Si and I grow all sorts of random things in our garden. Some ‘experiments’ work out, while others don’t. If you were to look out in our backward right now you’d find a whole family of different-sized pots filled with tamarind trees grown from seed, chilli plants plucked out from my mother-in-laws where they had self sown, rosemary grown from trimmings picked off the side of the road and a huge grape vine that Si’s grown from a cutting taken from our old next-door neighbours house, amongst many other little bits and pieces. It’s kinda just how we do things round here, if we haven’t tried growing something before and we can do so cheaply (or even better, for free!) we give it a shot even if we’re not entirely sure what we’re doing. There’s really no harm in trying eh?
I’ve always wanted to try growing pineapples but it wasn’t until we moved to Perth that it became a realistic goal, NZ weather is just a tad too cold for these babies sadly. This summer just gone after chopping the top off one of the pineapples I’d picked up at the shops I instinctively placed it upright in a shallow saucer of water, set it on the windowsill and left it for a couple of weeks until roots had grown from the bottom, before Si planted it out into a big pot of good quality potting mix. It wasn’t until after it was planted that I did some reading up on the correct way to grow pineapples from tips. It turns out they don’t like soggy bottoms and much prefer to be dried out before placing straight into soil. Whoops.
Since then I’ve planted another pineapple in the ‘correct’ way and am happy to say both the soggy and dry bottom ones are doing just fine! Just goes to show you can’t always believe what you read online…
So here’s my two options for growing pineapples from tips.
1. cut off the top of a pineapple, place upright in a small saucer of water, leave on your windowsill for 10-14 days or until little roots have grown from the bottom. Plant into a large pot or straight into a well composted garden bed.
2. cut off the top of a pineapple, peel off the bottom 3-4 layers of leaves, set aside in a dry place for a couple of days to dry out before planting as above.
Make sure you only use the tops from beautiful juicy, sweet pineapples as your plant will grow the exact same type of pineapple that you’ve eaten.
Don’t over water. I only water ours about once ever 2-3 days in hot weather and now that it is cooling down and raining more frequently I’ve actually pulled them under cover so they don’t get water-logged but still get lots of sun. When watering, water directly into the centre of the plant not just around the base.
Expect that some leaves may die off over winter, especially the outer ones. So long as the middle still looks green and healthy I reckon it’ll be fine.
Be patient, as it may be up to 2 years before your plant is large enough to fruit!
UPDATE!! Excatly two years after I wrote this post, we have a baby pineapple growing on the largest of our three pineapple plants. Here’s what it looked like on day one of discovering it growing, and then two weeks later!
So while we may not be eating freshly grown pineapples for some years yet, just think how delicious it will be once we get to! And all for what… the cost of a little bit of soil, water and time?
(The three photos above are of the original pineapple that I sprouted and planted. The middle shot was when we first planted it out and the bottom shot is how big it is now, 4 months on).