Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Pineapple flower

It's been a long time coming, but we finally have another pineapple flowering. They are so pretty with their little purple flowers. Each segment, contains a flower. Now I've read that pineapples don't require much water or nutrients, in order to flower, but I've been growing them long enough to know, that's not entirely true.

My favourite time - fruiting pineapples

They require good drainage, otherwise they will rot and they certainly don't need to be inundated with water. Coming from the Bromeliaceae family, they have adapted to minimal water requirements, through their cleverly designed leaves. However, if you want them to flower, they do have to be kept moist once the heat arrives.

Like any flowering plant, moisture triggers the flowers to bloom. These flowers do not require pollination, in order for the fruit to develop, but it doesn't happen at all, unless there's some moisture present. So if you're going to water your pineapple at all, make sure it gets a drink every now and then, once the heat arrives. This is applicable to my climate, which is predominately dry, in Spring. If you receive reliable rainfall through your warmer months however, then you won't have to do a thing.

Catching organic debris

When I added spent coffee grounds, to the nearby lime tree, this pineapple got some caught in it's leaves too. This is how pineapples feed, along with uptake of nutrients in the roots. But the roots aren't very extensive, so anything you can place in the fronds are beneficial.

If you're going to feed the fronds though, make sure it's free draining material, so it doesn't block the leafs from draining water away. Coffee grounds are a good, free draining material, and I've also dropped a banana peel on it. But best of all, are other leaves. Which is why, the best place to plant a pineapple, is under the drip-line of a tree.

Pineapple - left

I have several pineapples, planted in various inhospitable places around the yard, but this spot under the lime tree, is where we've consistently gotten fruit. This is the second plant I've put in this spot, and it's fruited before some I planted at the same time, as the original plant. Pineapples can survive harsh conditions, but the trick is to get them to flower.

Which is why under the lime tree, is the sweet spot we've discovered for growing pineapples. We've let nature do the fertilising, along with the cooler micro-climate under the tree, to help retain moisture. Just don't be overly kind to your pineapples, and feed them heavy fertilisers. It will burn them. Slow releasing, organic materials are best.

Newest propagated pineapple tops

The three pineapple tops I propagated recently, are doing well. The centre of the crown are a deep green colour, and will start producing new leafs soon. It's the centre of a pineapple, that indicates the pineapple's condition. Deep green and it has enough moisture. If it starts going yellow however, then you're killing it with too much moisture. It's rotting. Take it out of the pot, and let the roots dry out a bit, and consider if your potting material is free draining enough.

If the length of the leafs are starting to turn red, then they need some nutrients. Give them some organic material and a weak tea of your choosing (worm, weed or manure). If the centre of the pineapple crown is turning red however, then it's getting ready to send up fruit, so don't worry in that case.

In about six months we should be ready to pick our pineapple to eat. So late autumn. It takes a long time to produce fruit from a pineapple top (anywhere from 18 to 24 months) but for sheer neglect purposes, these are a reliable producer. Especially when tree, drip lines, are involved. The hardest part is in the waiting. Pineapples, pretty much take care of themselves.


  1. Thanks Chris for all the information on growing pineapples. My plant is still growing in a pot. I'll have to think about where to plant it out.

  2. Chris, I bought a pineapple in Caloundra with the intention of propagating the top and my husband has planted it but I just read your post about how to propagate them and I realised that he left the flesh on. Oops! I have no idea where he planted it so I will have to find it and see how it is going.

  3. Very helpful and informative.....not for me though :-(

  4. I was clearing out my inbox today, and realised I forgot to reply to these comments. I must have been prepping for the Sourdough workshop, and got distracted.

    Good luck with your pineapple Sherri and Chel, I've seen pineapples survive, which have just been plonked in the garden with bits left on it. The difference was, it wasn't in the ground, it was on the surface. The flesh provided enough moisture for the roots to get into the ground, but by then the flesh had well and truly dried and not become a mould issue.

    Although I wouldn't make that a way of planting pineapples on a regular basis, as it's a bit hit and miss. :)

    You may miss out on Pineapples Bev, but you do get the lovely stone fruit weather and any berries would be extra sweet. I can't grow stone fruit here, I haven't even succeeded with apples yet, and my berries struggle as well.


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