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I know what you’re thinking. This is a houseplant website—why the heck am I writing about pineapples? Well, in case you haven’t heard, pineapples are turning into houseplants. Yep, over the past few years, more and more people have started to grow either edible or ornamental pineapple plants indoors.
If this has you intrigued, then read on for all you’ll need to know about pineapple care indoors, as well as how to propagate your pineapple plant.
What is a pineapple plant?
The pineapple plant (Ananas comosus) is a bromeliad native to South America, but it can now be found in many tropical countries. It has some succulent qualities, as the leaves can store water if the plant needs it to and it likes bright sun. After a few years, the pineapple plant will produce its delicious fruit which we all know and love.
The pineapple is also seen as a welcoming symbol in many areas throughout the United States.
Where can I buy a pineapple plant?
You can easily find a pineapple plant for sale on Etsy. There are many kinds of edible or ornamental pineapples available, too. Check out this cute pineapple plant from one of my favorite Etsy shops!
How do you take care of a pineapple plant?
Caring for a pineapple plant is similar to caring for a succulent. It loves bright light and is drought tolerant, but it has a few quirks. Read on for a full care and propagation guide.
You know how I just said they are drought tolerant? Well, this is only if they need to be. Their leaves can store water, but pineapple plants actually prefer to remain evenly moist.
Water your plant when the top inch or so of the potting mix is dry. Make sure you’re keeping it moist but by no means wet, or that could cause root rot. Before you water your plant, feel the potting mix by sticking your finger a little bit down into it to confirm the moisture level and whether or not it needs water.
Pineapple plants need lots of full sun. Make no mistake—you cannot get away with keeping this plant in low light.
If you don’t have a lot of natural light in your home, you can still grow a beautiful pineapple plant. In this case, you’ll need to purchase a grow light. Grow lights have honestly been a huge lifesaver for me since I live in a low-light home. I used to purchase plants that only needed medium-to-low light, but now I purchase whatever I want!
Below are two of my current favorite grow lights.
(My post on grow lights for indoor plants has more information, too.)
Should I mist my pineapple plant?
The pineapple plant prefers moderate humidity levels, however, it will also be fine in normal household humidity levels as long as it’s not too low. One way to provide your plant with humidity is to mist it every other to every few days.
Personally, I prefer something a little more foolproof, like using a humidifier. I prefer this method because it lasts longer and it can reach more than one plant at a time. Below is one humidifier I really like because it has a three-day runtime!
As it’s from tropical environments, this plant prefers warmth, but it will do fine in normal household temperatures. Just don’t allow it to get too cold. Especially in the winter, move it away from any cold windowsills or drafts. Keep your plant above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (about 18 degrees Celcius).
Use a well-draining, loose potting mix. A sandy loam mix is preferable, and you might want to mix in some additional perlite to prevent the mix from becoming compacted. However, you’ll also be fine using a general indoor plant potting mix with some additional perlite added.
Use a general houseplant fertilizer once a month during the growing season (spring and summer) while the plant is growing and producing fruit.
If it’s a stronger fertilizer, consider diluting it by half.
Here’s something new—a mature pineapple plant typically won’t need repotting. However, if you’re growing a pineapple from a crown or pup, then yes, you’ll need to repot it now and then so the plant fits in its pot as it grows.
As with any plant, make sure you choose a pot with good drainage.
Use a pair of clean, sharp scissors or a knife to cut away any dead or dying leaves at the base.
You can also remove any “slips” (you’ll see these little plants appear at the base of the pineapple fruit) or “suckers” (you’ll see them emerge between the mother plant’s leaves) if you don’t like the appearance or want to use them to grow more pineapples. Not all pineapples produce slips but all do produce suckers. You should be able to gently remove them by hand by twisting and/or snapping them off.
Note that while you can leave these baby plants on the mother, they’ll likely start competing with the mother and each other for resources.
Foliage, Flowers, and Fruit
The pineapple plant’s leaves are green, long, and pointy, emerging from the center of the plant.
It can take up to two to three years for a plant to be mature enough to flower. The plant will flower a spiky and brilliant bright pink and purple bloom before the actual pineapple fruit emerges. It will take five to six months from the initial flowering until the fruit is ready to eat.
Do pineapple plants keep producing fruit?
The mother plant of the pineapple plant does not keep producing fruit after it fruits once. However, you can keep growing more pineapples by removing the slips and suckers that grow from the mother or using the pineapple top to grow another. I’ll cover this more in the propagation section of this post.
Problems and Pests
Below are some common causes of pineapple plant problems.
- Yellow leaves – This is a common symptom of overwatering.
- Brown, crispy leaf edges – This is a common symptom of your plant being too dry.
- Root rot – Root rot is a more serious symptom of overwatering. It can be difficult to save a plant with root rot, but if you catch it early enough you have a decent chance. Check out my root rot post for help.
- Crookneck – This is a common pineapple problem that can happen when the plant has a zinc deficiency. It will put the leaves in pretty poor shape—twisted, brittle, sometimes yellowy, and even blisters. According to this Horticulture and Landscape Architecture page from Purdue University, a 1% solution of zinc sulfate can be used to treat this.
- Pests – And finally, we can’t forget the pests! Mealybugs, scale, and thrips are all potential pests for pineapple plants. (Susceptibility to other pests increases when you grow pineapples outdoors, of course.) I have a post on mealybugs that will help if you’re dealing with those. For general pest control and prevention, I really like Bonide Systemic Houseplant Insect Control and a general insecticidal soap for houseplants.
How do you propagate a pineapple plant?
Pineapple propagation is actually relatively simple. There are a couple of ways to do it.
One way to propagate a pineapple is by cutting off the top and using it to grow a new fruit. This is a popular method because you don’t need to have a pineapple plant currently growing—you can use one you bought from the store! Also, since the mother plant only fruits once, you can use this method to easily grow your next pineapple after you eat the first one.
Remove the top and cut away all leftover fruit so only the top leaf stalk is left. Remove a few of the lower most leaves
When you look at the core of the leaf stalk from the bottom, make sure you can see little brown dots because this is where roots will come from. Cut off a little more of the stalk if you need to.
Now, set the stalk aside to let it dry for a couple of days.
Once the stalk is dried, place it in a glass of water. Only the base needs to be in the water—not the leaves. You might have to use a smaller glass to keep it from falling completely in the water.
Set it in bright, indirect light and change the water every couple of days or top it off when needed.
After a few weeks, once the roots are about two or so inches long, plant your stalk into a good-sized pot. Make sure it’s not too oversized but big enough so there is some room for the pineapple to grow. Keep the potting mix moist. After a few weeks, you can move it to a brighter light level.
In Potting Mix
You can also skip the water and plant it directly into potting mix.
Follow the exact same process as above, but instead of putting the stalk in water, plant the base directly into potting mix. Again, keep the leaves above the potting mix. Keep the potting mix moist but not wet.
Another method is removing and planting any suckers (pups that emerge from between the mother’s leaves) or slips (little plants that grow at the base of the pineapple) if your pineapple is producing them.
Once the suckers are around eight inches long, you can twist them off and plant them. Once the slips are around six inches long you can do the same thing.
Tropical Permaculture helped me with information about suckers and slips. They also have some helpful photos for reference.
Are pineapple plants pet safe?
Pineapples non-toxic for cats, however, the leaves have a sap that could cause an allergic reaction, so I’d still keep this plant away from them. The leaves are toxic for dogs.
The fruit itself, in small quantities, is OK for cats and dogs. And remember, be careful for the pineapple’s spikes which could also be dangerous!
Growth rate and size
There are different types of pineapple plants, and some may grow two feet tall and wide while others can grow five to six feet tall and wide, when grown in optimal conditions and given the room, that is.
How long does it take to grow a pineapple?
It can take up to two to three years for the pineapple plant to mature and bloom and then five to six months after the bloom to produce the fruit.
Can you eat indoor pineapple plants?
Yes, many pineapples grown indoors can be eaten, so make sure you’re growing an edible kind if that is your goal. However, there are also ornamental pineapple plants. You might see examples of these in stores or online called pygmy, dwarf, mini, etc. pineapple plants. These are not meant for eating.