perfect, ripe, delicious pineapples are in no short supply here in Hawaii, even in the time of the rona.
our very first days here we purchased one and took a few adorable naked baby on the beach pictures with it and of course ate that bad boy. but for me, i was in pcs purgatory. if you are a mil spouse you’ve been there. its either the last weeks of your previous assignment or the first weeks of your new one or both. where everything you own, save a couple of stuffed suitcases, are on a boat, plane, or semi in record slow route to your new home. in our case i stuffed our suitcases with amazing Japanese diapers and snacks for our little Japan baby. anyone who has had a baby in Japan knows what i’m talking about. they have the best everything!
so i blame this purgatory on my current “must propagate every beautiful plant i touch” mindset, starting with that pineapple. my dream is that in 2 or 3 years we will be able to bookend our time in this little slice of heaven with another sweet and perfect pineapple from that same plant.
so here you go, a step by step guide that I hope you find helpful. you can grow pineapple plants anywhere, BUT you need patience! this is a less fun propagation project than the papyrus one. pineapple are sloooowwww.
they are bromeliads, if you are familiar with those you know they don’t do much but that they offer a dynamic addition to a tropical landscape. some bromeliads are terrestrial and some epiphytic. meaning some grow in the ground and some don’t require soil at all. pineapple will require soil, but will do well in a nice well draining and slightly acidic sandy loam, so the mixed bag of citrus and succulent soil you can get at your local garden center will work great. also they are a good plant to use old coffee grounds with, used coffee grounds contain nitrogen which pineapples love.
we start with a beautiful ripe pineapple!
get yourself a nice big knife and chop off the top inch or so of the fruit leaving the crown attached. I actually like to chop off a little of the bottom at this point too, to make cutting off the outer skin a little easier.
now, this isn’t a lesson on how to actually cut a pineapple, there are great YouTube videos of how to do that i’m sure, but i am gonna focus on preparing the crown to plant.
this is the stage where i was originally told to stop, just take that fleshy down and let it sit out for a day or so to calls over and then plant the whole thing. i find this method ok, but has some problems, like the sweet pineapple meat attracting ants, and the added moisture being an environment that could grow fungus and mold.
so i recommend removing not only the fleshy part, but the first inch or so of the leaves to expose some of the stem, making it more advantageous for roots to emerge.
some tutorials say to leave the bit of stem material in a glass of water for a few weeks until you see the roots emerge. if you choose this route it is important that you change out the water every day. i personally have not had success with this route and find rooting it this way then shocks your plant and you will likely lose the roots it put out when you move it to the growing medium.
the method that has worked best for me is placing it directly into the soil. another step you can add is to apply a little rooting hormone powder. this is a step i skipped initially because i hadn’t picked up any and it rooted fine without it, might have just taken a little longer.
now comes the less fun part. you wait. ad first you may see some of the leaves turning brown. this is fine, your plant is using all the energy it had trapped in the crown when it was cut off to produce its root system. until it can establish roots it will pull energy from the leaves.
I let it sit for a few weeks before giving it a little tug to see if it took root.
success! we have a future yummy pineapple on the way!
warning: if you live anywhere less tropical that Hawaii or central Florida, you could be waiting upwards of 4 years for this fruit of your labor or patience more accurately.
i will continue to plant my pineapple tops until I have them on either side of each entrance to our home. pineapples are a sign of welcome and i am so happy to welcome all who want to visit us here and share the beauty of these magical islands!
oh, and don’t worry about the pineapple! it went on to be grilled along with some chicken on our beautiful Traeger grill for the most amazing dinner we plan to recreate weekly!