If you're wondering how to grow pineapple at home, you've got a very fun plant growing project ahead of you. Pineapple plants are quite easy to grow and don't require much apart from bright light and a constant, warm temperature. You also don't need to buy seeds or young plants in order to grow a pineapple, although if you want fruit this year, you'll need to buy a mature plant that already has fruit growing on it – pineapple plants don't fruit until their second or sometimes third year of growing, so you won't see any fruit on a plant you're growing yourself for a good while.
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How to grow a pineapple from a pineapple crown
By far the easiest method for home growing pineapples, growing from the crown requires nothing more than a fresh, ripe pineapple. It's important to pick your pineapple well, however: make sure that the fruit is ripe but not overripe, and that the crown is a vibrant green and tight, with no yellowing or falling off leaves.
1. Begin by chopping off the pineapple crown. Use a sharp knife and cut as close to the top as you can – what you want is the stalk with the leaves, not the flesh. Make sure to cut off any remaining flesh on the crown, or the whole thing will rot when planted.
2. Now, begin to gently slice away at the bottom of the stalk. Eventually, you will see small brown dots throughout the bottom of the stalks – these are the beginnings of your plant's roots.
3. Prepare the soil in a pot around eight inches in diameter. You can use a cacti/succulent potting mix, or make your own by mixing equal parts of multi-purpose compost, sand, and perlite. Pineapples need well-draining, open soil that won't become compacted or waterlogged. It's essential to plant them into a pot with drainage holes, not a planter.
4. Insert the pineapple stalk about an inch deep in the soil and water very lightly. You can even mist the soil until it's moist rather than watering from a can.
5. Position on a bright window sill and wait for the plant to root – this will take between one and three months; to check whether your pineapple has begun rooting, very gently pull at the stalk every once in a while to check if you feel resistance. Don't pull too hard, or you'll break the young roots.
6. Once your pineapple plant has rooted, you can repot it into a bigger pot (about one-third larger). After a couple more months, you will begin to see new leaves and the plant getting larger. Repot into a large plant pot or container (approximately 20 litres). In the summer, after all risk of frosts has passed, your pineapple can live outside in a bright spot. You should see fruit when the plant is several feet tall, in the second or third year of growth.
Why is my pineapple plant dying?
The most common cause of problems with growing pineapples is overwatering. You pineapple stalk will rot if it gets too much water. Some people have better results starting off their pineapple plants in terrariums where misting providing enough moisture, which the plant then recycles. If you're not sure if you're overwatering, think about pineapples as being a bit like cacti, then water in the same way (i.e. infrequently).
The other issue is with fertilisers, which some people apply in the hopes of getting the plant to fruit faster. Don't do this: too much fertiliser will create a nutrient imbalance in the soil and won't help the plant produce fruit. Only fertilise when you see little fruits appear.