Q: I have seen some people posting about growing the tops of pineapples in pots. Could someone please explain how to do it? What kind of soil do I use? How much light would it need? What size pot do I use? I really have never had much luck with plants, but if I use something I was just going to throw away, I haven't lost much.
Hardiness Zone: 5b
Bubbasmom from Paris, Ohio
Find yourself a nice, fresh mature organic pineapple at the supermarket. Take the pineapple by the leafy crown and twist off the top (it will come off with a little bit of the stalk still attached). Seal off any openings from potential decay by letting it dry out for about 5 days. Then bare the stalk by removing the lower 15 or so leaves from the crown by pulling them in a downward fashion. If you see some tiny roots forming at the base of these leaves, try not to damage them. Success will ultimately depend on the stalk rooting, not rotting, so if you would like to, let the stalk dry for a couple of more days.
Start with a 6-inch pot filled with 2 parts potting mix and 1 part perlite or peat moss for drainage. If you prefer, lightly dust the stalk with a commercial rooting powder before planting. Place the pot in bright light(at least 6 hrs per day), but not direct sunlight and keep the soil warm and moist, but not wet. You may need to wait 2-3 months before seeing substantial roots and new growth.
When you see new growth (light green in color), repot to a gallon-sized container. Use less perlite/peat moss at this stage, and start fertilizing once per month during the growing season. You can put pots outside during the summer and bring them in to over winter. Plan on the plant remaining in a gallon-sized pot for at least 1 year.
If you have successfully reached this stage, you can move the plant into a five-gallon planter, adding in some manure or nutrient rich compost. Be sure to allow plenty of drainage and keep the soil moist, but not wet. After about a season at this stage you will see a large surge in growth. Watch for short-lived delicate blue flowers, followed by fruit in 3-4 months.
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This is what I have done and what worked for me. First don't cut the top off the pineapple. Put on gloves to protect your hands and grab the top and twist it off. Yes, it will come off that way. Once the top is off, remove several layers of the lower leaves. You will notice little white bumps, these are where the future roots will emerge from. I then put the the top in a few inches of water on a sunny windowsil. The roots should start poking out within a week. Once you have a good growth of roots you can plant your cutting in a pot. Use a rich potting soil that will drain easily and not hold the water. Pineappples don't like to be soggy. Also, a clay pot is best. Cover the bottom drainage hole with a few pieces of broken pottery or some stones. Start out with a small pot, about 6" wide. When your top really starts to grow then you can go up a size on the pot. Keep your pineapple in full sun. Don't water too often. It will take a while before you get a pineapple, maybe 2 years or so. It's a long wait, but it is so worth it! I can't describe to you the thrill I got when I saw my first pineapple growing. It took about 6 months for it to fully emerge and ripen, but boy-oh-boy, was it ever delicious!
BTW, I have heard people say that you can just cut the top off of a pineapple and then plant it, but every time I have tried that, it has rotted. The twist off method works the best. This advice was given to me by a professional nurseryman.
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