Pineapples (Ananas comosus) are some of the healthiest foods on the planet. You can eat them fresh, juiced, cooked, or preserved. If you want them in your garden, this versatile tropical fruit is easy to grow. You chop off the top, plant it, and leave it on its own. A few years later, you can harvest this tangy and sweet spiky fruit.
Is it that easy? Yup. And if you want to know how to grow a pineapple from its top, here's the guide. I have included photos as well for better illustration. Have fun!
Which Pineapple Variety Do You Want to Plant?
There are several varieties available in the market, so you must decide which variety you want to plant. Do you want a fruit plant or an ornamental plant? Ornamental pineapple plants are showy. They have small, red or pink fruits that are attractive but not flavorful.
This article is for the sweet and juicy fruit variety, but the planting methods apply to the ornamental variety as well.
How to Tell If a Pineapple Is Ripe
To enjoy the health benefits of pineapple, eat only the ripe fruits.
It is ripe when the color is yellow, which forms from the base up. Some varieties are ripe even if it is green in color on the outside, however.
In this case, you should go to the next test: smell it. If it smells sweet, then it is ripe. It should also be firm but give in slightly to a soft pressing.
Other things to watch out for:
- There should be no soft spots or bruises (signs of damaged fruit).
- There should be no darkened “eyes” (this means it's "old" and has soggy flesh).
An over-ripe pineapple is also not recommended. You can tell this by whether or not you can easily pull off the leaves.
How to Grow a Pineapple From a Top in Four Easy Steps
Now that that is out of the way, simply follow these four easy steps to plant a pineapple plant in your garden or in an indoor container.
Step 1: Get a Fresh Pineapple and Cut the Top Off
Once you bring the pineapple home, cut off the leafy top part (about an inch below the leaves). This top is now ready for peeling, drying, and planting.
Some people prefer to twist the top off. To do this, wrap the leafy top with a piece of cloth. Hold it firmly and with a hard twist pull off the top (like unscrewing a lid from a jar). This method gives you less excess flesh to remove.
I prefer the "cut the top" method, as it is a lot easier, even if the fruit is not that ripe.
Step 2: Remove Excess Fruit Flesh and Strip the Lower Leaves
Remove the excess fruit flesh and slice the bottom part of the crown. This will expose the root buds, which look like small dots.
Next, remove some of the lowest leaves. Not too many, though, as you do not want to expose too much of the root buds.
In some of other articles, they ask you to peel off about an inch from the base. If you do this, the additional exposed area has a better chance for the root buds to sprout through. I don't agree, however, as I had no problem with my method of removing only the lowest leaves without having to expose an inch from the base.
Note: Make sure all fruit flesh is removed from the base. This will prevent the plant from rotting.
Step 3: Let the Top Dry Out for a Few Days
After removing the leaves from the stalk, let it dry for two to three days. This will allow the wound or the cut end to dry and heal. This is another step to prevent rot.
Step 4: Plant the Top
After the top or stalk has dried, you can proceed to the planting step.
Some people will root sprout the stalk in water before planting. But this might lead to a moldy or rotting plant.
I prefer to plant it directly into the ground. I get good results for all the pineapples planted this way. See my photo below of my one-year-old plants. Their roots do not need much room, so you can plant them in flower pots as well.
If you plant them in pots, get a 10” flower pot or bigger. Repotting may damage the roots, so I prefer to plant directly into the bigger pot. Use sandy soil mixed with organic matter.
If you prefer to re-pot, then use the 6" flower pot instead. Wait for about three months before re-potting.
How to Care for Your Pineapple Plant
- Watering: Pineapple plants prefer well-drained soil, so do not over water the plants. Keep the soil slightly moist and not waterlogged. Water the root area and the center part of the plant, i.e. at the rosette whorl of leaves.
- Sunshine: Pineapple is a tropical plant and needs lots of sunshine. So choose a spot in your garden that receives the most hours of sunshine, ideally for at least six hours. If you are growing it indoors, find a location that has full sun for most of the day. It is also advisable to do daily misting to raise the room humidity.
- Fertilizer: Use water-soluble fertilizer to feed the plant, with corresponding dosage as per your fertilizer brand instruction. I use Miracle-Gro fertilizer for all my plants, and I am pleased with the results.
How Big Does the Pineapple Plant Grow?
Pineapple plants usually only grow up to 3 feet, but they can occasionally grow as tall as 5 feet high and 4 feet wide.
How Long Does It Take to Grow a Pineapple?
Ananas is a slow-growing plant and a late-bloomer. It will only bloom after two to three years. It will take another three months or more before you can harvest the fruit.
What Can I Do If It Is Not Blooming?
You can induce pineapple plants to bloom by exposing them to ethylene gas using over-ripe apples. Wrap the plant in plastic together with a few over-ripe apples close to the rosette whorl of leaves. The decomposing apples will release the ethylene gas, which will then induce flowering.
Or you can induce blooming chemically by using two small pellets of calcium carbide mixed in a cup of iced water. Pour this mixture into the center part of the leaves.
Will The Plant Die After Fruiting?
Yes, your plant will die after fruiting. But you can re-grow it from the suckers that come out at the base of the plant and below the fruit.
More Photos to Help You Grow Pineapple From a Top
Slice the bottom to expose some of the root buds.
How to Propagate More Plants
Besides planting from a top, you can use suckers that come out in the axil of the leaves for growing new plants. Likewise for suckers that come out below the fruit.
For large-scale plantation productions, they use the in-vitro micropropagation techniques.
We Would Love to Hear From You
Do you have any successes, failures, or tips to share about pineapple planting? Did it bear any fruit? Or are you now thinking of trying? Do you still have the problem of not knowing how to tell if a pineapple is ripe?
Whatever the case, we would love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below. Cheers!
Questions & Answers
Question: If I plant pineapples in the garden how far from each other should I place them ?
Answer: Ideally, it should be between 3 ft to 5 ft. I have a small garden and don't have the 3 ft luxury so I plant them about 2 ft apart. If you do this, fertilize them more than usual. Most of my pineapple plants are potted and this solves some of my 'lack of garden soil space' problem. Hope this helps. Happy gardening.
Question: I have a pineapple that is leaning to one side. Do I stake it straight?
Answer: Yes, you can do that. The plant fruit stem may not be strong enough to hold the heavy pineapple fruit so that's why you have the pineapple leaning to one side
Question: Before I read your article, I had twisted the top off my pineapple. It has a small point protruding from the top and I don't know if that is flesh or roots. It's been trying for 2 days now. Do I cut the tip to make it flat or can I plant it as is? The tip is dry & looks like swirls of roots.
Answer: If it is dry you can plant as it is and it should not be a problem. But I usually cut it off.
Question: I planted a pineapple top about eight months ago in an average sized pot. Surprisingly, it has taken off and is outgrowing it. Should I transplant it into a bigger pot or the ground?
Answer: A bigger pot is okay but if you transfer it to the ground, the plant grows better and from my own experience, you get bigger fruits. Of course, the standard fertilizer application applies to both planting in pot or ground.
Question: Are we suppose to cut our pineapple plants back after harvesting the fruit?
Answer: I usually remove the pineapple plant after harvesting as I need that space to plant new pineapple seedlings :-) But if you don't remove them it is still fine as some people use them as landscaping plants...sometimes a new shoot will appear and will grow. The choice is yours.
Question: If I plant the pineapple now in August what will happen when it gets cold? I'm in the south but our temperatures do get below 65. Should I plant my pineapple in a pot?
Answer: Yes, it is better to plant it in a pot and move it indoors when the temperature drops. I plant some of my pineapple plants in a pot as well. When it is fruiting, I bring them inside for two reasons. First, I have the Asian palm civet that hangs around our place and takes a bite at the fruits the moment they 'smell the ripeness'. Secondly, it looks great as part of an indoor plant decor!
Question: Should I bring my pineapple plant indoors for the winter?
Answer: Pineapple is a tropical plant and loves the sun and heat. It will not survive in the cold winter. So, yes, you have to bring the plant indoors during winter. Place it at a location that receives the most sunlight.
Question: Should I cut the suckers off of my indoor pineapple plant?
Answer: Suckers are actually a 'baby pineapple plant' that grow between the leaves. So, yes, you should cut them off and replant them in another pot.
Question: I have a very large suckered growing right below my pineapple. Do I leave the suckered until my fruit is ripe, figuring another month before fruit ready to harvest?
Answer: Yes, I will do the same. Leave it until the fruit is ripe in case you damage the fruiting plant's roots.
Question: What does a pineapple blossom look like?
Answer: In my article, there is a video on Dole pineapple. You can see the pineapple blossom about 0.11 seconds into the video.
© 2016 Mazlan
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on July 02, 2020:
Hi, Janisa. You can try planting the pineapple indoor, it might work.
Janisa from Earth on June 29, 2020:
I love pineapples! I've planted a few in South America (still waiting for my first harvest), but I think that growing one in Canada would be a bit difficult due to the cold winters. Maybe I'll try growing a pineapple plant at home. Thanks for sharing!
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on May 27, 2020:
It depends on how 'old' was the fruit. It usually ripens off the plant. Most commercial growers will harvest pineapple when it is still unripe anyway.
Jen on May 27, 2020:
I knocked the pineapple off before it was ripe will it ripen off the plant?
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on July 23, 2019:
Hi Sussan. It is better to have the pineapple plants in pots and move them around during the hot summer - put in the shaded area. Otherwise, you can them in the sunny area during the not intense hot seasons. Hopes this helps.
Susan Bailey on July 22, 2019:
I lice in Las Vegas . it can get to be over a hundred degrees. Can i grow a pineapple in that kind of heat? Or can i have a potted one sit in that heat?
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 15, 2019:
Good to know that the article had inspired you to plant the pineapple top. It is quite easy actually.
I believe it is still summer with warm weathers in NJ right now? If it is, you can have it outdoor and place the planter box away from direct sunlight. Let the pineapple top grow for about a month before moving to area with direct sunlight.
Good luck and yes, please keep us posted on your progress.
Thanks for dropping by and have a great day.
Faith on June 15, 2019:
I love trying new things. After reading your article I am really going to try this. Many years ago my oldest son who enjoys growing things and had planted a pineapple top but left it out and it became VERY cold outside (we live in NJ) so it died. But I'm going to try doing it in a very large planter that I have and keep it indoors where I have a very very sunny side of the house and it's sunny all year around. I will keep you posted as to how it's doing. Thank you.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 27, 2018:
Andrew, Not sure of your climate condition but in our hot tropical country, I still fertilize with potassium (K) for fruit development and ripening. If your soil condition is good and you have applied a good amount of fertilizer during the growth stage, then you can skip it during the fruiting stage ( cost of fertilizer is not cheap any more)
Andrew on June 26, 2018:
Growing two pineapple plants at different stages. I am aware that you can fertilise the plant during the summer periods. The mature one is fruiting, I wanted to know should you fertilise the plant during fruiting.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 07, 2018:
sqhetti girl, I did not notice these insects at the pineapple plant that I grew. But water might collect and stays at the leaves/stalk section and this might attract mosquitoes. So try to keep them dry a few hours alter after watering the pineapple plant.
sqhetti girl on June 07, 2018:
when an if lol i can grow my pineapple per your way.. id like to put on my porch at certain sun hours.. will the pineapple cause lots of insects to come .. Ants, bee,s. misquitos any other insects i should look for .??
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on September 26, 2017:
Yes you can trim the pineapple leaves, Roberta. Make sure you use a proper shear of sufficient length and also to wear gloves to protect you from possible injury from their sharp spines.
Roberta on September 26, 2017:
I have 7 plants in different stages growing. I harvested one 6 months agO so know it takes quite a while. My qUestion is can you trim of some of the fronds and not damage it
some of them are very large and prickly when you walk by
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on September 10, 2017:
Hi Bob, thanks for dropping by and thanks for the compliment.
You are actually in the tropics and it will be great if you can also share some of your gardening experience.
Hope to see them soon!
Bob Norris on September 09, 2017:
It's great actually having someone who lives in the tropics writing about plants. Most gardening topics are mostly about temperate zones. I live in Cooktown which is 15 degrees south of the equator.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on September 06, 2016:
Hi, Valene. Yes, you have to bring the plant indoors in winter and place it where it will get the most hours of sunshine. It is very easy to plant pineapple and you should give it a try. Then share your story here at HP. :-)
Valene from Missouri on September 06, 2016:
I got to see a pineapple plantation in Costa Rica and up until then, I thought pineapples grew on a tree, not out of a bush on the ground! I would love to try this. Do you bring the pot in the house in the winter, I assume?
Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on August 26, 2016:
Good idea! I might just do that.
Dianna Mendez on August 25, 2016:
I have a friend who tired this and the plant is now about three feet tall with tiny pineapples growing on it. I can see how this would be fun to do for families. Thanks for sharing the steps.
Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on August 22, 2016:
Hi, BlossomSB. Thanks for sharing your childhood experience with planting pineapple top.
I have read of people in the US who had success by bringing the pineapple plant (in a flower pot) indoors during the cold seasons. Maybe you should give yourself a try and then write a hub on your experience!
Have a great day.
Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on August 21, 2016:
When we were children sometimes our mother would give us the pineapple top to grow on some cotton-wool. It was fun and stayed alive for a long time, but never resulted in a plant that would grow more pineapples. I'd like to try this, but I'm not sure it would work in our climate, as it can get quite cold in the winter.