Pineapple grows on a short, 2½- to 5-foot plant spreading to a width of 3 to 4 feet. Native to South America, pineapples were domesticated by Indians in Central and South America before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. Prized for its sweet juicy fruit, pineapple quickly grew in popularity as early explorers introduced it to new areas. Today, pineapple is favored for its ability to tenderize meats and flavor main dishes. Pineapple cannot be grown outside in most areas of the United States, but starting a pineapple plant from the top of a purchased pineapple produces an attractive houseplant.
Select a firm, healthy pineapple in the grocery store. Look for fresh, green foliage at the crown. Avoid withered or browning leaves.
Slice the top off the pineapple where the fruity portion joins the top foliage. Remove leaves from the bottom of the crown to expose ¾ inch of the core.
Fill a one-gallon plant pot or bucket to within 2 to 3 inches of the rim with planting mixture. Equal parts potting soil, peat moss and perlite makes a porous mixture that promotes drainage.
Fill in around the base of the pineapple with soil so the core rests in the soil. Firm the soil to secure the pineapple top.
Water to moisten soil and place in a shady location until roots form. Test for roots by tugging gently on the pineapple crown. If it resists your efforts, roots have begun to form.
Water when soil dries and apply water-soluble fertilizer (following the recommended application rate) once or twice a month.
Move to partial sun for a week and then place on a sunny windowsill. Grow outside during summer in a sunny location.
Repot to a three-gallon pot when the plant outgrows the original pot, usually in three to four months.