Pineapples are tropical fruits that grow mainly in Latin America with Costa Rica responsible for 84 percent of the global production.
Although many people enjoy eating pineapples regularly, most know very little about how they are grown.
Do pineapples grow on trees? Pineapples don’t actually grow on trees. They grow on a plant with a stocky stem with waxy leaves wrapped around it in a rosette formation. You can start a pineapple plant from the pineapple fruit itself or the suckers on the plant, but it would take 2 to 3 years before the plant bears fruits.
Although it might sound easy to grow a pineapple plant in the garden or in a pot indoors, in reality, these delicious fruits might push your patience and gardening skills to the limit.
Read more to find out how to grow a pineapple plant.
How Pineapples Grow
In theory, it doesn’t take much to grow a pineapple. If you live in a tropical microclimate, you can grow the pineapple directly outside in the soil. In subtropical regions, you can grow it indoors in a pot.
However, between planting the pineapple fruit and harvesting the fruits, there’s some work to be done and plenty of time to wait.
Pineapple Plant Appearance & Size
The pineapple plant has a bushy appearance. When the fruit is planted, the top grows into a stocky stem with the thick leaves forming a rosette.
The plant reaches maturity about 2 years from planting and could reach between 3 and 6 feet.
During the flowering season, the pineapple plant produces up to 200 flowers at a time, but only a single fruit will develop out of these many flowers.
That fruit will take up to 3 years to mature and become ready to harvest.
The pineapple belongs to the Bromeliaceae family. This is a large family of 75 genera and more than 3,590 species.
Most of these species grow mainly in South America with a handful growing in West Africa. Bromeliaceae includes flowering plants such as bromeliads as well as Spanish moss among others.
Where Pineapples Grow
Pineapples mainly grow in Latin America since they are tropical plants that need plenty of water, fertile soil, and sunlight.
Costa Rica grows about 84 percent of the global production of pineapple. The fruit grows on large farms in the country owned by a few people and large corporations.
If you live in a tropical region, you can grow pineapples in the garden; otherwise, you can grow them in pots indoors.
Pineapple Growing Stages
The pineapple plant goes through various stages before it reaches the fruit-bearing stage and is ready to harvest.
Even after harvesting the single fruit it produces, the plant continues to develop suckers that can bear fruits as well. Here are the main pineapple growing stages.
- Crown Planting: You can plant a pineapple top, keeping the crown above the soil to develop the stocky stem and waxy leaves, or you can cut the offsets on a mature plant and plant them. It takes about 6 months for the crown to start developing.
- Foliage and Root Growth: The root is the first to develop out of the pineapple. It takes all the stored nutrients in the fruit to develop a root system that can absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil. Only then will the stem and leaves start to grow out of the crown.
- Flowering and Fruiting: Once the pineapple plant reaches maturity about 2 years from planting, it will start flowering. On average, a single plant produces between 100 and 200 flowers. These flowers will produce small fruits that morph into a single large fruit. When the scales turn yellow, the fruit is ready to harvest.
- Suckers: The mature plant starts to decline after producing that single fruit, but side shoots grow out of it. These suckers will develop into plants on their own. After harvesting, you can cut the suckers and plant them to start new pineapple plants.
Pineapples, especially the ones found in grocery stores, don’t typically produce viable seeds.
If you want to grow a pineapple plant, you can do so either by planting the top of a mature fruit or cutting a sucker from a mature plant.
How Long Do Pineapples Take To Grow?
Pineapples are slow-growing plants. It would take the plant growing from a fruit between 1 and 2 years to start flowering and then another 1 to 2 years for the fruit to develop and become ready to harvest.
Do Pineapple Plants Flower?
Pineapple plants start flowering when they reach maturity. Each plant will bear between 100 and 200 flowers. The flowers will develop small fruits that morph into a single large fruit.
How Many Pineapples Grow on One Plant?
Each pineapple plant produces a single pineapple fruit. The fruit is actually a multifruit consisting of up to 100 or 200 small fruits morphing together.
Do Pineapple Plants Die After Fruiting?
After the pineapple fruit matures, the plant will reach the end of its life. However, side shoots grow out of the main stem. These will develop into pineapple plants on their own.
You can cut those suckers and plant them to start new pineapple plants.
Can You Grow a Pineapple From the Top?
You can use the pineapple fruit to grow a new plant. The top of the fruit is the part that will develop into a crown with stems and waxy leaves.
You will need to detach the top of the fruit and place it in a jar full of water to develop roots. Once the roots are 3 inches long, you can plant the crown with the roots in a pot.
How To Grow Pineapple
The pineapple is an annual plant that dies after the single fruit it bears reaches maturity but not before it grows pups or suckers that will eventually develop into whole new pineapple plants and bear fruits as well.
You can propagate pineapple through these suckers. Here’s how to do it.
- Wait for the pups to reach about 8 inches high.
- To extract each pup from the parent plant, hold it with one hand close to the base, and twist and pull in one motion. The pup will come out with a few roots attached to it.
- Prepare a medium-size pot, and fill it with general-purpose potting mix up to 1 inch from the edge.
- Make a hole in the middle as deep as the length of the roots along with the soil mark (if any) on the pup.
- Place the pup in the hole, and spread out the roots to fill the bottom of the hole.
- Fill the hole with soil, and firm it to make sure the pup is standing upright.
- Water the pup immediately to reduce the transplant shock.
How To Grow a Pineapple Top in Water
If you don’t have access to a mature pineapple plant and you can’t get your hands on a few fresh suckers, you can buy a whole pineapple at the supermarket and plant the bushy top as follows.
- Hold the crown of leaves at the top of the fruit with your hand and give it a firm twist. It should come off easily.
- Remove any excess flesh, slips, or suckers growing on the crown.
- With a sharp blade, make slices at the bottom of the crown.
- Place the crown on a paper towel in a dry and well-ventilated place to dry.
- Fill a jar with lukewarm water, and drop the crown into the water so that the bottom is submerged.
- Change the water regularly until roots emerge and reach 3 inches tall.
- Plant the crown in the garden or in a pot, and water it.
Growing Pineapple Indoors
You can grow pineapple indoors successfully. However, you’ll need to provide at least 6 hours of indirect sunlight every day and fertilize it twice a month. Water it only when the top inch of soil dries out.
Pineapple Plant Fertilizer
The best fertilizer for pineapples is a balanced 10-10-10 or 6-6-6 (or similar) organic fertilizer with a low dose of magnesium. I recommend Dr. Earth Organic Fruit Fertilizer for your pineapple plants.
Where Are Dole Pineapples Grown?
Dole pineapples, much like Dole bananas, are grown in the Philippines — in particular on the tropical island of Mindanao.
Do Pineapples Grow in the Ground?
Pineapple fruits grow above the ground on top of a stocky stem and are surrounded by a rosette of leaves. The roots of the pineapple plant are the only portion that grows underground.
Pineapples don’t grow on trees. They’re annual plants with a stocky stem and thick leaves.
Each plant has between 100 and 200 flowers each developing a small fruit before morphing into one large pineapple fruit.