Did you know gardeners who want to grow something fresh and exotic can plant pineapples indoors? Pineapples entice many home gardeners to grow their own in hopes of harvesting its sweet, juicy fruit.
Fortunately, it is easy to grow your own pineapples.
The biggest challenge in planting pineapples indoors isn’t keeping them alive. Instead, it’s the time commitment to grow them.
Pineapples aren’t hard to grow, but you need to invest some time before your efforts bear fruit.
If you are ready to devote your time and patience, then it’s time to plant pineapples indoors!
What Are Pineapples?
Pineapple fruits are natively grown in South America. Unexpectedly, pineapples are not native to Hawaii, despite its tropical climate.
The pineapple, or Ananas comosus, is an edible fruit-bearing bromeliad.
Pineapples are distant cousins to Spanish moss, another member of the bromeliad plant family. It comes as a surprise to many people that pineapples have more in common with moss than pines or apples!
Bromeliads are perennial plants, meaning they can grow and survive from season to season. A notable characteristic of many bromeliads is their beautiful, spirally shaped leaves. Pineapples are no different.
Pineapples also feature the distinctive rosette leaf arrangement of bromeliads. Even if your indoor pineapple doesn’t bear fruit, it still brings an exotic sense of the tropics to your home.
Pineapple plants are short and stocky, with tough, waxy leaves. The plants also grow bright red or light purple flowers that contrast beautifully against the dark green leaves.
Pineapple Growing 101
Pineapples grow slowly, like most bromeliads. There is little difference in growth times whether you plant your pineapple indoors or grow it outdoors in the ground.
It can take anywhere from 16 to 24 months for a pineapple plant to reach full maturity. That’s two years of caring for your pineapple plant while waiting for it to produce fruit. Once matured, a pineapple plant grows to at least three to four feet tall and wide.
One upside to pineapples’ slow growth is they do not require much fertilizer. Instead, the pineapple’s leaves take care of most of its nutritional needs.
Pineapples aren’t fussy plants. However, they do grow best in tropical climates or areas with lots of sunlight.
Growing Pineapples Indoors
When growing pineapples indoors using containers, you can occasionally move the pots outdoors for maximum sun exposure. Just make sure you don’t do this when temperatures start to drop.
Always place indoor pineapple plants in the brightest or sunniest spots, ideally near a south-facing window.
3 Ways to Plant Pineapples Indoors
You have three ways to get started on growing pineapple plants indoors. It all depends on how much money you want to spend and how much you want to challenge yourself.
Firstly, you can plant pineapples indoors using a pineapple crown or top cutting. This method is the cheapest you can try. Follow this method using any grocery or market-bought pineapple fruit.
Alternatively, if someone you know has a healthy and productive pineapple plant, you can ask them for pineapple “suckers.”
These suckers are pineapple offshoots or baby plants growing underneath the soil. They sprout on the side of the fruit or between the leaves. You can remove the pineapple suckers from the parent plant and use them to plant pineapples indoors.
Another method is to plant pineapples indoors using seeds. Using seeds may be the most challenging method of growing pineapples. You can use either pineapple seeds bought from stores or pick the seeds from a ripe pineapple fruit.
Not all store-bought pineapples contain seeds, though. You may need to buy a few pineapples to get the seeds you need.
Your last option is to buy a young pineapple plant and cultivate it to maturity. Buying an existing plant is the easiest method out of all three but can be costly.
Let’s take a deeper look into how you can plant pineapples indoors using each of these methods.
Using a Top Cutting to Plant Pineapples Indoors
Growing plants from produce scraps is a tried and tested method favored by many home gardeners. Starting a pineapple plant from crown cutting is ideal if you are on a tight budget.
Follow these steps:
Step 1: Buy a fresh, well-ripened pineapple from your local grocery or market. Choose an evenly ripe pineapple fruit. Try to get the best-looking one of the bunch.
You also need to make sure the fruit has a nice, green, and healthy set of leaves at the top. Avoid overripe fruits and those that have wilted or sickly-looking leaves.
Step 2: Using a sharp knife, cleanly slice off the top of the pineapple. Make the slice as close to the crown as you can. Once cut, trim the rind and remaining fruit from the pineapple. Any remaining fleshy part of the fruit will rot and potentially kill your cutting later.
You can also try removing the top shoots using your hands alone. Grasp the pineapple leaves firmly from the base with one hand and the fruit on your other hand. Then, forcefully twist the two in a swift, steady motion similar to wringing a towel dry.
Step 3: Next, take the pineapple and remove the lower set of leaves from the base of the green shoot. Do this until you expose around an inch of the leaf stalk. You may need to remove a dozen or so leaves.
Step 4: Once the lower part of the stalk is cleared, set the pineapple top or crown aside to “cure” or dry. The curing process may take between a few days to a week.
Step 5: Some gardeners advise putting the pineapple top cutting in a shallow water bowl to root. If you go with this method, use warm water and change it out every few days. Roots should grow in the next few weeks.
Alternatively, you can use rooting hormone instead of dipping the cut end in water. A rooting hormone increases the plant’s chance of rooting. It can also help improve root quality and speed of growth. Moreover, it keeps the pineapple cutting dry during the curing period.
Step 6: You can now plant your cured and rooted pineapple crown into a pot. Make sure you choose a pot that is at least 6 to 10 inches deep. A clay pot is your best bet, though just about any pot will work.
Step 7: Diligently take care of your indoor pineapple plant. Since pineapples are tropical plants, they don’t need a tremendous amount of water. You only need to water the stalks lightly and moisten the soil using a spray bottle.
Pineapples get most of their water and nutrition needs through their leaves.
Step 8: You can repot your pineapple plant once it has firmly rooted into the soil. It may take between one to three months for your cutting to take root fully.
If you want to test the plant’s rooting progress, gently tug the crown upward. Harsh or sudden movements may break the roots and undo your progress.
A sign that the pineapple plant has firmly taken root is new leaves growing from the center. You may then transfer your pineapple plant to a 10- to 12-inch pot with the same soil mix used before.
Step 9: After around 12 months of growing, replant your indoor pineapple in a large planter. Like other bromeliads, pineapples have a small root system.
Still, it is best to transfer your plant to a 5-gallon container or planter for optimal growth.
Plant Pineapples Indoors from Seeds
Pineapple seeds can be hard to find, both in stores and on the fruit itself.
Unlike most fruits, pineapple seeds are not in the middle of the fruit. Instead, they are immediately underneath or near the scaly skin of your pineapple.
Follow these steps to plant pineapples indoors using seeds:
Step 1: Buy a ripe, yellow pineapple fruit.
Step 2: Cut the pineapple in half and look for the seeds. Alternatively, you can peel the pineapple by carefully cutting the rind into large strips. However, be careful not to cut into the fleshy part too much.
Pineapple seeds are often less than half an inch from the peel. The tiny seeds are either black or brown and resemble flax seeds.
Scoop out the seeds and rinse them.
Step 3: After rinsing, it’s time to germinate the seeds. Lightly cover them in a wet paper towel and put them inside a plastic zipper bag. Always check the bag to ensure the temperature inside stays warm or between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Germinating the seeds can take almost six months, so be patient.
Step 4: Once the seeds sprout, you can plant the seedlings in a temporary growing container. Use a pot that is 1 to 2 quarts in size.
Step 5: Cultivate your baby pineapple plants until they are rooted enough into the soil to transfer into a larger pot. After a year, replant your fully grown pineapple into a 5-gallon container.
Buying Potted Pineapple Plants
Lastly, you could buy a full- or half-grown pineapple plant online or from a local garden center. An advantage of buying potted pineapples is you may be able to get a plant that is already mature.
All you need to do is bring the plant home and place it in a sunny indoor location.
Prepare a spray bottle for watering your pineapple and a supply of fertilizer, as well. Like other bromeliads, pineapples do not need much fertilizer, so a little goes a long way.
Care Instructions Once You Plant Pineapples Indoors
Pineapples require minimal care, so you don’t need to worry too much. Once your pineapple plant firmly and successfully roots, you’ll start seeing visible growth within weeks. Of course, you need to provide proper care, including warmth, moisture, and nutrients.
Here are some quick tips you need to know after you plant pineapples indoors:
Use the Right Soil Mix
Choose a free-draining, coarse potting mix for your pineapple plants. A fast-draining or fast-drying type, like cactus potting mix, is ideal.
You can use a combination of soil, pumice, and coir for a homemade cactus potting mix. Another soil mix you can use is peat, sand, and perlite.
Pineapples prefer slightly acidic soils. Since most garden soil is acidic, you can use that if you are in a pinch.
When you start to plant pineapples indoors, you don’t need much soil. You don’t even need high-quality soil. Bromeliads are hardy and do not have extensive root systems.
Adding Fertilizer in Plant Pineapples Indoors
You don’t need to use fertilizer immediately on newly potted pineapple cuttings. Instead, wait until your cutting or seedlings grow into a young pineapple plant.
When you do start using fertilizer, make sure to use a balanced liquid fertilizer. Additionally, spray the liquid right over the top of the leaves and allow it to trickle downward.
For young pineapple plants, use weak liquid fertilizer as well. And as with most bromeliads, avoid sprinkling the fertilizer onto the vase or pot. Doing so can promote algae growth and harm your pineapple plant.
A recommended dry fertilizer mix for young pineapple plants is nitrogen, potash, phosphoric acid, and magnesium. Dilute the fertilizer in water before adding it to your plants.
You can fertilize pineapple plants that have passed the one-year mark once every few months.
Watering Your Pineapple Plant
If you have previously taken care of any bromeliad, you should be familiar with watering pineapple plants.
Pineapples are generally more tolerant of being under-watered. However, their growth slows down when they do not get enough water or moisture.
When watering your pineapple plants, it’s best to water from the top going down. Use a water spray bottle to water your plant generously throughout its life but make sure not to oversaturate it.
Sunlight, Temperature, and Humidity
Be sure to put your potted pineapple near or beside a bright window. On warm days, you can move it outdoors for a few hours for maximum sunlight sessions.
Pineapple plants need at least six to eight hours of sunlight each day. If you don’t have a sunny spot for your pineapple, an artificial grow light can help supplement its needs. A grow light could be a good idea during winter when daylight hours are shorter as well.
Indoor pineapple plants stay true to their tropical roots and cannot thrive in cool, dry, or frosty weather. Your pineapple plant will not tolerate any temperature below 28 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in states with snowy winters, your pineapple plant may die if not cared for properly. Make sure to move your potted pineapple away from the windows during snowy winters. You can also cover your pineapple plant with insulating material or mulch.
Similarly, a dry climate may harm your pineapple plant’s growth. If you live in an arid climate, mist your pineapple plant occasionally. Spray the water onto its leaves and directly onto the soil.
Handy Tools to Plant Pineapples Indoors
Even though pineapple plants are not hard to grow, you can buy tools to ensure success further.
Soil Moisture Meter
A good soil moisture meter allows you to measure moisture levels accurately and gauge whether your plants need more water.
There are different kinds of soil meters you can buy. Look for a sturdy one that does not need any batteries and has an easy-to-read display.
Get a 3-in-1 meter that also measures light and pH levels to get the best value for your money. A light meter for plants can come in handy during the dark winter months.
For reference, pineapple plants prefer a soil pH level of 4.5 to 6.5.
Artificial Plant Grow Light
An artificial plant light allows you to supplement the sunlight requirements of your pineapple plant. When you plant pineapples indoors, ensure they receive at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
There are different types of artificial grow lights, ranging from fluorescent lights to halogen ones.
Experts highly recommend LED lights as artificial light sources. Horticultural LED grows lights supply plants with the wavelengths they need most.
Blue wavelength lights are necessary to promote foliage growth. Meanwhile, red wavelength lights help plants flower and bear fruit.
Just be wary of some light bulbs labeled “plant bulbs.” Some of these light bulbs do not offer helpful wavelengths. Instead, these lights only make plants look greener and better. Many of these misleading lights are simply tinted incandescent lights.
Common Issues When You Plant Pineapples Indoors
You can’t always escape pests, diseases, and other issues when caring for plants. Indoor pineapples are no different. Here are two common issues to watch out for after you plant pineapples indoors:
- Top and root rot: Excessive watering or using poor-draining soil leads to rot. You may also cause top rot when using a crown cutting if you don’t remove the fruit’s flesh.
- Mealybugs and scale: These pests love pineapple fruit. If you notice a fluffy, wax-like build-up on your plant, you already have a mealybug infestation. You can use a horticultural oil spray to get rid of mealybugs and scale.
FAQs for How to Plant Pineapples Indoors
Water your plant from top to bottom, starting at the leaves first before the soil. Additionally, use a water spray bottle or spritzer to help avoid oversaturating your plant. An overwatered pineapple plant is prone to top and root rot.
Pineapples are tropical plants and grow best when exposed to six to eight hours of bright sunlight. If possible, try to let your pineapple plant soak in sunlight for 12 hours.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer for pineapples. You can also use a dry fertilizer mix of nitrogen, potash, phosphoric acid, and magnesium for young plants. Make sure to dilute the fertilizer in water first, though.
You can use pretty much any pot or container, though a clay pot works best. Use a 6- to 10-inch-deep pot for a young pineapple plant. Once it matures, transfer the plant into a 5-gallon container.
The easiest way to plant pineapples indoors is to cut off the top or crown of pineapple fruit. After drying out the cutting and applying rooting hormone, you can plant it in a pot.