growing pineapples for free…

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growing pineapples...

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…

growing pineapples...

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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!

growing pineapples, my way
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pineapple

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).

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Sneh | Cook Republic
    May 28, 2013 at 5:47 am

    This is so lovely Emma, I must try it too! Wish they didn't take so long though. The tops look so much like agaves, don't they?

    • Reply
      emma
      May 28, 2013 at 6:30 am

      Thanks Sneh, they do look a little like agave don't they? They're a really beautiful looking plant even if they never bear fruit πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Jasmine Ann
    May 28, 2013 at 6:29 am

    ahhhh… Emma you are making me homesick for lovely warm summer days in Perth!

    I love that you're growing new things and even better that they're from things you've already eaten or borrowed cuttings, its the best way to go. I always find those plants are more 'memorable' than others as you remember where you borrowed them from.

    Here's to a happy pineapple season (in a few years at least!)

    • Reply
      emma
      May 28, 2013 at 6:33 am

      haha yes here's hoping we'll still be living here in Perth when they finally fruit! If not, Si's mum will enjoy them anyway πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    The InTolerant Chef β„’
    May 28, 2013 at 8:22 am

    I have lots of random plants in my kitchen garden to, but Canberra is not fantastic for tropicals πŸ™ My coffee and lychee trees didn't make it, but lemongrass, tea, arrowroot, Jerusalem artichokes,elderflower,Saffron and vanilla orchid and others are hanging in there. Maybe I should try pineapples as an indoor plant πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      emma
      May 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

      Wow you have a great selection of things growing in your garden Rebecca! We are the opposite here, don't think our feijoa trees will ever fruit in Perth… it's not cold for long enough!

  • Reply
    Christie @ Fig and Cherry
    May 28, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Oooh, so tempting! The weather here on the NSW north coast is a perfect pineapple growing environment πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Megan
    May 28, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Wow, so amazing! I definitely want to try this soon… thanks for the tips!

  • Reply
    tea_austen
    May 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    How funny. I currently have a window sill full of sprouting celery bottoms, sweet potatoes, and green onions.
    Now if only I could grow a pineapple πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Colette Just for Foodies
    May 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Emma, you kill me!
    I'm running out & getting a pineapple today.
    Call it a lesson in patience, I will wait 2 years.

  • Reply
    la domestique
    May 29, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Amazing! Having never lived where pineapples grow, I've always been enchanted by them.

  • Reply
    Domestic Executive
    May 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Love this idea although I fear that they wouldn't last very long in our chilly Wellington winds.

  • Reply
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef
    May 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    There are lots of pineapples grown around here but I've never started one by chopping the top off. I knew it was possible to do it but I'd never tried. I think I'll try it with the pineapple I've got in the kitchen.

  • Reply
    Irina @ wandercrush
    May 31, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    Oh! Amazing. Such a useful postβ€”lately my flatmates and I have been planting all our accidental refrigerator-sprouters, and the peas especially have taken on incredibly well! We've been getting our first pods throughout the week πŸ™‚ I imagine how satisfying it was to realise you had a whole pineapple on your hands.

  • Reply
    Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box
    June 2, 2013 at 7:08 am

    This is amazing! I'm going to have try this. We have over 3 acres, but there are so many little critters that eat everything: rabbits, deer, ground squirrels, gophers, and more. I would think they wouldn't the pineapple's leaves, but may want to go for the root. We'll just have to see. Fresh pineapple is now on my grocery list. Thanks so much for the idea and instructions.

    And I agree, it just goes to show you when you experiment on your own, you surely discover new things.

  • Reply
    Mairi @ Toast
    June 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Just imagine…freshly grown pineapples! Wish I could Em, I treat myself every now & then…that & bananas make me break my only buy local veg πŸ™‚ My growing efforts in the garden have been limited to one herb patch these last 2 Summers….really should do something about that!

  • Reply
    Litia
    July 3, 2013 at 8:06 am

    I must try it too! Thanks

  • Reply
    Lizzy (Good Things)
    February 13, 2015 at 6:19 am

    How fab! Not sure if this would work in Canberra, as Bec said… but love the idea, Emm xo

  • Reply
    cynthia
    September 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    This is the absolute coolest thing. Yay for your gorgeous pineapple!!!

  • Reply
    Nemasys Info
    October 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    WOW!
    Growing pineapples is a real achievement! Sounds like it worked really well for you.

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