Pineapples are a popular fruit, and with good reason because they are delicious, healthy, contain a powerhouse of enzymes and go great in a lot of dishes, including salads, fruit salads, desserts and sides.
To grow a pineapple fruit, you really need to be close to the equator – or at least a little closer than the UK is! However, you can still grow a pineapple plant, if you have a nice sunny, south-facing window that receives a lot of light.
To prepare, you’ll need to get together a pineapple, some soil and a nice big pot. Go for some well-draining compost. You might want to line the pot with some stones, to improve the drainage, so get some rocks from your garden or the garden centre. When buying the compost from an expert, ask them for the right variety for a tropical plant, or explain to them that you’re going to be growing a pineapple plant indoors from scratch, and they’ll help you find the right one.
Why grow a pineapple at home?
Let’s face it, it’s lovely to have plants around the house. It’s great for your health, educational for children, and plants add colour and freshness to any space. Growing a pineapple is also kind of cool. A creative adventure: making something from nothing!
How to grow a pineapple at home
The first important step is making sure that you buy a good quality pineapple. Why not head down to your local supermarket, health food shop or indoor market and buy an organic one? Buy a nice looking one that is ripe but not overipe. Bring the pineapple home, and…
…eat the pineapple! Well, first wash it! Then put it on its side on a wooden cutting board use a nice large, sharp knife to slice off the leafy top bit. Keep an inch or a little more of the fruit bit, and set that aside. So you should have the leafy top with some meat at the bottom, and the rest of the pineapple.
Take the rest of the pineapple and cut off the skin. You can thinly slice off the skin, but there may be some holes in it. Cutting a diagonal line in a V-shape can get rid of these without taking off more of the meat that you’d like. Give it a try with a long knife.
Next you need to get your pineapple top and your gardening supplies. You now have two options.
The first option is leaving the pineapple top to dry out for a few days, then soaking it in water until you see roots growing into the water. The top of the pineapple, where the leaves are, should be dry. This option does work, but it’s common for the pineapple to start to get mouldy.
Option two is the most effective. This involves you planting the pineapple straight into your pot. You can also do this into the ground, if you like somewhere hot or want to give it a try in your garden. Bear in mind that pineapple plants aren’t frost hardy! It might work well in the more southerly areas of the UK, like Cornwall. Otherwise, you might see your pineapple thriving until the first frost, when you might like to pot it up and bring it indoors. Prepare the soil in your garden in the same way you would the pot.
So a pineapple plant can grow up to five feet in diameter and get spiny, so bear that in mind if you are going to plant it up in the garden. It is unlikely to get this big in a pot, unless the pot is huge! Put some stones in the bottom of your pot, or hole in the ground. Fill this hole or pot with some free-draining compost, firming it down a little. Then bury the area below the leaves of your pineapple top into the soil, covering it with a little extra and patting it down. Water it liberally every other day or more, so that the soil never gets really dry nor really wet.
Now just wait for the magic to happen! Enjoy your plant, and don’t forget to water it and have someone look after it when you’re away.