Do Pineapples Grow on Trees?
I remember walking through the small town of Hana, Maui. I was looking for a pineapple tree since I thought to myself, “Do pineapples grow on trees?” but instead, I saw this weird looking plant in a pot that resembled a pineapple. It turns out pineapples grow from a bush-like-plant, not a tree, so I thought it would be helpful for people to know how pineapples grow! Here is the life of a pineapple.
The Life of a Pineapple
1. Seed Selection (Suckers & Slips)
Pineapples are grown using other pineapples. There are two ways to do this. The method entails the use of suckers, and slips. A sucker is a chute grown at the base of the pineapple plant. A slip is a chute grown from the stem of the plant. Farmers go through each sucker or slip, and select only the best. This process is called “seed selection”. After “seed selection”, the slips or suckers are re-planted into the ground. This cycle then continues throughout each crop.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #1:
Did you know suckers are the preferred method to growing a pineapple? For example, 75% of Dole’s pineapples are grown using suckers.
2. Field Preparation
Pineapple plants must be removed in order to prepare for the new crop. Plants that have already been harvested are “trimmed” down using a machine. This allows for the decomposition process to begin. Once the plants have been trimmed, a microorganism is added to aid in the decomposition process. This shortens the time needed to break down the pineapple plants. The pineapple plants are then shredded, further helping decomposition. Decomposition helps make the soil fertile, so this process is used versus complete removal of the plant.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #2:
Pineapples thrive in sandy soil. Also, a temperature range of 65 – 95 degrees is also needed to create the correct flavor profile. Too much heat will cause the pineapples to be too sweet, while too little heat causes them to be sour.
3. Planting and Growing
Once pineapple suckers or slips are planted back into the prepared soil, the growing process begins. The suckers or slips begin to grow larger and anchor themselves into the ground. A “crown” is formed in center of the plant which is where the pineapple will begin to grow. The pineapple then begins to form within the center of the crown. It can take between 13 and 16 months for a pineapple to fully mature. Also, these plants can become as tall as 5 feet!
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #3:
Between 100-200 flowers from the pineapple plant combine to form the pineapple fruit. The octagon shapes on the hard casing of the pineapple are the remnants of each flower.
Now that you know how pineapples are grown, would you like to grow your own? It’s actually very easy! I have laid out the steps below that will enable you to enjoy a delicious pineapple grown straight from your garden.
Step 1: Buy a Pineapple
Go to your nearest grocery store and buy a healthy looking pineapple. There are no seeds involved in growing these bromeliads! In the next steps, we are going to show you how to use the fruit you just brought home.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #4:
Bromeliads are a family of flowering plants native to the tropical parts of the Americas. They are popular house plants due to their need for little maintenance.
Step 2: Expose the “Roots”
Next, you will slice off the crown of the pineapple. After this, continue to evenly cut away rounds of the crown. Your goal is to get as close to the stalk as possible. Be careful when making your cuts. You want to expose the “brown dots” or roots that lie right below the stalk. Once you see the unformed roots, cut a few lower leaves off in order to allow for room when planting. Also, remember to remove away any remaining flesh from the crown of the pineapple. If you do not, it will rot during the planting process.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #5:
The “roots” of the pineapple are called the root primordia. They are the unformed roots that will later grow and anchor the plant into the ground.
Step 3: Grow Roots and Plant Pineapple Stalk
In order for the stalk to take root, you need to prepare them. To do this, place the pineapple stock in a glass of water. Wait for a couple of days while the roots begin to grow. When the stalk is ready, plant it within a pot that has adequate room. You will want to use special potting soil that allows for easy drainage.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #6:
Pineapples easily rot. In fact, they like to rot. This is most likely due to their high sugar content.
Step 4: Care for, and Allow for the Rooting Process to Begin
After potting, keep the pineapple plant in a window with a lot of sunshine. Water the plant to keep it moist, but remember not to water it too much. Repeat this until the pineapple begins to take root. It may take up to 30 – 90 days, maybe more. Every now and then, gently pull on the stalk to see if it is beginning to take root.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #7:
Did you know people, on average, eat 3.5 pineapples a year?
Step 5: Re-pot the Pineapple plant
Once the roots have taken hold, move the plant to a larger container. After some time, which could be up to a year, you will need to move it again depending on the current size of the container. I personally would not plant it into the ground since you need special soil which you may not have depending on your location.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #8:
Pineapple plants can grow up to 3-6 feet wide or tall!
Step 6: Continue to Care for the Pineapple Plant
Keep it in the sun, water, avoid freezing temperatures, and wait. It can take up to 3 years to produce fruit, and that’s if it even does! I would plant multiple just in case one doesn’t end up blooming.
How Pineapples Grow Fun Fact #9:
A popular method to induce blooming is by using ethylene gas. This is a naturally occurring gas that can be formed by decomposing fruit.