Sunday, April 12, 2009

Don't Throw It, Grow It!

Fresh pineapples were on sale at the grocery store yesterday, so I decided to buy some for today's dinner. Son Tony did the honors of peeling and cutting the fruit. Instead of tossing the pineapple tops in the compost pile with the rest of the inedible parts, I decided to recycle them by trying to grow a pineapple plant. The Website How to Grow a Pineapple had great information about the whole process. Although there are a lot of steps (spread out over multiple months), they all seem pretty simple.

The first step was to obtain a pineapple.
  • The Website indicated the best pineapple for growing has healthy, firm leaves and golden brown skin. The leaves should be free of scale insects, indicated by grey spots at the base. All of the pineapples at the store met this requirement, so this was easy.
The second step was to prepare the crown.
  • Before the crown can be gown, it needs to be separated from the fruit. To do this, I grabbed the leaves and twisted them until the entire set pulled away. There was a bit of pineapple left on the bottom of the crown; the directions said to trim this flesh off so the plant wouldn't rot after planting.
  • Next, I carefully removed small slices from the bottom of the crown until the root buds were exposed. (The buds appeared as small dots on the cut surface around the perimeter of the stem base.)
  • After the root buds were exposed, the directions were to bare the stalk by stripping off about an inch worth of the lower leaves so they don't rot when the crown is planted. The missing leaves revealed some small brown-colored bumps below the leaf scars. These are root primordia, or baby roots waiting to grow.
  • The last step for this round was to place the crown in a dry, dark place for about a week before planting so the cut end and the leaf scars could heal. This seemed a bit unusual; most plants I've dealt with would die if they weren't placed in soil or water, but I did what I was told. The crowns, each set upside-down in a plastic deli container, got set in a shelf in the laundry room where the cats can't reach them.
Mature pineapple plants can reach a height and width of four to six feet, and in the best of conditions take two years to bear fruit. I suspect my experiment won't do that well, but you never know. By time our weather here turns hot and steamy, I hope I'll have a tropical-looking plant that will look great on my deck.


  1. Pineapples are so complicated...I only get them when the pre-prepared ones are on sale! But good luck and I hope you get your pineapple!

  2. You have inspired me to have a go. I have the first stage underway in a glass in my kitchen.

  3. Emom...The pineapple was VERY good, and at only 99 cents, I'll have to go back for more.

    Sydney...Son Tony peeled them very quickly. I watched what he did and think I could do it myself next time.

    St Louis Web Designer...Let me know how it goes.