Pineapples are one of our favourite tropical fruits. And if, like us, you’ve ever wondered whether or not you can grow your own pineapples, did you know that it was possible to grow a pineapple from its own top?
This waste-free easy gardening idea essentially allows you to grow another plant for free or considerably less than it would to buy a mature plant using the pineapple top or crown through propagation.
But how do you go about taking a part of a pineapple that would otherwise end up in the bin and use it to grow another pineapple? Well, the experts are sharing their top tips on how to do exactly that in your own home or outdoor space.
How to grow a pineapple from a top
There are a number of steps to follow and while it may not be the quickest of processes, it is a fun and inexpensive gardening hack to try out.
What you’ll need
A healthy pineapple
A sharp knife
Good quality soil; try this Westland Houseplant Potting Mix from Amazon
A mason jar
A larger pot or container
1. Select a healthy pineapple
‘The first thing you will need to do is select a good pineapple for planting,’ suggests Fiona Jenkins, gardening expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk. ‘Look out for healthy, bright green leaves with no signs of insects or diseases.’
Next, check that it is ripe enough to be planted. ‘You can tell the ripeness by the gold colour that forms from the base up. The more gold, the riper the pineapple,’ Fiona continues. ‘Most of the time, pineapples selected from a supermarket will be adequately ripe for planting.’
2. Cut the top off your pineapple
Once you’ve enjoyed and consumed the pineapple in question, it’s time to cut the top off of the tropical fruit, which is also known as the crown. Aiming for around 2cm below the leaves tends to be an ideal spot, according to the experts.
‘Remove some of the lowest leaves, helping the pineapple become less dense,’ LeisureBench's garden expert Steve Chilton recommends. Then ‘trim the bottom of the pineapple far enough so that the root buds are visible.’
‘You will see small brown nubs where the leaves once were. The new roots will sprout out of these nubs,’ affirms Fiona.
3. Let the pineapple crown/top dry out
Depending on the temperature of where you lay your crown to help dry it out, it can take anywhere from one to two days up until a week for it to fully dry out.
To do this, you’ll want to lay it on its side somewhere that gets direct sunlight. ‘This will make the crown less susceptible to diseases,’ says Fiona. A windowsill could be a good spot, if you have the space.
4. Choose your growing method
Growing a pineapple from a top is possible both by water propagation and soil propagation. So, it's really your own personal preference when it comes to which method you opt for.
But here are the exact steps for each of the distinct methods:
When propagating by water, you’ll want to fill an empty glass jar with warm water and place the crown in with the remaining leaves sticking out of the top.
‘Only the exposed crown section should be submerged in the water,’ Fiona confirms. She also recommends using a mason jar for this particular method. ‘During the rooting process, keep the crown out of direct sunlight. And keep the water clean by replacing it every other day,’ Fiona continues. ‘After around a week, you should start seeing the roots come through.’
Don’t be discouraged if you see the leaves of your pineapple top start to dry out or turn brown during this process, this is completely normal.
Once it’s ready to be planted, choose a pot or container with enough space for the roots to grow.
If you decide on soil propagation instead, you’ll need to plant the pineapple top or crown in some good-quality soil, making sure that you cover it up to the base. It’s also important to choose a container or pot which will allow for future root growth. Then place the container or plant pot in indirect sunlight. And don’t forget to keep it well-watered to stop the burgeoning plant from drying out.
‘Once the plant starts growing fresh roots, you must allow it to get around 6 hours of sunlight per day. If it's summer when you plant it, you can move it outside but make sure to bring it back in before freezing conditions come in the winter,’ Steve outlines.
How to care for your potted pineapple crown
For each of these methods, once you have planted your crown or top in soil, you'll want to ensure that the soil is consistently moist but never waterlogged. You also don't want to place this particular plant in direct sunlight either.
‘After around 2 months, the root growth should have taken place and you will begin seeing signs of new leaf growth in the centre of the plant,’ Fiona details.
How long will it take to produce fruit?
In a similar way to how to grow a plum tree from a stone, it'll be a little while before your pineapple plant is producing fruit.
‘Pineapple plants take around 2-3 years to mature before the flowering and fruiting takes place,’ reveals Fiona. So, it's not the quickest of processes but it will be worth it in the end.
Steve concurs, ‘continue to monitor and keep watered until the pineapple flowers. This could be a couple of years, as they are slow-growing plants, and will grow even more slowly in the UK climate.’
Your pineapple plant will also likely outgrow its pot several times as it begins to get bigger, so this is something to bear in mind as it will need repotting at regular intervals. When doing so, make sure to cut away any old or dried-up leaves as and when necessary.