Pineapple growing

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Mark, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I have three pineapples developing at the moment the largest one is getting to a really good size (quite big) and should be starting to ripen soon so I'm paranoid my pesky possums will start gnawing on it before I can pick it. Yes, you'd think possums would be deterred by the spikes and spines but unfortunately the little buggers have got to my pineapples before and worse still they just bite into the pineapple and realise it isn't ripe so it gets ruined for nothing!

    A standard pineapple plant can take two years before fruiting so it's a fair time to wait but it's well worth it.

    Pineapples won't ripen off the plant so they need to be picked when they are ripe.

    Some pineapple producers are removing the heads off fresh pineapples sold in supermarkets so people like me can't replant the head and grow another one - wowsers, here's what I think of that :rude: However the markets and many independents still sell pineapples with the head attached.

    To grow your own pineapple just slice the top of the head off leaving about 2 inches of flesh below the head and then plant in a sunny spot by digging a shallow hole and covering up to the base of the spikes. Keep it well watered initially until it takes hold and then you'll find the pineapple plant will not need much care or water at all. One day, you'll find a small pineapple starting to grow out of the top and the cycle begins!

    Image is my crude DIY anti-possum pineapple protection cage made from some mesh and a painters bucket.

    pineapple covered.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2016
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  2. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Once you pick the pineapple, do you rip the plant out, or does it grow another fruit?
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    The plant will probably die but hopefully (like with other bromeliad plants) it will develop at least one or more small offspring at the base or "pups" and they can then be replanted. They're extremely hardy!
     
  4. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Here's a video I knocked up about my latest pineapple harvest.

     
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  5. bearded1

    bearded1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Once a pineapple is picked, it grows two pineapples the next year that are smaller than the first one. This is called the 'First Return Crop'. Once these are picked, four will grow the next year, but will be smaller again (Second Return Crop). The fruit from then on will be so small they are not worth bothering with. Pineapples can be grown from tops, slips (which grow on the stalk after the first pineapple is picked) and suckers, which grow from the base of the plant. Very rarely, they can also have seeds. The slips are shown in this photo below the fruit.
    Regards
    B1 upload_2015-3-10_20-10-49.jpeg
     
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  6. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    I never knew pineapples get smaller and double each picking! Just the same, I tend to always replant the head of my pineapples and I usually discard the plant after the first fruit. If those "pups" were harvested or divided and grown as separate plants (if possible) would the fruit grow to full size then?
     
  7. Ken W.

    Ken W. Active Member Premium Member

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    We get frosts here down to -7 degrees but have grown a few pineapples in pots under cover. I replanted the new tops but lost them last year during the heatwave week of mid 40 degrees. I've been looking for some replacements but all the pines I see in fruit shops are topless.
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah some big pineapple growers are starting to get paranoid their special cultivar will be stolen and grown at home instead of turning into return purchases so they cut the tops off - it has nothing to do with shelf space :)

    We've had a fair bit of rain here this summer so our recent transplants are going well. Just a bit of a bugger to weed around!
     
  9. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I didn't realise they doubled either. I did know they got smaller each picking from my visit to the Big Pineapple up the Sunny Coast. I'm pretty sure they said they just do two seasons and then replant.
    Definitely something I'd love to grow as the wife loves them. Do you reckon they'd grow in a pot?
     
  10. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yeah easy! They're really quite dry tolerant so can do without water for short periods and grow pretty compact so would be suitable to pot growing. You have to wait about 18 months to 2 years before the plant will fruit but they can be ornamental - give it a go mate :)
     
  11. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Well I was just watching an episode of Gardening Australia and they were showing how to grow pineapples. Funny how that happens.

    They said you can cut them right up at the join between the fruit and the green spikey leaves and even pull some leaves off so the bottom of the green bit can bed into the soil. Interesting stuff.
    They also said not to water for the first couple of weeks and then water twice a week. They were starting them off in just a shallow tray to get the roots established.

    Might have to look into it.
     
  12. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Yes I've seen and heard that method before of root establishment and I did try it at the beginning of the year with one head in a small bowl of water but I ended up becoming impatient and just bunged it in the garden instead (like I usually do). Most of the time the heads start growing after about 2 or 3 weeks and if there isn't enough rainfall I water them once or twice a week until established and then they are on their own and usually have to rely on rain because my pineapple bed is away from my general vege garden.

    I don't have many failures so I'd say growing pineapples at home are pretty hard to stuff up in ground or in a pot :)
     
  13. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wonderful tips, thanks for sharing Mark. How long have yours taken to grow from being de-headed to being a ripe pineapple?
     
  14. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Thanks Ash :)

    Some take only 12 months but others about 18. I have a few more ready to pick so I'll take some photos and post them. Like people are saying, they tend to be smaller than the originals but hey... homegrown pineapples taste bloody amazing (just ask my wife) and they have to be one of the easiest plants to grow. Just pick a spot where people don't frequent because the leaves are spiny and sharp! I keep mine in our dragon fruit area so all our spiky plants are together.
     
  15. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    pineapple ready to pick homegrown organic.jpg Here's one of our latest ripe pineapples - as well as going yellow (or yellow/light green) they fall over when ripe.
    My wife and I ate this one in a matter of minutes before the kids saw... Home-grown pineapples are incredible, I mean I just can't overstate how good they taste! Sure, they generally are not as big as the farm fruits although we have had the odd large one most are around 4 inches across but hey who cares :)

    Apparently (see above comments), pineapples are supposed to get smaller and smaller each time its top is replanted but I'm not too sure and we continuously replant ours and have done for the past 6 years or so without noticing too much of a decreasing pattern. I suppose we have had the odd small one but I can't say for sure if it was second or third replant generation - I'll have to take more note.
    pineapple homegrown organic cut on plate.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2015
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  16. bearded1

    bearded1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Hey Mark,
    The pineapple does not get smaller each time you plant the top, it gets smaller each time you pick the pineapple from each plant. So, the first year, it will produce one decent sized pineapple. The second year , two pineapples will be produced, but will be smaller etc. However if you plant a top, that is a new plant and the process will begin again. I'm not sure if you arrived at that conclusion from what I wrote, but if you did, I apologise for not being clearer.
    Well done on having the patience to grow pineapples. I've never really thought about it even though I worked on a pineapple farm once, but with the price atm, I 'm considering it.
    Regards
     
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  17. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Ahh right, I also heard this on YouTube somewhere but I must have been mistaken - yes I did think people were referring to the subsequent next generation from the TOPS of pineapple plants! LOL no wonder I was confused why mine were a constant size :facepalm:

    I've had several plants die after producing one good pineapple so I just remove and replace with a new top. I can really only recall one plant in my patch regenerating into two plants after harvest then both of these fruits were small yes... from memory too small to bother harvesting to eat.
     
  18. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I started a few plants and I have them growing in the garden, pots and some still in water rooting away. I noticed that they are doing better than the last 2 years, so there is hope for them to fruit.

    But, last year I bought a cheat pineapple from the store for $20. I know it is a costly investment but it is the first time I have ever seen a pineapple with fruit for nearly 30years. I was so excited, I went home, unwrap my pineapple and stare at it for a while LOL

    I thought if I plant it in the front yard I get to share my excitement with the neighbours and sure enough the kids and neighbours stopped to checkout my pineapple LOL I put it in the ground back in November and we harvest it last month.
     
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  19. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Nothing wrong with cheating Mary :D (when it comes to growing plants I mean...) I often buy started food plants from the nursery especially if I'm a little late in the season and haven't got my seeds started for that particular plant early enough.

    How did it taste?
     
  20. Mary Playford

    Mary Playford Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    How did it taste?

    Nothing like the pineapples in the store....it was so sweet. Like most fruits that ripens on the tree or vine, there is this wonderful sweet smell about them that I love.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
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