After enjoying the juicy goodness of fresh and plump pineapple, it makes you wonder if you can grow your own. The good news is that you can do it using only the pineapple top! You’ll be surprised how easy it can be.
Pineapple tops typically take 6–8 weeks to grow roots under suitable conditions, including bright sunlight and warm temperatures. You can successfully root your pineapple top in water, soil, or a soilless medium. Afterward, you can transplant your rooted pineapples into the garden or indoor pots.
The process may seem simple, but it helps to remember that pineapples are sun-loving plants, making it challenging to grow them in colder regions and expect big yields. This article will help you go through the proper propagation of pineapple tops and improve your chances of getting your own juicy fruits in the future. Read on!
How to Grow Roots From a Pineapple Top
Most, if not all, pineapples in the US come from Hawaii and other warmer South American nations. However, you can grow pineapples in the US in greenhouses or garden pots in warmer regions like Florida.
If you are planning to grow your own pineapples, there are plenty of things you need to remember. But first, you must choose a healthy pineapple with fresh green leaves.
Regardless of the propagation medium, you must follow the same steps listed below in preparing the pineapple top:
- Hold the base of the leafy stem and twist the top off of the fruit. Alternatively, you can slice off the pineapple top about 0.5 inches (1.25 cm) below the base of the leaves.
- Peel away about 3–5 layers of leaves from the bottom of the stem. It can reduce the number of leaves the pineapple top has to support and encourage the roots to grow from the base.
- Remove the fruit flesh and leave the top to dry for about a week. Choose a sunny location to speed up the drying process.
- You can also cover the pineapple tops with a screen to keep fruit flies and other pests away. Choose a screen that can provide a balance between protection from pests and adequate sunlight penetration.
If you want to ensure that your pineapple tops have healthy roots before growing them in soil, you can use the water propagation technique. The process is simple and not messy.
You only need to follow the tips below:
Choose a Clear Glass
First and foremost, choose a clear glass for propagation. Clear glass also allows the sunlight to reach the plant more easily, and you can conveniently check the progress of the roots.
Make sure the glass is sturdy enough to carry the weight of the pineapple top. You will leave the setup unattended most of the time, so it helps to ensure that it won’t tip over easily from little wind.
Add Water & Let the Top Soak
Fill half the glass with water to soak the pineapple top. A small glass will require less water.
You’ll want to use distilled water and replace it once every 3 to 5 days. Fill the glass with enough water to soak the bottom 2–3 inches (5–7.6 cm) of the stem.
Leave the Setup in a Sunny Location
A bright eastern or southern window is an excellent spot for rooting your pineapple top. If your region has warm temperatures between 70 and 85 °F (21-29 °C) even at night, you can place your setup outdoors.
Wait for Growth
In about 3 weeks, you will notice white hairy roots growing out from the base of the stem. These roots are not yet sturdy enough to be transplanted into the soil. Ideally, you should wait at least 6 weeks before transplanting your rooted pineapple tops.
You’d know when your pineapple tops are ready for transplant when the healthy white root hairs have grown at least 3 inches (7.6 cm).
A soilless medium can help pineapple tops grow roots better than soil. Materials like perlite have a neutral pH and don’t naturally contain nutrients that might burn the young roots.
To root your pineapple top in perlite, follow the instructions below:
Prepare Your Pot
With this method, you’ll want to choose a pot at least 6 inches (15 cm) deep with a diameter of at least 4 inches (10 cm). Be sure to place a coffee filter at the bottom of the pot to prevent the perlite from falling out of the drainage holes.
Fill the Pot & Add the Top
Next, fill the pot with up to 5 inches (12.7 cm) of perlite. Bury the dried pineapple top 2 inches (5 cm) deep into the substrate. Go 3 inches (7.6 cm) deep if the top is long and a bit heavy.
Provide It With Sun & Water
Place the pot next to a sunny window or outdoors in summer. Keep the substrate moist by pouring half a cup (125 ml) of distilled water once a day, ideally early in the morning.
Give It Time to Establish Itself
Since you cannot clearly see the condition of the roots, it’s best to keep the plant undisturbed for at least 8 weeks. Observe the leaves for signs of distress, such as yellowing or drying tips. In that case, the plant is likely not getting enough sunlight or water.
Pineapple plants are drought-tolerant when established, but they need a constantly moist substrate when trying to grow roots.
Perlite has good drainage, but it might have only average water retention capacity depending on the particle size. If your perlite substrate has large particles, you may need to pour water directly into the middle of the leaves, where the plant can directly absorb water.
If you want to grow your pineapple top directly into the soil, that’s also possible.
You can use sand or loamy soil with excellent drainage when trying to root the pineapple top. Fill a small pot with around 5 inches (12.7 cm) of sand and bury the pineapple stem 2 inches (5 cm) deep.
You don’t need nutrient-rich soil during the early stages of growth. However, you must ensure the soil stays damp or moist throughout the rooting period. Otherwise, your plant might fail to grow healthy roots.
As long as the setup receives enough sunlight and water, you can expect the pineapple plant to grow roots in about 8 weeks. Afterward, your plant will be ready for transplantation into a bigger pot with nutrient-rich soil.
Transplanting Rooted Pineapple Tops
In their natural environment, pineapples are low-maintenance crops that can grow well despite a bit of neglect. However, seeing how the climate in the US can be too harsh on these tropical plants, you may need to pay more attention to your pineapples to have better chances of harvesting fresh fruits.
After your pineapple tops have grown healthy and sturdy roots, you can transplant them into larger pots.
Here are some things you need to consider when preparing the soil for your newly rooted pineapple tops:
Pineapples Prefer Mildly Acidic Soil
Pineapples can tolerate a wide range of soil pH, but they grow best in mildly acidic soil. Ideally, you should prepare soil with pH levels between 5.0 and 6.5 to ensure the plant can get all the nutrients it needs.
Pineapples Grow Best in Nutrient-Rich Soil
To enrich the substrate, you can add compost to your potting mix before transplanting the rooted pineapple top. However, compost can raise the soil pH slightly, so be careful to counterbalance it with slightly acidic amendments or fertilizers like elemental sulfur. Alternatively, look for an acidic compost.
Remember that if your soil is already acidic enough (6.0), adding compost and organic matter won’t negatively affect your pineapple plant.
Pineapples Need Bright Sunlight in All Growth Stages
From rooting to transplantation, your pineapples should always be exposed to at least 8 hours of bright light for optimum growth.
When growing them indoors, place the pot next to a large clear glass window or door that receives the most amount of sunlight throughout the day. Rotate the pot 90-180° every time you water it to allow all the leaves to get enough sunlight.
Pineapples Are Drought-Tolerant
When watering pineapples, you may want to lean closer to underwatering than overwatering because these plants are susceptible to fungal diseases, such as root rot and heart rot. Luckily, pineapples can thrive even under the occasional dryness of the soil.
Water your pineapples deeply once a week and leave some water between their leaves. Like most bromeliads, pineapples can absorb moisture from their leaves and roots.
It Can Take Approximately Two Years for Pineapples to Bear Fruits
After transplanting, your rooted pineapple tops can take 18-36 months before they can bear fruits. They’re more likely to produce fruits if you can maintain the ideal temperature and provide adequate sunlight and nutrients.
Pineapple tops can grow roots as early as 3 weeks under suitable conditions. However, you need to give the plant at least 6 to 8 weeks to grow enough roots to support its soil growth.
To encourage pineapple tops to grow roots, you must provide them with the following:
- Bright sunlight for at least eight hours a day
- Adequate amount of fresh distilled water
- Warm daytime and nighttime temperatures between 70 and 85 °F (21–29 °C)