The pineapple market size is valued at USD 27.08 billion as of 2023 and is projected to grow to USD 36.80 billion by 2028, with a 6.33% CAGR. This increasing growth can be traced to the rising demand among people seeking healthy foods.
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In addition to possessing a high content of Vitamin C, pineapples are gaining traction from scientists in the study of nutraceutical benefits from functional foods.
A study on the probiotic viability of pineapple found that a pineapple can be used to develop probiotic pineapple juice, which can benefit those allergic to milk products, lactose intolerant people and vegetarians.
Commercially, there’s a soaring demand for pineapples in the food processing industries in an effort to manufacture fruit-based snacks.
For instance, The Fresh Del Monte Produce realized a natural remedy to climate change when they discovered that the Fresh Del Monte-owned forests reduced the carbon footprint from the Del Monte Zero pineapple greenhouse to zero.
The sustainably grown pineapples motivate consumption while opening an opportunity to extend sustainable pineapple production within and beyond the Costa Rican regions.
Besides, with the increasing shift towards vegan and functional foods, growing pineapples at home is one way of creating a reliable source in and out of season.
This guide teaches how to grow a pineapple at home indoors, in water and on soil. We’ll also explore how to propagate a pineapple from crowns and suckers.
How to grow a pineapple
Pineapples are self-incompatible. They produce seedless fruits unless you grow different varieties together. Still, it can be challenging to succeed in growing a pineapple from seed.
The better part? You can grow new pineapple plants from vegetative propagation, and the resulting plant will be a clone of the mother plant since they are genetically identical.
Pineapple propagation is the asexual growing of new pineapple plants from the existing ones. You can grow a pineapple from the offsets (pups), also known as suckers, slips, hapas, or ratoons, depending on the part of the stem they are growing.
Here is a glance of the various options:
- Suckers: offsets arising in the axil of leaves on the main stem
- Slips: offsets growing below the fruit.
- Hapas: offshoots growing around the growth zone of the pineapple
- Ratoons: offsets growing on the ground level of the stem.
- Crowns: leaves above the fruit (tops): This is the easiest way to grow a pineapple for home gardeners.
Pineapple offsets bear faster than crowns and produce larger fruits. They are ideal for growing pineapples outdoors.
How to grow a pineapple top [crown] in a pot
Here is a step-by-step guide to growing a pineapple from the crown
1. Preparing the crown
- Get a fully ripe pineapple from your previous harvest or retail store.
- Twist off the crown from the fruit
- Remove the lower leaves (1-2 inches)
2. Planting the crown (in water)
- Add water in a glass (¾ full)
- Put the crown in the glass such that only 1-2 inches touch the water.
- Change the water every 1-2 days
- Roots should begin sprouting in 12-15 days.
3. Potting the sprouted crown
- Add potting mix into a 16-inch pot
- Mix with NPK 6-8-10 base dressing fertilizer
- Pot the crown 1-2 inches into the potting mix carefully
- Water thoroughly
- Place the pot in a sun-facing window, away from direct sunlight
- Water the crown when the surface of the potting mix is 1-2 inches dry. Avoid water logging since the roots are prone to rotting
- The old shoots will wither as new leaves develop. Your crown should have grown into a plant with new leaves in 2 months.
4. Trimming older leaves
- Trim away the old withered leaves after 9 months to encourage growth
- Let it grow until it has about 40 leaves (fully mature)
5. Inducing flowering
- Remove any weeds growing around the plant while loosening the top of the soil.
- Add some composted manure
- It may take up to 2 years for the plant to flower naturally
- You can mix calcium carbide with water, which produces acetylene gas, inducing flowering.
- Spray it on the leaves, especially at the point of flower emergence.
- A flower will be forming in 25 days after inducing flowering
- Water regularly, ensuring the plant receives at least 6 hours of sunlight
- A redbud will show that turns to a high cone as sucker buds grow
- The blooming of purple flowers will be happening from the bottom up.
- The last flowering stage occurs when the buds at the top grow into berries (around 40 days)
- Add a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus and potassium but low in nitrogen
- All the flowers turn into ‘eyes’ (tiny berries) as more suckers continue to grow
- The tiny berries then turn into berries that fuse together to form a pineapple
- Your pineapple should be ready to harvest in 16- 24 months
- When the fruit is ripe, twist it off.
- A ripe pineapple should smell sweet and fruity. Its shell should be firm yet slightly soft on squeezing.
- Harvest the suckers also by twisting them off for replanting. Additionally, you can harvest the slip (growing right below the fruit) by cutting with the help of a blade.
Need a demo for the seven steps? This 8-minute YouTube tutorial on how to grow a pineapple from a crown is helpful.
How to grow a pineapple from pups [suckers, slips, hapas and ratoons]
So you have harvested your pineapple but are unsure how to replant the suckers and slips? You can replant and harvest in a year since the suckers are taken from a mature mother plant.
Here is a step-by-step guide to growing a pineapple from suckers
1. Preparing the suckers
- Twist off the suckers and slips from the mother plant carefully. Hapas can be challenging to twist off, so cut with the help of a blade.
- Cutting hapas leaves a fresh cut that needs healing. Cure hapas in a shade for 8-10 days before planting to prevent decay in moist soil conditions.
- Suckers, ratoons and slips may not need healing as some already have roots growing.
- You can leave the suckers and slips that are yet to grow roots resting on a glass of water until they sprout (in about 7-14 days)
- Remove some of the lower leaves (1-2 inches) from the sucker before planting to allow root formation upon entering the soil.
2. Planting the suckers
- Add potting mix in pots. You can mix cactus and potting mix in a ratio of 50:50
- Dig a hole in the middle of the potting mix
- Plant the offshoots carefully, each on its own pot, and firm them into the soil.
- Water them and transfer the pots to a warm location
- New shoots should begin growing in a month
How long does it take to grow a pineapple
Growing a pineapple from the offshoots (suckers, slips and ratoons) takes 14-24 months while propagating a pineapple from the crown takes 2-3 years. However, inducing flowers can help the pineapple plants to flower faster.