase fruit size. Leave the remaining suckers to initiate new planting seeds.
Fertilize the pineapple plant bimonthly using a well-balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Mist the plant's foliage with micronutrients two to three times during the growing season.
Water the plant regularly. Irrigate at least once a week during the summer months. Increase the watering schedule during excessively hot, dry summer periods. Avoid overwatering, however, as this will cause root rot. Avoid extended drought periods, as the plant will compensate by producing smaller fruit.
Mulch the plant's surrounding area to promote soil moisture and reduce weed invasion. Apply a layer of mulch no more than 6 inches thick around the diameter of the plant and at least 8 inches from its base.
Inspect the pineapple plant regularly for signs of infestation and disease. Look for insect infestations signs such as mealybugs, scales and grubs. Also, look for disease symptoms such as leaf browning or reddening, plant decline and dieback. Treat these signs immediately. Speak with a local nursery or horticultural specialist for diagnosis and treatment assistance.
Harvest the pineapple fruit when the tree arrives at a full size and has a full green color. The peel will begin to change from green to yellow. Pick the fruit and allow to rest at room temperature to complete the ripening process.