Thank you for the article on growing pineapples, it was very informative. However, I am still uncertain about whether our pineapple is ready to pick. We are your neighbor to the south; we live on Merritt Island, near Kennedy Space Center. We planted our first pineapple in the planting bed behind our pool and it thrived. From reading your article I think it is ready to pick but I wanted to get your opinion to be sure. I am confused by the color, it is a much different color than the original plant we took the crown from.
Congratulations on the successful fruiting of your pineapple plant, Dave. To me, it looks very ripe for the picking. If you got the original bromeliad rosette for your pineapple plant from a store-bought pineapple fruit, the original fruit may have had more of a green appearance than what you will get from a fully ripe bright yellow homegrown pineapple. A lot of commercially grown fruits and vegetables are actually picked somewhat "green" before being fully ripe, then sprayed with ethylene gas to provide at least the appearance of a ripe fruit before being sold in grocery stores. Pineapple fruit will tend to naturally ripen even when cut off the plant so pineapple fruit may not require the ethylene gas treatment to give a ripened appearance, but they are probably picked before being fully ripened so that they can have time to ripen while in transit and hopefully look ripe when offered for sale in the grocery stores (but will generally still have a greenish tint to the fruit).
I would suggest cutting off your pineapple fruit and enjoying it as soon as possible after removing it from the bromeliad plant. You will probably find that there is very little if any acid taste that usually comes from canned pineapple or even store-bought pineapple fruit. The sugars in the fruit will be sweeter than you may have ever experienced from any pineapple you have eaten.
Thanks for replying to the article! Enjoy!
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Hi, Dave. Welcome to the wonderful world of homegrown pineapple fruit! Store bought or canned pineapple may never satisfy your taste buds again.
The parent plant will most likely do what most bromeliads do - it will send out "pups" - small new plants -- from the side that will grow to full size. The parent plant might die, but not always, after sending out new plants. So basically, just keep providing the same care as you have been providing to the parent plant and wait to see what happens.
It's been a while since I wrote this article, so I had to go back and refresh my memory on the more precise terminology, and I will borrow from this website which explains the other pineapple propagation methods quite well:
Quoting:There are four kinds of propagation material on pineapple plants: ratoon suckers arise below ground, suckers originate in the leaf axils, slips grow from the fruit itself or along the stalk below the fruit and crowns are the leafy tops of the fruit. All four types work, although slips and suckers are preferred in commerce. Fortunately, each pineapple fruit in the supermarket comes with a crown which can be used to start the plant which will develop slips and suckers for subsequent use.
The "suckers" are what I was referring to as "pups." These generally come out of the first or second whirl of pineapple leaves just about at the soil surface. I've never had a pineapple plant, or any bromeliad plant for that matter, grow a true subterranean ratoon that would pop up some small distance from the parent plant. I have seen one slip on a stalk beneath the pineapple fruit. After harvesting the fruit, the stalk can be bent over so that the bottom of the slip is in contact with the soil and the slip will grow into a new pineapple plant. But the easiest method is just to cut the crown off the fruit that is produced and eaten and replant the new crown as you did with your original pineapple crown. Within a few years, you will have your own mini-plantation of pineapples!
I really appreciate your article. I live west of Ocala and this spring I tried planting the crown of a pineapple after watching a program on TV that talked about it. Wish I had taken notes, but didn't realize I would be trying it at the time I watched it. So far it is growing well. I wonder if grocery stores would just give away their discarded crowns??
Hi, stampergirl. There was a roadside produce stand in my area at one time that would core and peel pineapples with a machine they had. I'm fairly certain if you could locate a similar operation in your area, there would be enough free pineapple bromeliad crowns to start your own Dole plantation! LOL Now you've got me thinking... the produce stand that was coring pineapples has gone out of business, but I will check out the other produce stands around town and see if I can find one that is providing the fresh pineapple fruit core and peel service.
Thanks for reading the article! In your area, you basically can just ignore your pineapple plant. It won't need irrigation except in the most severe droughts (no rain for two weeks or more). You can toss some fertilizer or compost in its direction once in a while, but it basically will take care of itself and bloom and make a fruit within about 3 - 4 years (or possibly less time, depending on weather factors, etc.). If we have a winter as severe as last year, you may want to cover your pineapple plant on the nights when the temperatures fall significantly below 32 F. Most of my pineapples survived without protection last winter even though the temperatures were in the low 20s F for several hours on several nights, but it would have been better if I had tossed a blanket over them during the freezes.