Postponed Pineapple Dreams

By Teo Spengler | January 20, 2021
by Teo Spengler
January 20, 2021

I am a big fan of pineapples and a big fan of gardening too. Yet, it was such a surprise to learn that you can start growing a pineapple tree from a grocery store pineapple top. I can’t even remember who told me about this, perhaps because I didn’t believe them. In a spare moment I ran a Google search and found out it was true. I admit straight out that, though I’ve often wanted to try out the pineapple houseplant experiment, I’ve never done it. That means I may not be your best guide to growing a pineapple at home. Hey-maybe writing the piece will inspire me!

Grocery Store Pineapple

I learned to love pineapples on trips to Hawaii, where you find pineapple trees everywhere you look. The fresh fruit right off the tree is sweet as a dream come true and laden with delicious juice.

Back at home in San Francisco though, I am left with the grocery store pineapples. Some are better than others, admittedly, and some are even delicious. Sadly, none touches the hem of the sun-ripened pineapple from a tree. 

Growing a Pineapple

In order to start growing a pineapple tree in my own backyard, I would have to move to somewhere tropical, like Hawaii, Florida, or Mexico. As much as I love to visit tropical climes, I spent too much time in Alaska to be able to acclimate to a regular diet of heat and humidity.

That leaves the idea of a pineapple houseplant– a small pineapple bush that I can grow in a pot on a sunny windowsill. If such a plant could actually produce enough pineapples for the occasional slice, I would be thrilled. 

Pineapple Houseplant

From everything I read about growing a pineapple from a grocery store pineapple top, it’s easy. You slice off the tufty top anyway when you get ready to eat the fruit. So, instead of tossing it in the compost, you treat it like a cutting and root it in water or well-draining soil. If rooted in water, it gets transplanted to soil when the roots are as long as your little finger. Tuck the soil around the bottom firmly to keep the thing erect.

Place the pot in a humid room where it will get some six hours of bright, indirect sun. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Leaves begin to grow in a week or two after transplant, but you’ll have to wait two years to see flowers followed by tiny fruit. I see this all the time”¦in my daydreams! If you do it and it works out, please let me know! 

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